I don’t hate my PhD (yet?)

Am I supposed to?

Posted by Danny Schnitzler on January 09, 2021 · 3 mins read

Having just completed my first year of my PhD I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished. The answer to that is easy: not much (see POST). Or at least, not as much as I wanted to. But it got me thinking about how I feel about my PhD in general, and that compared to so many of my friends and colleagues, I don’t hate it. Now, this is where the anxiety sets in, because if everyone hates it – what am I doing wrong?

Now, I know I haven’t been able to do as much lab work as I would have liked during this year, because of my knee injury (I swear, I will eventually stop going on about it), but I am still excited by the project. I still am excited by lab work. I am still excited about supervising an undergrad.

It makes me seriously doubt myself – am I doing as much as I should?! Am I taking this as seriously as I should?! And in those questions is a little hint of the answer: SHOULD. I know that life is not about measuring myself again others, even though we all do it. Yes, if you sit on twitter all day, every day, you probably are not getting as much done as you should in order to submit a PhD thesis in the near future. But really, should is very subjective. Should might mean something else to me than it does to my friends, my supervisor, or my boyfriend.

To find a balance and set my mind at ease about the whole “not hating my PhD” thing, I have been setting realistic goals (I am very, very skilled at setting unrealistic goals and driving myself crazy trying to attain them). I want to complete X by the end of the year. So, this is what I want to get done in the next four weeks. This is how I need to go about it. I don’t know if this is going to combat the imposter syndrome I wrote about before, or the worry that I don’t hate my PhD, but it is certainly worth a try.

I’ll come back to you in a year and let you know if I still don’t hate my PhD. I realise that this is a very uninspired post, but it is something that has been weighing on me. So, let me know: If you are doing a PhD – do you hate it? Why? Why not?