In this episode of R, D and the Inbetweens, I talk to Dr. Ghee Bowman, Tracey Warren, Kensa Broadhurst, Laura Burnett and Catherine Queen about being a mature PGR - the benefits, the challenges, and what Universities need to do better.
Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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Hello and welcome to R, D and the In Betweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece,
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and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers, development and everything in between.
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Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and the In Betweens.
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That's right. You are hearing my dulcet tones again.
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I am back after a three episode break where the wonderful Dr. Edward Mills guest hosted a few episodes for me.
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So in this episode, I'm going to be carrying on a conversation that started actually on Twitter.
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So a number of our PGRs raised issues with some of the support that's available at the university for them as mature PGRs.
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And so we thought it'd be really valuable to have a conversation about what it means to be a mature PGR, what that even is, what the challenges are,
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what the benefits are, and also what advice they have for any mature students who are thinking of starting or about to start a research degree.
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So let's start with introductions. Ghee and Tracey happy to go first.
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Hello, my name is Ghee Bowman. I finished my Ph.D. in history in well I submitted in September 2019.
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I am now. I'll be sixty in two months.
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I came back to do a PhD as a relatively mature student because I found a story that really fascinated and intrigued me.
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Hi, I'm Tracey Warren. I did an EdD or I'm doing it.
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I submitted about four weeks ago, so I got my viva in three weeks.
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I was working in Abu Dhabi and Dubai when I started this journey, so I did it as a distance learning international student.
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That's great. Now, Catherine and Kensa. Hi.
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Yeah, I, I've been working in private practise for over thirty years as a town planner and a landscape architect,
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and there was a real world problem that troubled me.
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And I had the bright idea of coming back to university and actually doing a PhD to try and answer the question that I had in my mind.
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So I actually applied for a Ph.D. that was advertised, fully funded and with a supervisor that I particularly wanted to work with.
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So I've come back into human geography. Hi, my name is Kensa
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I am a second year full time student at the Institute for Cornish Studies, which is in Exeter's other campus down in Penryn in Cornwall.
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I had been a teacher for about twenty years, having done the normal university master's degree straight after undergraduate.
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And then I was made redundant and very serendipitously that summer that I left school.
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My PhD, which came with funding for my fees, was advertised and I thought, why not I'd always wanted to do one
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So I applied, got this award at the studentship and started the PhD and last.
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But by no means least, Laura,
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I'm Laura Burnett, I'm doing a PhD in history and archaeology and I did the undergraduate degree in archaeology and then I worked for a few years,
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digging and so on then went back into the Master's. And then I worked professionally within archaeology for about fifteen years.
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And I always knew I wanted to come back and do a Ph.D. but it was around identifying a topic that I knew I wanted to do and I knew would work.
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And then timing wise, it's been about fitting around kind of family requirements and so on.
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And that's why I started now and partly why I've chosen to start in Exeter
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Thanks, everyone, for those fabulous introductions.
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I think what that really captures is the varying routes back into or into postgraduate research and postgraduate study.
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And I wondered if we could just take a little bit of a step back, actually,
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and think about what we mean by the term mature student or in this case, mature PGR.
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They'll be kind of an official university label,
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which generally encompasses somebody who has'nt gone straight through tertiary and further and higher education.
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So GCSE's A-levels, undergraduate degree, master's degree straight into some form of research degree,
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but that doesn't necessarily work as a label for everyone. And I wondered what you thought of it as a term and how you felt about it as a
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label and a classification of who you are as a as a researcher and as a student.
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I think it is reasonable to label it. I don't know whether we can define how quickly I think is quite typical.
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My experience in talking to students is one or two years gap,
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but I think all of us here are people who've had a much longer gap the between kind of finishing our undergraduate off.
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As you know, it's not just one or two years of working at that or saving up some money.
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We've all had quite substantial gaps, which probably did change both our life situation,
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but also the kind of experience and viewpoint we bring to doing a Ph.D.
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So I think it's worth thinking about a separate group, but I wouldn't say it's people who just haven't gone straight through.
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I'd say probably the people have had at least four to five years of professional experience before they come back.
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I you know, I kind of I self identify as young.
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And this is an expression that someone as someone said the other week to me and I thought that's such a great thing to say.
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So I mean, I don't know what mature means, really. I mean, yes. I mean, you know, when I started my PhD, I was in my mid 50s,
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but in some ways I would kind of question what, you know, what what the differences are.
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I mean, it's partly I think it's I you know, on the whole, I think I'm blessed with the ability to get on with people of all ages.
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And so I kind of you know, I didn't I never struggled with people, you know,
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my fellow students who were in their early 20s or or their mid 20s, mid 20s seems to be the norm.
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But, you know, there was certainly some who were kind of like, you know, twenty two years old starting a Ph.D.,
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which, of course, I never imagined myself doing when I was anything like that age.
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But I don't know. I just kind of think that, yes, it's a long time since I was an undergraduate.
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And I am very grateful for doing I'm very glad that I didn't do a Ph.D. when I was 20 or 25 or 30 or,
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you know, actually it was the right time when I started in my mid 50s.
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So I kind of reject the premise here, actually, that there is anything different about being a mature student.
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I think you do that. You do. When it's right for you. It doesn't work for everyone, you know, and it it's not always easy.
