WHAT’S NEXT AFTER A PhD?

Hello world!!

The PhD journey has finally come to an end. I should be relieved, I think I am.  Another chapter closed, another milestone and achievement. I wish it was only that, then it would be easy to relish this feeling of accomplishment. But, finishing also came with the big question of WHAT’S NEXT? I never for one second thought that after going through all the stress of writing a PhD dissertation, I would still need to figure out what’s next. But, with all things in life, when you complete one phase, you enter another.

Change is inevitable. Change is uncomfortable…

Struggle 1

My life is about to change. I had settled into the routine student life for the past three years. I cannot imagine getting used to waking up early mornings and working a 9-5 job. During my student days, I woke up anytime I wanted to if I didn’t have early meetings and I could work until late or choose when to finish work. My schedule was flexible especially when I did not have deadlines from my supervisors. I don’t know how I am going to adjust to a new schedule.

Struggle 2

I cannot for the life of me, tell you what I want to do with this PhD. All I knew was that I wanted to do it and I am passionate about the research that I did with children and families. I have no idea if I want to continue doing that or get a job. One thing I do know is that I need a break to clear my head. I am picturing somewhere with clear, blue waters and white beach sand.

parked boat
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

Another thought I have is to continue writing and publishing from my PhD thesis, and possibly turn it into a book.  I have so many thoughts in my head right now, and to be quite honest, this is not what I thought would come after completing this milestone. I thought it would be easier to figure out my life than when I completed my first degree.

Struggle 3

I chose to do my PhD in Hong Kong, but initially, I never thought of making this place my home. I now have to figure out whether I am going to stay here or move to another place. We all know that moving is another big adjustment, I cannot even wrap my head around it. I get tired even thinking about it.  There will be a lot of things to consider: What will happen to my social life? Will I find a new church home? Are the locals friendly?  Most importantly, do I really want to move to a completely new place again at this stage of my life? Unfortunately, if I do decide to stay in academia, I might get a postdoctoral fellowship, which will necessitate a move to a totally different country. The chances of me getting a postdoc in Hong Kong are next to none. It would have been nice to experience life in Asia a little bit more, but it is a lot to even think about right now.

photo of a red taxi on a street
Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

Silver lining

Wait, it is not all doom and gloom. I am now Dr. GG.

abstract bay boats bright
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That is definitely a plus and well worth the hard work.  I am completely grateful to my Lord who saw me through the tough times and made my success possible. I also trust that He has my future in His hands, so although nothing is clear at the moment, I am confident in His plan for my future. With that, I do hope I will be back here with good news in a few weeks, telling you all about my next move. Another silver lining… I now have more time on my hands to write. I have so much I want to write about.

If you are reading this and have any tips about making a life transition, drop your girl a message. I always love to hear from you.

Until then,

GG.

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18 thoughts on “WHAT’S NEXT AFTER A PhD?

  1. Congratulations DR GG!!!
    Insert a dancing woman in a red dress here followed by the fire emoji!
    I don’t have any tips as I have no similar experience, only questions. None urgent, just what peeked my curiousity while reading.
    – what was the problem statement of your research?
    – why do you think this: “The chances of me getting a postdoc in Hong Kong are next to none.”?
    – if you turned your research into a book, would the university continue to financially support you or did you mean as a part time activity?

    I understad how you feel. Every milestone that humans celebrate is just the one side of a loss, arrival of a child means loss of singularity to the mother, passing of high school/degree means the beginning of grappling with one’s career path instead of authority providing a ticking list, happy new year means you are one year closer to the grave, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙏🏾. Very interesting questions
      -My research was about the meaning of family for children who grow up in orphanages. I was interested in how they construct family meanings after being separated from the biological family.
      -I think I won’t be able to get a postdoc in Hong Kong because it is so competitive to get an academic job, one needs a lot of publications. Hong Kong usually hires from overseas first preference being the US or Western countries. I have been trying to send my CV around, but no responses yet. So my statement comes from observing my environment, even my own institution cannot keep me because there is this idea that they need to get fresh ideas from outside of Hong Kong to keep up with the university rankings.
      – If I write up my dissertation into a book, I will have to do it on a postdoc fellowship. Fellowships usually give you three years funding if you are lucky especially in the UK or other European countries.

      I like your analysis of loss at the end of your comment, so very true. Thanks so much for reading and getting back to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. – Smiling…there was a time I was obsessed with this question of ‘the elements that make up a family’. I read many articles and discussed personal experiences of ‘attachment’ from adoptees but I have not read an academic paper on the topic.
        There is definitely, wait, let me think. I have a book written by an adoptee who needed to understand herself and studied psychology and trauma. The output is truly special but different from being written by a third party. Are you an orphan, no ignore that, too personal. I want to say, I think there is definately space for literature based on academic research on the topic.

        – I understand.

        Thanks for explaining.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mind answering, no I am not an orphan.My interest in the topic came from being a social worker and working with children who had lost their parents or had been abandoned/neglected into institutions. I had way to many questions which is why I decided to leave the profession and come back to school. It is actually something I am considering as well, to go back to the social work profession with the knowledge I have acquired. I would love to read the book by the adoptee…do you have the title?

    Like

  3. Heeeeeey Doc!!!

    Girl you have inspired me so much..

    Tell you what I have learnt, the what’s next question will always be there in life.. And in the end you will always figure out stuffs.. So enjoy the days you ask yourself what’s next, cause you never know how long they will last.

    Like

    1. 🤗🤗 thanks girl and yes I am realising that even in this period of my life I can learn and discover so much. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment

      Liked by 1 person

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