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PhD, working part time and young family??

(7 Posts)
lavenderlois Sat 05-Apr-14 08:09:52

I work part time, I have 2 young kids (infant school age) and a very supportive husband - I have been offered the chance to do a part time phd related to my work - has any one got any experience of juggling family, work and phd? I'd love to do it but I don't want to find myself never seeing my family or working every night once the kids aren't bed. I know PhDs are an awful lot of work. Am I mad to even consider it or should I give it a shot?!?

TheWanderingUterus Sat 05-Apr-14 13:05:28

I have two young children, run a voluntary group part time and am doing a phd part time.

Pros- I am really enjoying it, love the research and am doing well. It's intellectually stimulating and I am looking forward to becoming Dr Uterus.

Cons - it's really isolating sometimes, I'm out of step with the full time phd students who started at the same time as me and struggle to socialise as the university is 60 miles away and I don't have anyone to babysit. I spend a lot of time on my own which even though I am an introvert I have found hard. There isn't much funding available for part timers and I have to pay the full fee at conferences etc. There has been some jealousy from my friends. I have had to push a lot of personal and intellectual boundaries in order to make progression which has been quite stressful. There has been a lot of juggling and guilt with the children just so I can get stuff done,

lavenderlois Sat 05-Apr-14 17:11:52

Thanks for the reply. I work in a uni and it is where the PhD will be based so hopefully the work interaction with the studying side of things will help re isolation. I can see that the progress compared to FT students could be an issue. I've not looked too far into the funding side of things as I wanted to get my head round whether or not the work/study/life balance could work out, it didn't occur to me that it would be harder because I was part time, so I will do some more research. I didn't realise that you would have to pay full fee at conferences either - that seems unfair, especially when they can be so important to the studies! Well, lots to think about and more questions to ask the supervisor!

ManateeEquineOHara Sat 05-Apr-14 17:15:59

I'm doing a full time phd, work pt and am a single mum of 2 - it's doable go for itsmile

TheWanderingUterus Sat 05-Apr-14 17:51:48

It also depends when you last studied, it was quite a while ago for me so I am on a steep learning curve. It's also a different subject to my first degree which doesn't help. You have to pick a topic you are happy to do every day for six years as well. Support network is vital. This latest piece i am working on has had me in tears twice, luckily I have lovely people to pick me up and dust me off a bit. That might have been reflected in my first answer, which looks a bit brusque, sorry!

There is a good website called the thesis whisperer with lots of good advice on etc.

It is definitely doable but there is a lot to consider! The conference is one I was surprised at too - recent experience was full timers paid £65 and I would have had to have paid £150. I did check but there was no leeway, so I couldn't go. I checked a lot of funding bodies before I started but out of 1000 (including all the little ones, I used a website where they were listed), I was only eligible nominally for 6 and none of them offered me anything!

Like I said, it's worth doing, but it's not something to be taken on lightly, it's a good old slog.

lavenderlois Wed 09-Apr-14 10:55:50

That thesis whisperer website is great, thanks. I still can't decide, but I'm veering towards starting it and seeing what happens....

Rarily Tue 24-Jun-14 09:09:54

Hi there, I did a phd part time whilst working as a lecturer in HE, with a daughter who was between 2 and 6 years old. I did most of my study in my part time, down time (I was half time), although for the last 2 years it encroached on weekends and some holidays, but not as much as full time colleagues. I loved the subject, had two summers at an American university . However, at the end of my studies I was working in a very heavy teaching environment (nursing) and the only way to make the phd worthwhile has been to leave my post and pursue research work at lower pay elsewhere. I also found that towards the end I found that my students/teaching work felt like an imposition, rather than being my central focus. It has been a mixed experience and everyone I have spoken to who has studied part time have felt some 'trauma' afterwards. My advice would be to see if you can do it full time - much better, make sure you love the subject and consider where it will take you afterwards. It is a lot of work and for the years you are doing it, it will be a constant companion in your mind, even if you aren't sat at your desk.

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