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But in my case, it was the right time. Yeah, I love that.
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And I think in all of your introductions, when you were talking about how you came to doing your research degree,
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you were all talking or providing us with stories that were very much about the right, the right time and the right topic.
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So from my perspective, I think it's a combination of experience,
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opportunity and an eagerness to get into the world of work that I really didn't want to go through any more formal education.
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And I obviously did the undergraduate degree straight through to Masters, literally, because I didn't know what else I wanted to do.
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I didn't know what I wanted to do as a job. And I had quite a.
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A negative experience as a master's student for my first master's degree,
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and actually I think had I then gone straight through to a Ph.D., wouldn't have been I wouldn't have the maturity that I have.
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Now, some people might argue I don't. And now having had sort of 20 years away from mainly away from academia and having worked in the real world,
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I know I'm quite happy to sort of ask things and go, OK, but I'm not happy about that.
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And this is what I want to do. And please, can you help me with this?
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And I think that 22 year old, 23 year old Kensa would not have had that self-awareness or that confidence to ask for
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those sorts of things and therefore have got the most out of what was available to me.
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And maybe that's maybe that's a reflection also of how academia's moved on.
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But I think that.
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As other people have said, it's the right time for me, I think it would have been a far more I'm not saying it's not stressful today.
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We all know that and we all know the amount of work and pressure that we often put ourselves under.
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But early twenties kensa would not have talking about myself in the third person.
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would not have coped with that in the way that I find that I'm able to do so now.
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I just wanted to reinforce what Kensa said. I completely agree with that.
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I mean, I'm not quite as mature as Ghee, but not far off.
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And I don't feel that I would have had the confidence to do what I'm doing now.
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I think impostor syndrome is a problem for everybody, regardless of age.
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And I think sometimes as an older student, you can find a problem, but you also have the resources to to work with it.
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You have the confidence to ask the questions. You're not so worried about how you appear to others.
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Yeah. And it's that that thing of being able to be confident enough to say, actually, I'm struggling with this.
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Can somebody help me? Can somebody advise?
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And I think mature students maybe find that a little bit easier to do because you don't really have anything to prove.
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It is lovely talking to the mature students. And actually that was something that really surprised me coming back.
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I thought I would be massively older than everyone else and I was massively heartened in my first few days to sit next to lots of the
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people who were older and to go into the Induction in history and realise I was not the oldest person there by about 15 years,
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which is what I clearly expected to be.
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So I think people perhaps right now myself, I wasn't aware of how many mature PhD and research students there are.
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So I think that's something I hope, you know, this will make people realise, if I think you're coming in, is that this is not an unusual situation.
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Yeah, and I think that's really key because there is even in the way that I frame
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this and challenge this so beautifully is is this assumption of difference.
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And, you know, like saying actually, you know, we're all human beings coming to this at the right time in our lives.
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So are we really that different? But also, you know, the community is diverse.
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And so I wondered if you could maybe reflect on what it was like coming in as a mature
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student and what your experience was of of your assumption of of perhaps being different,
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but also the reaction and response from your peers?
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I think I've been really lucky. The department I went into, everybody was absolutely lovely and it just wasn't even a consideration.
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You know, I was at Freshers Week with everybody else, OK? I wasn't out partying, obviously.
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But, you know, I was just with a bunch of other people who were all starting at the same time.
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They were all fantastic. We got on really well.
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And I didn't really feel that age was even a consideration at any stage on that kind of carried on right the way through for me, really.
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I found everybody very supportive. And it's just it's a community of people.
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I think age is just a state of mind. Yeah, age is a state of mind.
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I love that. And I think for me,
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what made the crucial difference was that I came back and did the Masters more or less well I had a year between the Masters and the Ph.D.
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So I was starting a Masters in my fifties after having been out of formal education for twenty years or so.
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And and so I struggled a bit when I started the Masters with kind of getting back into, oh, OK.
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So here's a confession. When I was an undergraduate, I did my undergraduate degree in the early 1980s at Hull university.
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And it was a degree in drama and I was the worst student you can imagine.
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I was you know, I was partying I was living it up.
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I was doing lots of productions, but I was not doing the work that was required to do to do the degree.
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And I very nearly failed. I came out with a 2:2 and I even though I was quite bright, I was just not doing putting the work in.
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And and that was, you know, that was so it was never nothing could be further from my mind when I was twenty.
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Than I would be doing a PhD.
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So I had to kind of between that stage of finishing my bachelor's degree and starting my master's degree 30 something years later,
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I had to go through a long, long journey, which involved all kinds of stops along the way, where I realised,
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for example, that I was able to to write reasonably well, which is a skill I had anyway.
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But I didn't kind of I didn't have the confidence to realise that I was able to read and,
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you know, read some kind of difficult theoretical text as well as the more straightforward.
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And that I could tell that I could cope, but even so, starting the Masters, as I did in September 2014, I think it was was an interesting shock.
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And coming up against some of the some of the kind of the sort of the styles and the
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ways of being and the ways of talking and the and the how seminars were conducted,
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those kind of things are done quite some quite theoretical stuff which I struggled with.
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And that was the difficult part, having then finished the Masters and done well in the Masters.
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Then when I started the PhD that that was an easy transition at the same university, it was the same department, some of the same people around me.
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So, yeah, it was the Masters beginning. That was a difficult thing.
