I'm halfway-ish into my PhD degree and it constantly dawns on me that it is an honor, privilege, and immense achievement to be a Latina doctoral candidate (especially since there are such low numbers of Hispanic/Latinss with doctoral degrees). But, to be honest, it has been very H A R D - I went through a harrowing divorce, I was in a new city, I'm away from all my family and felt homesick, and we had a pandemic.
While they can be extremely rewarding (see my post about good reasons to do a PhD), there are some really bad reasons to pursue a PhD. Here are some of the worst...
Just to become a 'Doctor'
Don't get me wrong - I can't wait to write down ‘Dr’ on my bank card and Twitter bio... but it's not worth going through the challenges of the degree just to get that at the beginning of my name. Anyone who is actually worth being friends with won't judge you on a title anc colleagues shouldn't respect you any less (or more) because of that prefix. Let me state it plainly: you don't need this degree to prove your worth to society.
Because your family wants you to
Look, my grandfather is super excited to have me become Dr. Márquez Villalobos, as is the rest of my family. But I'm not pursuing this degree for them and you shouldn't either! This is one of the worst reasons for choosing to do a PhD - or any career choice, to be honest. If you aren't really the one wanting to do this... are you gonna actually going to like doing it for 3-5 years?
YOU DON'T WANT TO GET OUT INTO THE "REAL WORLD"
That's an expensive way of delaying going into the "actual" workforce. PhD's are seldom a smooth road and you are bound to face many - if not more - challenges, rejections, failures, criticisms and more from colleagues and professors in the academic world than the "real world."
because other people are doing it
Sometimes when people finish their university degree, they don't have a clear career path in mind... and that's okay! But if their friends go into graduate school - either for a Master's or PhD degree - then they might follow along as a way to "fit in" or because they believe it's a way to delay going out into the "real world" (see the previous point).
Here's what you gotta remember: there are a million different destinations, and a million different ways to get there. The possibilities are endless... so why waste our time following someone else’s path when can instead focus on carving out our own? Think about your own abilities, what you want out of your life, and if a PhD degree fits into that.
Because you think it's the only way to get into academia
There is more to academia than being a professor or lecturer and more to research than academia. You don't need a PhD for a lot of exciting roles for aspiring scholars and scientists.
Before applying to a PhD program, ask yourself...
If you STILL WANT TO GET A PHD (check out 5 reasons you should get a doctoral degree), THEN APPLY!
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Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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