When are you going to get a real job?
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Gemma Clissold
I'm 20 and he’s 21, I say “I’m not sure if I want to get a real job. I like uni.” He looks at me puzzled. I’m 21 and he’s 22, “I’ve decided to do my honours! I’ll have a better chance of getting a good graduate position, and it’s only an extra year.” I’m 22 and he’s 23 and I say “I got an RTS place to do my PhD, but I didn’t get a postgraduate award. We’re going to be a bit broke, we’ll be OK.” I’m 23 and he’s 24, we’re sitting on the back steps at home, it’s Friday night, empty bottle of wine and I’m sad, confused and tired, he has to be sick of hearing about my PhD. I say “I don’t want to do this anymore, it’s too hard. I want a real job with normal hours and regular money.” He looks at me puzzled “But that’s the sort of job you never wanted.” I say, “You’ve got no idea what this is like.” I snarl at him and go to bed. Then things get better and I’m glad I’m at uni. I own my work! I work for me! And then this, “Hi Everyone … Just letting you all know that I finish work tomorrow (June 24) to head off on my soiree around Europe for 9 weeks … our first stop will be Amsterdam, then Paris and onto Pamplona for running of the bulls. From there it will be down to Madrid and then across to Lisbon and then sticking to the coast around the Mediterranean, around Italy and then head back to London via Austria, Germany and Switzerland.” He calls me “Did you get Matt’s e-mail?” “Yes, I’m so jealous.” We’re still here, stuck. We need to escape! When will I finish? Why did I start? I am young. I am female. I am in a long-term relationship. I have lived in Rockhampton my entire life. I have been at uni since I finished school. I am not yet fully financially independent. I’m doing a PhD. I work in an environment where I am very young, how do I fit in? Do they take me seriously? Am I too young to be here? I hope this account of my experiences as a young PhD student will inform and influence the way higher degree students are supported within universities.