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And I think I just going to make two points and one of them builds on Ghee's so if I start with that one that I'm thinking about,
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kind of positioning yourself in department.
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One thing I found a little strange is coming in as someone who's used to managing their work and managing their own time.
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That's in some of the university setup. It's a little bit more hierarchical.
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So my supervisor is massively long suffering because he he keeps going about things,
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saying things like, you know, has Laura checked your permission to do this ? He just very calmly says, yes, if I haven't,
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because I completely forgot that I need to ask my supervisor whether I could do this thing that they could relate to,
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but not because I'm not in the habit of asking somebody else's permission to do in research.
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So, yes, they're very, very sorry about that. But I do think that can sometimes be perhaps difference.
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The students who go straight through when they need to move from being a student in a
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hierarchical relationship within the department to moving to be a collaborator and a colleague.
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And obviously people, who come in as mature students and perhaps people in something like archaeology,
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which is very collegiate subject in general, are more used to that relationship.
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And I think you have to have the right supervisors and colleagues around you who are expecting that they're not expecting you to be a slightly shy,
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retiring or unsure students. They realise that you are a professional experienced person.
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Right. The other point I was going to make about freshers week and joining in, as someone who
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I've got my family responsibilities and I have young children and also,
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although I live reasonably close to Exeter about an hour's driveway,
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so I've not moved to Exeter to do the PhD so I can get involved in some department of life.
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And that was one reason I chose Exeter was I am close enough to do that.
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But I didn't really take part in things like some of the more social side freshers week or some of the more social side the department.
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And that does make a difference, I think. And yes.
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And I think to sort of carry on with what Laura says, I live relatively near the Penryn campus, but I started at funny time of year.
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I actually started in November of twenty nineteen. So I sort of missed out on all the induction things.
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So I very much don't feel part of the social side of Penryn campus at all.
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However, three months later, we then went into lockdown. We went online.
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And the great thing that I think actually has made my PhD and again, it feeds back to this, you know,
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not not feeling older or not not not sort of being perceived as being older than the other students.
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Is the online community and online sort of support community has has been great and everyone is equal.
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Everyone is treated equally. So you really don't notice who's a mature student and who isn't.
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And the other thing that Laura was saying about it's the idea of asking permission.
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I never do. I'm very, very lucky with my supervisor because I all of my supervisions start with, well, I've done this.
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And he goes, okay, then, you know, and I think that possibly comes with the confidence, the maturity that we were talking about earlier.
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That's sort of. Okay, well, I, I,
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I'm used to having to run my entire life and having to organise this and spin lots and lots of plates because I had to do that throughout my career.
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So therefore, I don't ask people if I can do something, I just go ahead and do it.
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Yeah, so agreeing with Laura on lots of things. What's really clear from what you're saying is that there are a number of things that as a
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mature PGR and somebody who's been out in the world of work for a period of time and that,
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you know, there you bring things that are incredibly useful to the experience.
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You know, you talked about that kind of confidence and the ability to ask questions and to kind of develop your independence as a researcher.
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Yeah, I think that's absolutely right. You know what it's about?
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I think it's about skill.
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That's what I think is, you know, kind of for me, the difference between between doing it now and doing it and not having done it.
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And so I think is like managing a project.
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You know, it's like managing a really complicated, multi lateral, multi faceted project, which is basically me.
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I'm on my own with some support from the supervisors.
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I like that idea of going into the supervision and saying, I've done this.
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And that's a really positive way to do it, is that, you know, you say this is where I'm at and this is what I've got to do.
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And this is these are the successes I've had since we last met.
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And these are the struggles and the questions that I'd like you to help me with, rather than waiting for the supervisor to start the conversation.
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That's really good.
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But, yeah, the idea of of, you know, being able to you know, through my other experience in my life, my varied experience, I know how to plan things.
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I know how to schedule things. I know how to fill time.
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If I'm waiting for something, I know how to manage the information.
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I mean, a lot of it, particularly in history. So I did a history PhD. It really is about managing information.
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It's about managing my secondary reading and my primary you know the sources that
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I'm looking at in the archives and being able to handle all of that material.
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All of that is stuff I think that one gets in life.
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You know, that if you've got some experience as a person out with a job or with a family or both, then, you know,
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you gain that experience and you can then bring that to you in the way that somebody is in their 20s, maybe can't yet.
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Since then, I think I bring a whole lot of skills to it.
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But actually, I find I work on academic stuff is probably quite different to how I work on things I've worked on professionally.
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It's very seldom you do such a big project professionally and I've done some research and evaluation and that's similar.
00:21:29,300 --> 00:21:38,810
But it's rare that I do this sort of work professionally. So I'd say that actually there's kind of yes, there are skills I bring.
00:21:38,810 --> 00:21:43,550
And probably the thing that brings me to student is perhaps a lack of panic there.
00:21:43,550 --> 00:21:49,310
Are there more there are bigger disasters in my life. There are bigger problems in my life when things go a bit wrong with the PhD
00:21:49,310 --> 00:21:55,220
when things are a bit tricky with the PhD relatively, it matters a lot less than other things get bigger by life.
00:21:55,220 --> 00:22:00,470
So which is possibly not what supervisors want to hear. But I kind of like my PhD I kind of want it to go.
