Further education is often very attractive to students at college as the social image and opportunity to live and learn independently far outstrips the desire to go out into the “real world” and work. This is largely a good thing, as university life and a degree certainly get you used to working pretty hard – at least if you do it properly.
But 3 years on, as graduation rears its ugly head people start to get nervous (if my group of mates are anything to go by), and the “what’s next?” questions are back stronger than ever.
For many students continuing on to masters or PhD level is a natural progression, in fact so many people apply to further education after graduation it is starting to look unusual not to, at least to me. But are the reasons for doing this always so well thought out? I know for me, part of the appeal of continuing onto a PhD is the chance to remain a student, at least in part for next 4 years, and yes I’m aware this is a stupid reason.
Whatever your reasons for starting a PhD (travel, intellectual stimulation, among others) it’s worth noting that postgraduate research and academic careers in later life are extremely competitive, only around 12% of people entering postgraduate study go on to acquire tenure positions and on average 1 in 3 of every principal investigator knows a fellow researcher made redundant – so yes, go for it, but maybe do your homework first…..