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The Road Not Taken: PhD Training, Academia & Alternative Careers

Perhaps rather predictably the poem from which this post takes its title, Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” (1920), tells of a traveller’s decision to walk one road in favour of another when he encounters two divergent paths on his way. He tries to predict, as far as possible from his position, where each may lead. Conscious that his choice comes with unpredictable implications, he is aware also that, once his decision is made, he most likely won’t return to explore “the road not taken”. We are told that the choice he made that day “made all the...

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Trauma & the PhD

Vicki Adams is a PhD student in English Literature, and shares her insight into what it’s like to go through higher education as a sufferer of abuse and trauma.

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We Regret to Inform You: On Interview Feedback

Interview feedback is difficult to approach, both giving and receiving. As someone who has more often been on the receiving end, I’ve found directly helpful feedback to be the exception rather than the rule. So, this post is about how to interpret feedback which might not tell you as much as you want. For me, there are three phases to thinking about the interview after the event.   1.  Be honest with yourself When you come out of the interview, after you’ve taken a few deep breaths / had a shower / got home and had a stiff...

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The Twilight Zone: After the PhD, Before the Academic Job

You’re close to submitting your PhD, to passing your viva voce examination with flying colours, and to be awarded your doctorate. At various stages in these final months of your existence as a PhD student certain scary thoughts – of the practical kind – enter your mind repeatedly and persistently. When will my university email account be closed? Should I be emailing academic colleagues from my embarrassingly named non-institutional email account? How will I keep researching and writing without physical or online access to my university library and its resources? How will I stand a chance on the...

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