00:22:00,470 --> 00:22:03,890
Well, I want to do all of that, but it's not the be all and end of my life.
00:22:03,890 --> 00:22:12,560
And it can't be because, you know, I have other people in my life who are in the end more important, which is sad but true.
00:22:12,560 --> 00:22:22,050
What I would say is I have found it slightly difficult because I have a way of working academically, which tends to be very intense.
00:22:22,050 --> 00:22:26,660
I tend to I'm I'm definitely someone who used to say doesn't stop moving til the ground,
00:22:26,660 --> 00:22:32,150
starts shaking that I really I like to very much work towards something, but then have a very intense period.
00:22:32,150 --> 00:22:37,910
And that's not always compatible with having a family life and working part time as a Ph.D.
00:22:37,910 --> 00:22:42,050
So that's something that I've had to learn to do as a mature student,
00:22:42,050 --> 00:22:48,560
which is different from how I worked when I was in my 20s, did my undergraduate or did my master's degree.
00:22:48,560 --> 00:22:53,900
And I could just completely focus on a period, on a piece of writing I was doing.
00:22:53,900 --> 00:22:56,720
And I just can't do that because I have two kids in school.
00:22:56,720 --> 00:23:02,120
So there is I've actually had to learn to work in different ways in which you're a student.
00:23:02,120 --> 00:23:06,980
But yes, like I bring bring a whole lot of kind of life experience to it, which helps.
00:23:06,980 --> 00:23:12,170
Yeah, I really I really identify with what Laura is saying.
00:23:12,170 --> 00:23:17,450
But one thing for me was actually working at the same time as studying and I found
00:23:17,450 --> 00:23:23,660
I was wearing two hats and I actually found that really difficult to juggle.
00:23:23,660 --> 00:23:29,240
My professional life was writing reports and communicating in a certain way,
00:23:29,240 --> 00:23:35,840
and the writing that I was doing was very different to the writing I was doing as part of my PhD.
00:23:35,840 --> 00:23:44,780
And that became quite a struggle for me, actually, because you were having to adopt these two personas and write in two very different styles.
00:23:44,780 --> 00:23:49,490
So you do need to be very organised. I think this is something that Ghee was saying.
00:23:49,490 --> 00:23:56,420
And, you know, don't underestimate the fact that you are trying to manage all these things and have a family life on top of that.
00:23:56,420 --> 00:24:03,050
So, you know, it does take a lot of organisation. So if you have project management skills, certainly that goes a long way towards it.
00:24:03,050 --> 00:24:07,850
But I do think that mature students have slightly different requirements.
00:24:07,850 --> 00:24:14,570
For me, it was the kind of the academic writing side of things and, you know, just needing a bit more support on that front.
00:24:14,570 --> 00:24:20,510
So we've talked about the benefits and the strengths that you bring as a mature PGR
00:24:20,510 --> 00:24:25,340
What about the challenges? What about what are the barriers that you faced?
00:24:25,340 --> 00:24:37,310
And certainly one thing I found difficult is having had gone from when I was a full time younger student,
00:24:37,310 --> 00:24:49,000
is the way that academia's moved on and things like methodologies and sort of understanding of particular.
00:24:49,000 --> 00:24:54,760
Themes and ways of working, especially within history or you just have no idea, I mean,
00:24:54,760 --> 00:25:00,310
I'm somebody who did my computers with just about coming in obviously they coming in when I was at school.
00:25:00,310 --> 00:25:07,180
But when I was an undergraduate, I did all my work handwritten. Everything was longhand when I did my masters.
00:25:07,180 --> 00:25:13,120
Yes, I did wordprocess my essays, but we didn't have a university email addresses or anything like that.
00:25:13,120 --> 00:25:17,230
So, you know, we're talking about that sort of gap.
00:25:17,230 --> 00:25:24,130
So it's not necessarily technology I usde technology the whole way through my career, but understanding the sort of, OK,
00:25:24,130 --> 00:25:32,140
this is how we've now decided that you structure a piece of writing and you need to make sure that you included this stuff and the other.
00:25:32,140 --> 00:25:44,110
I think sometimes people assume, you know, what that is and somebody's coming straight through would do because they've done an undergraduate degree,
00:25:44,110 --> 00:25:48,370
especially in history quite recently, probably in other subjects
00:25:48,370 --> 00:25:53,650
So history is my experience and I don't know that.
00:25:53,650 --> 00:26:00,610
So that, in a way has been a barrier and you just have to go, OK, I have no idea what you're talking about.
00:26:00,610 --> 00:26:09,370
Please, can you help me you know? Occasionally you get the slightly taken aback look, but most people are happy to point you in the right direction.
00:26:09,370 --> 00:26:16,630
Yeah, I agree with most people have said and I think there are just a number of things I've noted here.
00:26:16,630 --> 00:26:28,150
And the supervisors I've had have been really understanding of me as an older student because they understood that there be other life commitments,
00:26:28,150 --> 00:26:35,200
family work. So I don't I found them very supportive.
00:26:35,200 --> 00:26:46,250
And despite everything that they have pushed things through quite gently in many ways, for me it was the challenges definitely of juggling work.
00:26:46,250 --> 00:26:54,040
I was working full time, so every weekend was basically doing the research.
00:26:54,040 --> 00:27:01,570
So for me, it's been it was tough the first two years getting assignments done.
