Contributed by Gerry Sutton, UCC
Do you consider your PhD to be a job or a vocation?
What a question. My PhD was certainly not job in the conventional sense but it was hard work to motivate oneself. Passion and the burning desire to answer the questions and goals I set myself kept me going.
In 20 words or less tell us why you decided to do a PhD? To answer the seemingly unanswerable!
Gerry’s Diary: What a slog! Working full time and researching has been intense to say the least. My thesis has definitely been a labour of love that was born out of a small kernel of interest in the workings of landlord and tenant. Now, I’m attempting the impossible- justifying landlords actions!
Getting into the libraries and archives is my escape. I love to get my head buried in books and records for hours on end, often ignoring the protestations of my hunger pangs. My enduring memory of my PhD won’t be my grade, or the detail or even the topic- it will the enduring support of an amazing supervisor whom I humbly count as a friend, the sense of achievement at finally (FINALLY) being done and it will of course be about finding answers.
As I approach the sunset of my PhD (I am at present finishing my revisions) I will also vividly remember my Viva, an experience which at the time I did not fully appreciate. The interrogation and questioning of ones integrity, hard work and sacrifice may seem like an ordeal but with the benefit of hindsight (couldn’t resist!), I came to recognise that my Viva represented all that is great about researching and writing history- criticism, debate, passion and disagreement thrown in for good measure.
The PhD, the big P as we call it at home is something that I will always cherish for the rich experiences that it has given me and also the hard lessons along the way. Dust yourself off; pick yourself up and march on!
God, I can’t wait to be finished.