Doing a PhD - What you should expect and what is expected of you

Thinking about doing a PhD

You're trying to decide whether to take the plunge and do a PhD. Perhaps you've done well, enjoyed the research you've been involved in so far, and now think you'd like to do more. Your department or honours supervisor could be encouraging you to follow up a promising line of enquiry. Maybe you think having a PhD will increase your career options or secure a promotion. It may be a necessary requirement in your work. Or perhaps now you have the opportunity to pursue something you've always been interested in or you're ready to take up a new challenge. 

Clarifying your real reasons for doing this degree

You will doubtless ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" many times throughout your PhD - sometimes out of frustration, but at other times to challenge yourself and get going again.

Before you embark on a PhD, you are probably considering it as one option among others and you need to have good reasons for your decision. You need to decide to do a PhD. If you make a conscious decision that this is what you want, then you are more likely to enjoy it and to finish it. If, on the other hand, you drift into it because it is just assumed you would do it, then you are doing it to avoid something else, or because you cannot find anything else. With this indecision it may be difficult to develop interest and maintain enthusiasm.

At later stages, reminding yourself why you wanted to do a PhD could keep you motivated, rekindle your interest, and renew your vision of where you want to go.