00:27:01,570 --> 00:27:10,720
And then when the research itself took over, what I found was that that was much more within my remit to deal with timescales.
00:27:10,720 --> 00:27:17,190
So that was that was great. I could actually plan that out, thinking of my work commitments.
00:27:17,190 --> 00:27:21,030
For me, I was as I said, I was an international student, so for me,
00:27:21,030 --> 00:27:29,190
I struggled with time because there was a time difference between the UK and where I was living.
00:27:29,190 --> 00:27:37,980
So that wasn't just the case of being a mature student. I was juggling work and dealing with time differences when I wanted to contact my supervisors.
00:27:37,980 --> 00:27:47,700
But as I said, again, they were very understanding and some of them were even messaging me over weekends because I worked on the Sunday.
00:27:47,700 --> 00:27:55,680
The other thing for me was writing and I couldn't agree more with Kensa and that for me my writing style was very different.
00:27:55,680 --> 00:28:01,920
And that was something that the supervisors commented on. And I reflected on this thinking.
00:28:01,920 --> 00:28:06,480
As a younger Tracey, I wouldn't have written like this.
00:28:06,480 --> 00:28:17,700
I wouldn't have written so confidently about my approach and my perspective, because I that, she said, was a very individual engaging style.
00:28:17,700 --> 00:28:23,690
And I don't think I would have done that or had the confidence to do that. The younger me.
00:28:23,690 --> 00:28:29,450
And also for the research itself, I actually don't think I could have done this research because this has come over
00:28:29,450 --> 00:28:35,180
time experience in my profession and within that particular job at that time.
00:28:35,180 --> 00:28:40,850
So the questions developed out of my work in practise in my life.
00:28:40,850 --> 00:28:51,440
Yes. So the barriers, I think there were the biggest one was juggling time for me and the distance with big time time difference.
00:28:51,440 --> 00:28:57,710
But it was actually asking people for help and the right people that I struggled with.
00:28:57,710 --> 00:29:07,640
Sometimes I wouldn't know who to go to, whereas if I was on campus or perhaps come through Exeter as an undergraduate,
00:29:07,640 --> 00:29:12,050
I might have known quicker where to go for advice on who to ask.
00:29:12,050 --> 00:29:16,420
But most of the time my supervisors have been very long suffering.
00:29:16,420 --> 00:29:22,390
Yeah, there are lots of things coming out there about being or not being a part of the academic community,
00:29:22,390 --> 00:29:26,890
and I wondered if we if we could spend some time thinking or talking about that,
00:29:26,890 --> 00:29:37,650
what kind of whether or not you felt welcomed into the academic community, what the what the barriers were again.
00:29:37,650 --> 00:29:42,650
I think one thing I would caution against is more think about people who perhaps think listening to this thinking thing,
00:29:42,650 --> 00:29:46,890
one is what worth thinking about. What subject I wanted to do
00:29:46,890 --> 00:29:53,260
I did think carefully about which university to attend, and partly because I have the experience.
00:29:53,260 --> 00:30:03,330
Someone else I could very well who did a of doctoral partnership as a mature student with the university that was some distance away.
00:30:03,330 --> 00:30:09,270
And I think that creates difficulties in terms of being able to contact people,
00:30:09,270 --> 00:30:14,730
but it also creates difficulties and perhaps perhaps take it sometimes opportunity to think.
00:30:14,730 --> 00:30:22,920
And so one reason I wanted to come to Exeter was because they had a strength and a community of people working in the period I want to work in,
00:30:22,920 --> 00:30:25,710
but also because they were close enough, for example,
00:30:25,710 --> 00:30:29,010
that I could get involved in teaching because that's something I really wanted to make sure I teach.
00:30:29,010 --> 00:30:36,630
My Ph.D. will spend some time practising teaching, and I was able to do that because I live close enough of course the things going online.
00:30:36,630 --> 00:30:38,730
It's made it much easier to be part of
00:30:38,730 --> 00:30:47,370
which has been wonderful and allowed me to really work meet more of the other students and staff working on similar periods to me,
00:30:47,370 --> 00:30:50,250
which perhaps I couldn't see, but I knew they would be there.
00:30:50,250 --> 00:30:57,690
I couldn't kind of be there at five o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon to actually go to seminars, meet them where I was being invited to do that.
00:30:57,690 --> 00:31:02,040
So previously I think that was a barrier with things that time, your seminars and so on.
00:31:02,040 --> 00:31:10,140
But I do think, you know, when you're thinking about where to go and look for your supervisors, the right people, that happens.
00:31:10,140 --> 00:31:17,310
If I think about that, do you think about that community and also what other things you want to do as well as do the research,
00:31:17,310 --> 00:31:22,230
whether being close enough to be involved in the department in that way is important as well?
00:31:22,230 --> 00:31:29,430
Of course, funding is can be a big control as well, yeah, a slight kind of double edge thing here, which I think is, you know,
00:31:29,430 --> 00:31:40,300
my grey hair and the fact that I look like, you know, sometimes I get respect from people just for that.
00:31:40,300 --> 00:31:48,630
Sometimes because I'm an older white male, some people will give me respect, which maybe I don't deserve.
