I have now been a PhD student for 47 months. I have been a PhD Canadidate for the last 11 months. And a grad student for the last 71 months! I have published three papers (:(), presented a poster and given one talk at a workshop.
While I feel smarter (or at least more academically aware) than I did almost four years ago, and also generally more confident, I still feel like the road ahead me has no end in sight. In fact, there’s a lot of fog ahead, so I have absolutely no idea what’s coming.
I was reminded the other day about the grad school completion rates (and how terrible they are). I wrote about them before here which led me to a post I wrote about 4 year degrees here. When I started my PhD, I really really wanted to be done in 4 years and that I would be done in 4 years. As I’m only one month away from the end of 4 years, this is obviously not happening.
Part of me is really disappointed over this. But another part is actually kind of glad. I’m not sure I’m ready to leave school – I don’t feel prepared enough. But, I’m also not sure that I ever will feel ready, so at some point, I’m just going to have to leave anyway (that, or drop out and I really don’t want or plan to do that).
However, even though this month is ending and I’m heading into the final month of my fourth year, it’s not all doom and gloom. I did manage to get a scholarship for this coming year, so I’ll still be getting paid. I have another paper being published this coming fall (although not on my main research) and another paper being reworked for submission. I have the data from the experiment in June where I’m just looking for a conference to submit to. And I’m busy working on another experiment that is coming together and I’m actually excited about and happy with.
So another year may be on the horizon, but I still haven’t reached the average completion time anyway (5.9 years) so no need to freak out anytime soon. 😛 It’s probably only reasonable to start really freaking out once you pass eight or so years with no end in sight. 🙂