Below, we will explain some of the wrong reasons of doing a Ph.D. If you one of these is on your list of reasons to do a Ph.D, maybe you should step back and reconsider. If you agree with this list and have other reasons for doing a Ph.D, it might be exactly what you should be doing. So, let’s take a look.
1. Fulfilling Others’ Ambitions
If you are doing a Ph.D because your parents expect it of you or because your significant other insists, or even because you are trying to live up to the standards set by an elder sibling or relative, you should reconsider. Fulfilling your own ambitions and going after your dreams will be much more gratifying, and your passion will make the process seem easier. A Ph.D is a large, strenuous undertaking which only gets tougher if you have no interest in the subject or have no passion to pursue it at the doctorate level.
2. Peer Pressure
While it is great having an incredibly educated social circle, fitting in is not a reason to do a Ph.D. It is challenging, time consuming and will require all your attention. So, unless you are sure that you are willing to and capable of put in the amount of work required for a Ph.D, don’t do it. You will burnout and it will drain all your energy.
3. Ego Gratification
Many students believe that they have yet to meet a challenge they cannot beat. This misplaced genius complex, while a great driver for perfectionists and fuel for ambition, has no place as a student. Students are most importantly, learning from others. If you would like to do your Ph.D to gratify your ego and boast that you too are capable of attaining this exclusive degree, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You will be unhappy with the enormous amount of work expected from you; but worse, you may end up with an unsatisfied sense of superiority because the novelty of showing off your degree wears off.
4. Escaping Your Job
It is true that getting a degree in another field is a great way of finding your passion and taking steps towards it. However, this is only the case if you are certain of what you are planning on studying. Disinterest will follow you if you are simply trying out something new for the sake of variety.
5. Keeping Your Visa
Often, you get accustomed to the lifestyle, the culture, the people, or maybe the country that you’ve finished your undergraduate education in. Doing a Ph.D for the sake of staying in that city or area isn’t a good enough reason.
6. The Real World Scares You
It’s easy to assume that a Ph.D program will just be a more intense version of your undergraduate degree. But that will most definitely not be the case. The goals are not to submit your assignments on time and ace your exams. Your classes will be there to help you build a foundation and to guide you in your research. You will be assessed mainly on the basis of your research and your publications. This is really important for students who are still studying or have just finished their undergraduate or master’s degrees. If you think you are going to continue studying the way you used to and you’d prefer that to finding a job, a Ph.D is not what you are looking for. The real world may surprise you yet.
The most important reason to do a phd: It fits you.
We cannot emphasize this enough. If you are somebody who wants to change the world and challenge what is accepted today in any subject area that you are passionate about, a Ph.D is probably for you. Basically, any reason that has less to do with the Ph.D and how it suits you as a person, and more to do with external factors is probably a wrong reason because the Ph.D is a lot to deal with. It is also important to remember that whether it is in physics or psychology or geography, a Ph.D will go beyond what you have previously covered and will render you capable of making a difference. A Ph.D can often be a ticket to lifelong research and academic insights.
So, if you are the type of student who always wants to learn and apply that learning back at the world and make a difference, a Ph.D is definitely for you.