00:31:48,630 --> 00:31:59,280
And that is on the whole, it's a good thing for me anyway. However, I sometimes I think I've had experience of younger academics, you know,
00:31:59,280 --> 00:32:10,710
even quite senior academics who are perhaps slightly uncomfortable with having somebody who is a lot older than them, who is, you know,
00:32:10,710 --> 00:32:17,280
at that but at that junior level, because there is a very strong hierarchy within the university, you know,
00:32:17,280 --> 00:32:27,450
undergraduate masters, the professor, etc., etc. There are these very clear strata within the university.
00:32:27,450 --> 00:32:35,800
And if there's somebody, you know, on a higher stratum than me who is a lot younger than me, then sometimes I think they struggle.
00:32:35,800 --> 00:32:38,190
I don't think I struggle on the whole. I don't think I do.
00:32:38,190 --> 00:32:45,890
But I think I've experienced I get older or younger academics who who don't feel quite comfortable in my.
00:32:45,890 --> 00:32:49,280
And I don't know what one can do about that. And equally, you know,
00:32:49,280 --> 00:32:58,400
lots of other academics and other members of staff and students who are perfectly comfortable with the case of 30 something years older
00:32:58,400 --> 00:33:01,820
but some people do struggle with it. I totally agree.
00:33:01,820 --> 00:33:05,630
I think possibly the thing that mature age,
00:33:05,630 --> 00:33:14,900
mature age students bring to the PGR community and maybe the university community as a whole is that we have this experience,
00:33:14,900 --> 00:33:17,480
this larger experience outside academia.
00:33:17,480 --> 00:33:26,750
And we are totally used to having to deal with people at all stages of their life and all stages of their own various journeys,
00:33:26,750 --> 00:33:33,950
and therefore actually dealing with a supervisor who might be 20 years younger than us.
00:33:33,950 --> 00:33:35,060
That's not my personal experience.
00:33:35,060 --> 00:33:44,090
But, you know, or people who have just got their kids who are far younger than us or people that who are far older than us,
00:33:44,090 --> 00:33:49,850
doesn't faze us perhaps as much as it would do to somebody in their very early twenties.
00:33:49,850 --> 00:33:55,040
And I wondered how that works for you, Tracey, because we're talking about kind of living relatively close to the campus,
00:33:55,040 --> 00:33:59,790
whereas, you know, for quite a bit of your studies, you've been on the other side of the world.
00:33:59,790 --> 00:34:03,260
So what's that sense of community been like for you?
00:34:03,260 --> 00:34:15,920
Yeah, I think for me the challenge was actually having engagement with the student body and my fellow researchers as a community.
00:34:15,920 --> 00:34:22,850
And at the time, although we have good technology that wasn't open to me until the pandemic,
00:34:22,850 --> 00:34:31,280
which you and I have discussed before, the actually the pandemic opened more opportunities for me.
00:34:31,280 --> 00:34:51,440
And I feel that following my courses and access and seminars, conferences, going online, I feel I've got much more community with fellow researchers,
00:34:51,440 --> 00:35:00,320
whether that's younger researchers or not, because I certainly meet many more researches online.
00:35:00,320 --> 00:35:06,230
In the last year than I did the previously, so I think it isn't a case of distance,
00:35:06,230 --> 00:35:12,020
it's a case of opportunity and access and thinking of it much more broadly.
00:35:12,020 --> 00:35:17,060
Yeah, I'm really glad you used the word community, because that's made me think about that again.
00:35:17,060 --> 00:35:28,310
And I'm kind of thinking that I really have felt I did I didn't feel very much that I was part of the the big university community,
00:35:28,310 --> 00:35:35,060
which is I mean, you know, it's an enormous community and it does it's not I mean, when I was an undergraduate just to go back there again,
00:35:35,060 --> 00:35:39,680
you know, there were a hundred students in one building studying drama at university.
00:35:39,680 --> 00:35:44,780
And we were completely a family. And in Exeter,
00:35:44,780 --> 00:35:51,410
there are over a thousand students doing history as undergraduates and they are
00:35:51,410 --> 00:35:55,880
all scattered across the place and there's no sense of them being one community.
00:35:55,880 --> 00:36:03,740
So and I think Exeter is a big university. And I think it's it's it's it's hard to pin down where the community is.
00:36:03,740 --> 00:36:12,020
But I always thought I did feel, you know, I was part of you know, I was I spent a lot of time in the library.
00:36:12,020 --> 00:36:23,240
I was kind of I would often eat on campus in the day time in and out of the guild, you know, making I mean, I was on university challenge team,
00:36:23,240 --> 00:36:32,390
we didnt get on the TV, but even, you know, the kind of lots of things that made me feel as if I was as if I was part of this big group of people.
00:36:32,390 --> 00:36:37,700
And I think that that for me really made it work.
00:36:37,700 --> 00:36:41,600
And I think I had a again, I had a confidence about that.
00:36:41,600 --> 00:36:44,580
I mean, I think that's a word that people have used.
00:36:44,580 --> 00:36:52,550
I had a confidence about joining things and going up to people and saying, hello, what can I join in, you know, that kind of stuff.
00:36:52,550 --> 00:37:02,180
But that I didn't have when I was if I just want to think about how some of this difference what you want to get out of the PhD
00:37:02,180 --> 00:37:08,510
you know, are you doing it professionally to move yourself forward professionally, and you know where that's going to go?
