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  • Akiko

Do I get Ph. D or not?

This article is totally far from ethnomusicology thing. Just skip it if you don't think about getting Ph. D!!

Ever since I started my Ph. D research, so many Japanese ask me how is the study abroad.

Few days ago, I got an email from one of my friends in which she explains her current situation; the person is now thinking to start doctoral course or not. Except natural science students, it is always great question; do I continue my study or not? Especially, us, students in humanities, we need extra 3-5 or more years to get our Ph. D. It is not rare case to take even 8 years. So many people quit on their way. Starting doctoral research is very big decision. It means you lose in certain way your 5-8 years as human beings (this is my opinion). Actually, I don't recommend it... So now I'm hesitating to reply to her. Instead, I write here for people hesitating to make their mind.

I have three answers for three different cases.

CASE 1) You are foreigner living in abroad, and wanna stay over there legally.

During these 10 years, I saw so many foreigners who wanna doctoral student status to stay their living country. I hate people look at me in this way, I struggled a lot with this stereotype. These people, never ever finish their dissertation seriously. If your real wish is just keep living in your residence, you had better to find a job.

CASE 2) You have no financial support but you are serious to make your academic career.

This is my case and it is hardest way. I recommend you to concentrate on working just getting your budget to live 3 years without working for living. And get back to the university. It is really, really, really hard to keep your motivation, keep yourself positive and lively. We all need to switch on-off clearly. However, if you have to work while studying, you don't have no off. While people are getting rest, you have to keep study in the night, midnight, you have no more difference between day and night. It is killer.

Of course, we have to work during our courses, but it is not for living but for career. If you cannot choose your job, you have not enough time to spend yourself for your future professional plan.

As for me, when I started, I was so stupid to write my French address to ask Japanese foundations if I have right to make my application. They said, no. After 5 years, now I know that to hide is different from to make a lie....

CASE 3) You have financial support and are serious.

Just keep going on.

After 5 years, I know that having academic question is not the reason to do research. You can do it without degree. If you are not motivated to make politics to get your post, I think it can be very hard to choose working on the dissertation. It costs a lot mentally, for just a temporary satisfaction to get your degree.

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