Time has flown by since I started out on my PhD journey 2 years ago. It’s been a rollercoaster ride so far but I can safely say that it has taught me a lot! I’m now embarking on my third year of my Biochemisty PhD here at the University of Manchester so I thought I’d take a look back at what my PhD has taught me so far…
- On my way to becoming an expert in my field
Perhaps an obvious one but by doing a PhD you are carrying out research to answer questions that have never been answered before. Nobody knows all the answers straight away but over time you start to know your way around your own subject and people will start coming to you when they have questions. Whilst this was scary at first, it feels great to know that I’m getting closer to being Dr Me!
- Taught me many transferable skills
Whilst you learn many specific technical skills during a PhD there are also many additional skills to be picked up too. These will be covetable to future employers when you finish. In my 2 years I have learnt project and time management, independence in working and managing relationships with collaborators and supervisors. Also skills in writing, public speaking, presenting and communicating data and this is just the tip of the iceberg! The Careers Service can help you formulate your skills into a killer CV when the time comes to look for a job so you really sell yourself well!
- So many career options available to PhD’s
One important thing that I have learnt is that there are so many more avenues open to you when you have a PhD – whether you want to stay in academic research or not having a PhD will stand you in a really good position to land your dream job. By attending careers talks I have come to realise that the world is bigger than my little lab and that there are many amazing jobs that I can do when I finish which will play to my strengths.
- Public engagement is really important
It’s all well and good doing groundbreaking research and publishing in top journals but if no one outside of your specific area knows about your work then it will never be put to good use! There are many great opportunities at the University of Manchester to get involved with public engagement and help spread the word about the top science that is being done and also to inspire the next generation of researchers.
Networking in itself is a skill to have in any career. Through doing a PhD you get to network with a wide range of people – be it through discussing your project at a conference or through meeting fellow PhD students at the faculty socials, you never know who you might meet and what opportunities or ideas it will lead to! Social media is a great way to broaden your reach to network with researchers all over the world!
There’s definitely more to doing a PhD than just your day to day work, who knows that this next year will have in store for me!