00:37:08,510 --> 00:37:18,170
Are you doing it to actually change careers? Are you doing as an experience to develop yourself intellectually, to develop new insights, new research,
00:37:18,170 --> 00:37:24,260
in which case that kind of social aspect of being part of a university community can be really important
00:37:24,260 --> 00:37:29,630
because you want to open your mind to new things and to meet new people and to be part of that or like,
00:37:29,630 --> 00:37:35,480
say, if you if it's a much more this is a professional step within my own career, developing my own skills.
00:37:35,480 --> 00:37:42,260
You may not actually feel that need because you are already have that community within your professional practise.
00:37:42,260 --> 00:37:46,340
So I'm probably somebody whose perhaps move on that a bit
00:37:46,340 --> 00:37:55,520
I think when I first came back to do my PhD, very much so this is something that was part of that myself, actually within my career.
00:37:55,520 --> 00:37:59,690
But I wasn't very clear about where I wanted what I want after
00:37:59,690 --> 00:38:04,380
And if I actually I'm still not and I still get lots of different ideas. But actually, let's go back, in fact.
00:38:04,380 --> 00:38:11,500
So I assumed I would never want to come back in academia after my PhD because I thought it was
00:38:11,500 --> 00:38:19,450
Possibly sometimesa hit horribly competitive for very small rewards and not perhaps that collegiate in some ways,
00:38:19,450 --> 00:38:27,310
and I didn't really feel that was the kind of society I'm working. But actually, I really loved to kind of, you know, teaching and studying again.
00:38:27,310 --> 00:38:31,540
And, you know, maybe there are opportunities for me that grateful to be part time.
00:38:31,540 --> 00:38:36,250
I've got years to worry about what I'm going to do afterwards. I and try lots of things in the meantime.
00:38:36,250 --> 00:38:41,920
That's also what Iwanted to do was to give myself that space to have a PhD part time
00:38:41,920 --> 00:38:48,010
So I knew I had some income coming in and some work, but also to give myself space to explore new things.
00:38:48,010 --> 00:38:54,130
So I suppose why you're coming to do the PhD might impact what other things you to look for and what you really need.
00:38:54,130 --> 00:38:57,940
I was just listening to to what Laura said and smiling.
00:38:57,940 --> 00:39:05,050
I came I mentioned earlier I came into to do my PhD because it was to solve a problem I had in my career.
00:39:05,050 --> 00:39:08,290
And I was doing very well in my career. It was going great.
00:39:08,290 --> 00:39:14,260
There was no question of me going into academia, you know, and I was going to go back into my job and I'd be better informed.
00:39:14,260 --> 00:39:22,270
Well, that was just rubbish, because doing a PhD changes you as a person in lots of really good ways.
00:39:22,270 --> 00:39:29,830
And doing it part time, I think has helped me to kind of compare my working life with my academic life.
00:39:29,830 --> 00:39:34,630
And when you're in your 50s, people don't have any great expectations of you to go into academia.
00:39:34,630 --> 00:39:40,720
They think you're going to stick with your life in practise. And actually, I've just completely fallen in love with academia.
00:39:40,720 --> 00:39:48,700
I'm due to submit my PhD in September, and I've already been successful in securing a permanent lectureship,
00:39:48,700 --> 00:39:52,810
which I started in the New Year in Liverpool, and I just couldn't be happier.
00:39:52,810 --> 00:40:00,910
I'm a completely different person. I now have a totally different life and I just feel like I've come home, you know,
00:40:00,910 --> 00:40:06,430
and I like being in consultancy, but I'm just absolutely delighted with the way things have worked out.
00:40:06,430 --> 00:40:14,350
Anddoing a PhD has given me skills and experience and confidence and all the things that I didn't have before.
00:40:14,350 --> 00:40:19,990
And that's why I would just say to people, just go for it, because you really don't know where it's going to take you.
00:40:19,990 --> 00:40:30,400
That's just completely fantastic. Catherine, congratulations. And talking about kind of, you know, going onto an academic career.
00:40:30,400 --> 00:40:38,260
It's a really nice Segway actually, into what started this conversation, which was about career support for mature students, you know,
00:40:38,260 --> 00:40:40,900
who aren't kind of haven't gone through that, I don't know,
00:40:40,900 --> 00:40:47,080
conveyor belt of education without without getting off and doing professional work and so on.
00:40:47,080 --> 00:40:57,280
Don't know if we could speak a bit about that, about kind of what support you actually need as mature PGRs as you already have had careers
00:40:57,280 --> 00:41:02,830
who have sought a PhD as a professional development opportunity or as a career change?
00:41:02,830 --> 00:41:13,390
You know what? What is it that you need that's different? I can I can start this off because I'm slightly to blame for the entirety of this podcast.
00:41:13,390 --> 00:41:21,370
I have having been a teacher in secondary schools, I have absolutely no desire to go back to that.
00:41:21,370 --> 00:41:28,690
Not dissing teaching as a career at all. I have the utmost respect for my former colleagues, especially the work they've done in the last year.
00:41:28,690 --> 00:41:32,920
But it's not something I want to return to. So I'm that's OK.
00:41:32,920 --> 00:41:37,360
I'm in my second year of my Ph.D. stage. I need to decide what I'm going to do afterwards.
00:41:37,360 --> 00:41:39,820
I need to start looking at options.
