Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

THE Scholarly Web: People

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

THE Scholarly Web: People

Article excerpt

Weekly transmissions from the blogosphere.

Never let it be said that the postdoctoral community is an unhelpful one.

When we asked our Twitter followers to offer advice to would-be PhD students, using the hashtag #PhDtruths, the response was overwhelming. Around 1,500 took up the challenge in the first four days, offering their tips, tales, wisdom and wit on the subject of obtaining a doctorate.

Some were pessimistic - particularly those in Ireland. Postdoctoral fellow at University College Dublin's School of History and Archives, Carole Holohan, warned those new to the PhD process to "prepare for some dark nights of the soul".

Her colleague, Emily Mark Fitzgerald, a lecturer in UCD's School of Art History and Cultural Policy, struck a similar tone. "PhD is a huge sacrifice of time, energy, money. Do serious, honest and informed soul- searching before undertaking," she tweeted.

Will Brooker, reader in the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University in London, outlined the transformational journey that PhD study represents. "You will hate your topic or love it in a dangerous way," he said. "You will become a hermit, go insane for a while, or you will not complete." He added, however, that it was "very probably the last time in your career you will have so much time devoted to a single research topic. Enjoy it."

We started the hashtag both to build a bank of PhD advice, and to highlight a recent cover feature written by Tara Brabazon, head of school and professor of education at Charles Sturt University, Australia, in which she outlines the 10 truths your PhD supervisor will never tell you (http://ow. …

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