Research Student-made

The PhD student journey: Part two

This is the second piece of the PhD journey ‘series’. Feel free to read the first blog here. Being a postgraduate student has its ups and downs. It usually means a fair share of time spent working alone, not knowing what fellow colleagues are doing. This piece provides a glimpse into other UoM students’ journeys, both the similarities and differences. All the respondents answered the same set of questions; so, without further ado, let’s get into it.

P.S. if you are a PGR student reading this and would like to share your journey, please feel free to contact me via the UoM student news team.

Angelina F.  Chemical Engineering (submission pending)

Q: Why did you choose your course? 

A: I have always been interested in the food industry in general and in the environmental implications of the food sector.

Q: Why did you choose UoM to study? 

A: The project sounded very appealing to me. Furthermore, UoM has a good reputation and my supervisor is a pioneer in her field.

Q: What five words best describe your PhD journey? 

  • Challenging
  • Enlightening
  • Entertaining
  • Hard-work
  • [Requires] patience

Q: What’s the easiest part about doing a PhD? 

A: The fact that you are working on a topic that you like.

Q: What’s the hardest part about doing a PhD? 

A: Sometimes you don’t get the expected results. Dealing with deadline is often challenging.

Q: What three lessons will you take away from your PhD experience? 

A: I’ve learnt how to plan my work schedule, to work under pressure and to be patient with tasks that often take long to accomplish.

Q: What do you want to do post PhD? 

A: This is something I have to figure out.

Q: What would you do differently, if you could redo your PhD journey? 

A: Learning from experience, I would be able to better prioritise tasks that are most important.

Q: If you could have a redo, would you choose to do a PhD again? 

A: Yes.

 

Okechi Onuoha Electrical & Electronic Engineering (2nd year)

OO profile

Q: Why did you choose your course? 

A: My choice of course was motivated by its prospect and wide application.

Q: Why did you choose UoM to study? 

A: The university has very good resources for my course and an excellent reputation, especially in automation.

Q: What five words best describe your PhD journey? 

  • Demanding
  • Eye-opening
  • Motivating
  • Eventful
  • Rewarding

Q: What’s the easiest part about doing a PhD? 

A: Listening to the task to be carried out is surely the easiest part.

Q: What’s the hardest part about doing a PhD? 

A: The difficult part is carrying out the task. For example, formulating policies for inanimate objects that are required to act intelligently is surely not easy!

Q: What three lessons will you take away from your PhD experience? 

A: My PhD experience has changed how I criticise/analyse situations. It has enhanced my skills, including social skills and has taught me how to set priorities and stay on track.

Q: What do you want to do post PhD? 

A: I would love to take up an academic role after my studies

Q: What would you do differently, if you could redo your PhD journey? 

A: I would have reprioritised my past activities, if I could turn back the hands of time.

Q: If you could have a redo, would you choose to do a PhD again? 

A: Yes, I would happily choose to do a PhD again.

 

Ali Hindi Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (2nd year)

Q: Why did you choose your course? 

A: Because this course was related to my area of interest, which is pharmacy practice.

Q: Why did you choose UoM to study? 

A: The university was recommended to me by previous academic staff I worked with.

Q: What five words best describe your PhD journey? 

  • Rollercoaster
  • Unpredictable
  • Persistence
  • Experience
  • Growth

Q: What’s the easiest part about doing a PhD? 

A: You are focusing on one particular area that you are passionate about, so that keeps you constantly motivated.

Q: What’s the hardest part about doing a PhD? 

A: You feel like a lone-wolf because you are working on your PhD project all by yourself.

Q: What three lessons will you take away from your PhD experience? 

  1. You have to be really patient in life, progress does not happen overnight.
  2. You have to keep pushing forward. You can’t afford to waste time dwelling on things.
  3. Things never go according to plan, but with hard work and dedication, eventually you will end up on the right track.

Q: What do you want to do post PhD? 

A: I wish to work as an academic.

Q: What would you do differently, if you could redo your PhD journey? 

A: Nothing, because there is no such thing as a perfect PhD journey. The trials and tribulations are all part of the learning experience.

Q: If you could have a redo, would you choose to do a PhD again? 

A: Absolutely.

 

Lisa Seibt  School of Chemistry (1st year)

LS profile

Q: Why did you choose your course?

A: I enjoy working on topics that are innovative and bring new prospective to the research area. I worked in my current research group during my master’s degree. The topic, as well as the group, fascinated me so much that I wanted to come back and continue working in this area.

Q: Why did you choose UoM to study? 

A: The University of Manchester is a well-equipped university with dedicated staff that is there to help and support throughout your studies. I felt accepted and supported from the very beginning which encouraged me to take up a 3-year PhD degree here.

Q: What five words best describe your PhD journey? 

  • Stressful
  • Learning
  • Progression
  • Acceptance
  • Joy

Q: What’s the easiest part about doing a PhD? 

A: The easiest part for me is to get into a routine. Although you do lots of different things during a PhD, experiments, meetings etc., you kind of get into a routine and manage things easier and faster every day. You also get to know so many new and interesting people. You learn different perspectives and make new friends. At the end of the day, the friends help you through the hard parts. Last, but not least, it is good to know that there is a specific aim to be reached. If you have a goal in mind, it is always easier to get motivated and keep going.

Q: What’s the hardest part about doing a PhD? 

A: The hardest part is getting through the tough days when nothing is working, and frustration takes its toll. There will be a lot of tough days and it is sometimes hard to stay motivated, but it is worth it. At the end of the day, you learn something from it, you grow as a person and that is also the thought that keeps me going.

Q: What three lessons will you take away from your PhD experience? 

  1. Endure hardships and learn how to cope with them more easily.
  2. Enjoy science, especially because it is not easy.
  3. How to support others and seek support from others.

Q: What do you want to do post PhD? 

A: I would like to continue doing research, maybe as a postdoc in a teaching environment (at the university or elsewhere). I would also like to promote how much fun science can be and how much you can learn from it, not just knowledge-wise but as a person.

Q: What would you do differently, if you could redo your PhD journey? 

A: Taking things easier and trying not to get too stressed out at the beginning!

Q: If you could have a redo, would you choose to do a PhD again? 

A: Absolutely! I have learned so much during this short time already, made new friends and gained experiences that I would never want to have missed.