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Homepage / Why doing a PhD is not a waste of time!

Why doing a PhD is not a waste of time!


“Academics tend to regard asking whether a PhD is worthwhile as analogous to wondering whether there is too much art or culture in the world.”

from The Economist

I always believed that the PhD is a way of living your life, you decide for few years to focus on research. Most people think that the entire situation is a waste of time, as properly expressed in 2016 in The Economist “Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time”. Although, embarking on this new way of life can help you to build not only your career but also your future.

I believe that, at the beginning, I didn`t know what to expect. The only thing of which I was sure is that I really enjoyed studying and doing research even more.

Now, I have just started my third year and I can definitely say that the PhD was the right choice, and I also believe that it is for most students that are trying to define themselves throughout the academic environment.

As far as from now, I can list, as opposed to the previously cited journal, why doing a PhD is not a waste of time:

  1. Science: from conferences to learning about new discoveries. Unimaginable are the times in which you can be fascinated by new developments or new discoveries around the world.

  2. Widen (one’s) horizons: the PhD offers a large range of experiences, part of it is meeting people all around the world. Conferences overseas, zoom calls with experts (during Covid times) are helping people to understand different cultures, different ways of perceiving the world around us.

  3. Cultivate healthy habits: depending on if you are an organised or unorganised person, the PhD will help you understand the power of your time and how you must develop new organisational skills to improve the quality of your life. To-do lists, calendars, appointments… if everything will be in the right place, you can balance both the working and social life without feeling guilty to do so.

  4. Friends, like you never had before: you have no idea how many PhD students you will find that are in your same situation. Whatever you are going through, someone is going through the same. You can share, laugh, maybe even cry, with other students, they will know what you are going through and you will find some of the best relationships that you can ever think of.

  5. Managing your money: a poor PhD student, is every PhD student. You may work 2 jobs to get a higher income, you may be avoiding a takeaway meal… or maybe two. But everything will teach you how to cope when financially the situation is not ideal, a transferable skill that can help you to better manage the future.

  6. CHANGE THE WORLD: whatever research you are doing, you are contributing to the world knowledge. Everything you do during your PhD can have an impact; you can maybe change the world!

Whether you decide to do or not do a PhD, just think that everything you will do in your life, even the smallest experience, has transferable skills that can be applied in your daily life. Nothing you do is a waste of time.

Written By: Cranfield University

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