Have been browsing through all the current threads about PhDs with a baby and found them really helpful. But, as usual, still wanted some advice from people who have been there/ done that.
Situation is that I started a PhD in law/politics about 8 years ago- ended up withdrawing after a year as got a great job lecturing & researching & the aims of what I wanted out of PhD study changed. So I understand the time commitments and admin that goes into doing a PhD. Anyway, my job came to an end, just as I found out I was pregnant actually, so started maternity & maternity allowance. I've been applying for PhDs now, and have been accepted to a number of programmes & universities (though not with funding. Grrrrrr. GRRRR!). These are at least an hour from home though, so heading up with a baby probably wouldn't be practical for supervision and things. It seems impossible for me to get a job, despite my lecturing & research experience as unis seem to want a PhD as a pre-requisite, understandably. So in order to continue in the career that I want, I'll need to do my PhD, funded or unfunded.
I think we can probably stretch (just about) to covering the course fees, with the hope that I might find funding or GTA style employment at some point during the course. My questions are a) is there any financial help available for postgrad (fulltime) students with a baby (he's 6 months- will be a year by the time the PhD starts) b) realistically, would I be looking at setting aside about 3 days a week without mini georgy to devote my time to it sufficiently and c) if this does happen, considering an au pair- does anyone have any experience in this?
Just really hard at the moment weighing it all up- means we'd be without two incomes again until I found some funding or suchlike, but I need to do it to get to where I want to be!
Any thoughts on my musings would be much appreciated
Ha, Dr Dances, I bet you do! I loved being "33%" Dr Porgie when I was doing my original PhD. (nb- this was said once when utterly ratarsed at some kind of outdo each other conference. I did not usually go around stating this)
I actually want to be in the university environment. Been working in in since graduating from my masters, and I love the research, proposals, projects and lecturing (which is what I was doing prior to the contract running out- was working on a european project & "casually" lecturing for two years). Also, the area which I work in is fairly niche, and doing my PhD would really set me up to begin as an expert (well, obviously I wouldn't be one of these for ages, but it would allow me the grounding to be I suppose)- and builds on the work that I did as a researcher. The autonomy of it is really exciting to me. So yes, I think the PhD is. Just really really hard without funding though. I've also noticed that it's also very hard to get back into the academic environment once you've left- almost as if the doors close and you're standing there knocking away in the cold once you've actively chosen to leave it. I was just full of optimism that the contact network would still be in place and it wouldn't be too hard to find funding or a job alongside the PhD. How wrong I was!
Well I can't answer any of the questions you asked in your OP, but it does seem like Yes, you must indeed PhD. I hope someone more helpful than me comes along with answers for you - mine was done and dusted long before I had the DCs, and was done overseas so in a completely different system.
You aren't wrong about the doors shutting though. My PhD is almost completely useless now except for impressing people and flipping a bird to anyone one being condescending as I stopped working in academia and starting teaching in order to have DCs. So 10 years out of the field and a country change no academic institution will touch me with a barge pole. I think i'm going to have to go back to Uni eventually and do another masters in a similar field (mine is dead, it was obsolete, it was killed by genetic engineering) just to get a foot in the door.
It's been lovely to muse about the general world of academia though, even if the original questions have fallen by the wayside (anyone! Help!)
ooooooOOOOoooo.. doors are slammed, aren't they? I still keep in touch with my former colleagues (&friends) but as you're halfway out, some young upstart which will be me, ME! soon pounces and slams the door behind you, usually giving a Dr Evil laugh of glee, so I can't fault it I suppose . Just makes me need to get back into the nepotistic bosom of academia ASAP. The masters idea is actually a really interesting one- gives more time within an institution to find funding for a PhD but knowing my luck all the deadlines for masters funding have passed. Plus, I suppose I wouldn't really get much out of one due to my previous masters and my work so trying to sell why I should get funding for one probably wouldn't work
a) depending on your household income you may find that your tax credits go up, as any bursary money you get isn't counted as 'income' so your h/h income looks less. However, tax credits for childcare don't kick in as youre' not working. There should be info/support at your student union about any hardship funds or sources of help for parents b) 3 days might be OK, but with evenings too . I have done the odd bit of p/t work and I know lots of people who are lecturing too. I think the aim to do 35 hours a week, however you fit them in is a good one.