If you are wondering whether you should pursue a PhD or not then you are not alone. Many people get stuck on this question and can never decide one way or the other.
To get rid of this confusion, you need to spend some time reflecting and pondering the following questions:
1. What Are Your Motives?
Two of the most common reasons or motives behind pursuing a PhD degree are also probably the most superficial ones.
The first motive is the addition of the Dr. prefix to a person’s name.
We know how great having the title of a doctor sounds, however, this cannot be the only reason you decide to pursue a PhD. If this is the only reason you can come up with then we have some bad news for you.
The second most common reason is that you’re stuck in your comfort zone. Many students go from high school to their bachelor’s and then on to their master’s. At this point, they have spent more than 18 years being a student and being a student is all they know.
If you are only thinking of pursuing a doctorate to escape entering the workforce and the real world then you are not ready for a PhD.
The point is not that you cannot have these reasons to pursue a PhD, you absolutely can!
However, these cannot be your only reasons as these are fleeting feelings that cannot motivate you for 5-7 years.
These reasons seem small when you put them in perspective and thus, can leave you at a point where you might drop out of your program.
2. What Is Your Ideal Job?
If you answered along the lines of becoming a professor, becoming a thought leader in a field, or working in commercializing your research interests then you are ready for a PhD.
Jobs in academia are scarce and extremely competitive. However, those are often the only jobs that doctorate students think they can get. This is not the case anymore.
If you are in a STEM research field then you should have no problems getting a job as a researcher at a company. This might be a little more difficult to do in a Humanities field but it is attainable.
Before deciding to do a Ph.D., you need to do a deep dive into your job options and your chances of getting these jobs. This will help you determine if you even need a PhD to get the job you want or if your master’s will be enough.
3. Can You Survive?
After being a student for more than 18 years continuously, your body and brain need to rest. You may even be experiencing burnout or senioritis.
If this is the case, you need to evaluate whether you can survive 5-7 more years of grueling research, excessive workload, measly stipends, and practically no work-life balance.
The answer, however, does not always have to be a yes or no.
You can look for alternative ways to earn your Ph.D. too. If you realize that you are unsure about an on-campus degree, you can go the e-learning route too as many industries are embracing e-learning.
4. Are You Resourceful?
One of the biggest problems that PhD students face when working on the research for their thesis is the lack of supporting results for their hypothesis. You need to be resourceful if you are going to handle situations like these.
If you find out that your hypothesis will not be supported then you need to figure out an alternative gameplan as a last resort. Ideally, you should submit a concept paper or research proposal that predicts any difficulties before you even start researching.
If you are scared about the feedback on your concept paper and do not feel confident, you can always hire professionals that are experts at writing a concept paper for PhD thesis.
Lastly, deciding to pursue a PhD is not a decision you should take lightly.
Make sure to consult with the people around you and seek advice from others that are currently enrolled in your ideal program.