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paid to do a PhD - August 5th 2012, 02:57 PM

I received funding to do a PhD back in Dublin. Its the most prestigious funding in Ireland and with more money than I'll know what to do with. I've done my MA at Edinburgh and it has been an awful year. The university is awful and I've realised that I just couldn't be a university lecturer. But I really enjoyed my last university and I had the happiest years of life there. Its the only place I could do a PhD and I love the city. I'll also be supervised by a lecturer that I really respect and who has continued to help me since I've been away from the university.

But I've suddenly been gripped by a load of doubt about doing this PhD. My intention was, before I got the funding, to take a year out and apply for the 4 year medicine course which I was offered before. However, when I got this funding I was thrilled because I didn't need to take a year out and I get to go back to where I want to be and spend three years studying what I want to study with the lecturer I want to be supervised by. And I get paid a phenomenal amount of money to do so.

So I've accepted everything and am beginning in September. I'll have a doctorate by the time I'm 25, which is far earlier than most people. My vague plan is then to go to study the 4 year medicine course and be a doctor at 29 and to treat this PhD as if it were a job that I very much enjoy. I would be mad to reject it, because so few people get this funding and it sets you up for life. And I get to do what I love doing without it costing me any money and studying where I want to be.

But being a lecturer is not for me. Its a very small social circle, with all academics having massive egos. There are few jobs which means that you need to spend a lot of your life travelling across the world to different institutions. I never want to leave Dublin again and its the city I want to have a family in. But there's two universities and very difficult to be employed by. Its incredibly difficult in academia to meet people outside your discipline - and I couldn't have a relationship with another person in my discipline - and most academics either marry one of their students or else another colleague. And I know already I just would be able to manage the small social circle, the limitations on meeting new people and the egos of other colleagues.

And medicine offers so much in opposition to this - I can stay in Dublin for my life, hospitals are busy social environments and I'd enjoy it almost as much as I enjoy my subject. But if I continue with what I'm doing I'll be 29 when I finish that - which I suppose is only 4 years later than the norm....and then on the other hand I'll have taken this wonderful opportunity to spend 3 years being paid to study and have something incredible on my CV and have a doctorate.
   
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Re: paid to do a PhD - August 5th 2012, 08:20 PM

To me, it sounds like medicine is what you REALLY want to do. And the Ph.D is only a consideration now because your being offered all this money. I know it might seem stupid to a lot of people to turn down a full ride to get a Ph.D but I think you need to get the degree which you are the most passionate about. Will you really be happy with the career that will come out of this Ph.D? Or is it the career in medicine what you really want? I think it's the career you should be worried about. Yes, scholarships are incredible, but you can turn it down if it's not really what you want to do.




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