Archive for June 15th, 2009

Pue’s PhD Diaries

15 June 2009

booksOne of the regular features that we will have at Pue’s Occurrences is the PhD diary. The majority of people involved in history in Ireland are students and postgrads and there are a growing number of people undertaking to do PhDs every year. The most arduous part of learning your trade is completing your PhD. There are many ups and downs and when you are locked away in a foreign archive the process can often feel like a lonely one. Equally, doing a PhD is hugely rewarding, you can travel, engage in debate and meet fantastic people. The process encourages most people to pursue a career linked with history and certainly ensures they have a life-long love of the discipline. Just in case any of our readers are considering a PhD, or maybe have a mental block about completing the PhD at all, you might find this section interesting. We have asked students at various different stages of their PhD to write a short piece about the process that we will publish on the third Monday of each month. This month Ciarán Wallace, fourth year PhD student, has taken time out from writing up to give us a short piece on how he is finding it. We will ask each of our contributors 2 questions to begin.

PhD Diary: Ciarán Wallace

15 June 2009

Contributed by Ciarán Wallace.

books

Do you consider your PhD to be a job or a vocation?

From a project it became a job, then an obsession and now it’s my life.

In 20 words or less, tell us why you decided to do a PhD: It’s worrying- I actually can’t remember why I started

Ciarán’s diary: The end is near.  I’m working towards a submission date for my PhD thesis and everything else seems distinctly less important.  I presume that is a natural reaction. The pressure of a final deadline certainly helps you focus – but it comes with its own drawbacks.  Rewriting that dodgy paragraph or checking a footnote takes priority over (even basic) housework or meeting friends.  Every day I fear that someone will call around for a coffee and then phone social services, or pest control, as they leave.  As I would almost certainly be in the library (some library – any library!) when anybody might call by that tricky social situation is unlikely to arise.  If it does – please ask the men in the white coats not to take me away until after my viva.   

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