00:41:39,820 --> 00:41:51,610
So I'm going to as many I spent the sort of spring term this year going to as many careers seminars and talks and so on as possible and got very
00:41:51,610 --> 00:42:01,510
frustrated very early on because there was just this assumption that people looking for work were aged 22 and had an undergraduate degree.
00:42:01,510 --> 00:42:10,810
And I actually went to one to where the person said he was, you know, the Exeter graduate who they'd got in to do the talk,
00:42:10,810 --> 00:42:15,850
said, oh, yes, and you can make senior management by the time you're 25.
00:42:15,850 --> 00:42:20,080
And I, you know, had had we actually physically been in the same room,
00:42:20,080 --> 00:42:27,340
I think I'd probably having said I'm mature and have grown up and what I probably would have thrown something at him.
00:42:27,340 --> 00:42:34,720
There is just this assumption that people looking for work or have just finished university and have no
00:42:34,720 --> 00:42:41,800
experience and are looking for a career and they just want money and they want to live in central London.
00:42:41,800 --> 00:42:50,860
And we all know everyone, undergraduates, schoolteachers, children and teenagers in school, everybody knows that is not true.
00:42:50,860 --> 00:42:56,230
So why is this still this fantasy still being peddled in career seminars?
00:42:56,230 --> 00:43:03,100
And I didn't challenge him in that one. But then I went to another seminar probably a few days later.
00:43:03,100 --> 00:43:09,520
And actually I did turn around to go hi person in my mid forties here who's had one career.
00:43:09,520 --> 00:43:18,000
Doesn't know what they want to do with their life after the PhD, please don't assume this, and actually got a really positive response from that.
00:43:18,000 --> 00:43:24,550
But but yes, there is this. You know, I think.
00:43:24,550 --> 00:43:27,670
Maybe that's that's something that we need to do as mature students,
00:43:27,670 --> 00:43:31,990
but there are a lot of mature students as we've discovered and we need to challenge these
00:43:31,990 --> 00:43:38,180
stereotypes and say and also let alone with the way that society has changed,
00:43:38,180 --> 00:43:42,460
spot the historian here, the way society has changed over the last 50 years,
00:43:42,460 --> 00:43:48,580
people do not go into jobs at the age of 16 and stick with that one company until they're 65.
00:43:48,580 --> 00:43:53,740
Many, many people have either changed jobs or change careers partway through their lives.
00:43:53,740 --> 00:44:06,340
And I think that's hopefully careers services and whoever will start to realise this and start to sort of tailoring things to,
00:44:06,340 --> 00:44:12,880
you know, maybe we need to go and ask for it rather than expecting it to be handed this information to be handed to us on a plate.
00:44:12,880 --> 00:44:19,940
But I think that people need to start catering for a wider range of needs.
00:44:19,940 --> 00:44:26,680
That sounds like actually the university's career department need to do some targeted sessions or or a theme stream,
00:44:26,680 --> 00:44:31,600
which is about mature students, not necessarily only PGRs
00:44:31,600 --> 00:44:37,870
but, you know, students of in any level or department or whatever who are, you know,
00:44:37,870 --> 00:44:43,690
who are kind of coming in again after after experience family and work.
00:44:43,690 --> 00:44:50,920
And you know how that is different and what they you know how it is, because the fact is, we've all got a hell of a lot to offer.
00:44:50,920 --> 00:44:54,910
You know what? It's just a question of finding the right.
00:44:54,910 --> 00:45:00,160
The people who are looking for that stuff that we've got to offer, you know, and we are.
00:45:00,160 --> 00:45:03,400
Yeah, we're great. I agree obviously with Ghee we are wonderful.
00:45:03,400 --> 00:45:12,400
And people would be lucky to us in their career, I think also because if we're dissing the career service providers, who arent here to reply
00:45:12,400 --> 00:45:20,170
they could also be missing because I know some of the conversation in amongst issues more broadly is about things like this
00:45:20,170 --> 00:45:28,690
terrible phrase of atl-ac the kind of people who are doing PhDs who aren't then planning to go on to an academic career and obviously from people,
00:45:28,690 --> 00:45:36,250
the students or from people who've done some of those other careers and therefore perhaps have some useful insights into that conversation.
00:45:36,250 --> 00:45:49,150
Or, you know, they could be the university could be exploiting some of our links into kind of industry and into other other areas of the subject.
00:45:49,150 --> 00:45:57,520
And it might perhaps be to call back something we spoke about earlier in that subject where sometimes some of the other
00:45:57,520 --> 00:46:04,450
people who work in department have gone through perhaps more traditional route have stayed in academia their entire career.
00:46:04,450 --> 00:46:14,560
And actually therefore, that kind of wider understanding, that of those uproots is sometimes not perhaps there to the same extent.
00:46:14,560 --> 00:46:20,170
And that's something that the that could can usefully not just mature students,
00:46:20,170 --> 00:46:27,790
but by setting it is more of a conversation and the way we can the community with an extra can contribute and work together.
00:46:27,790 --> 00:46:31,930
This could be something that other students can benefit from as well.
00:46:31,930 --> 00:46:39,580
And the people working in these career service jobs might benefit from some of our expense.
00:46:39,580 --> 00:46:41,570
Just very quickly, Laura you;re just spot on.
00:46:41,570 --> 00:46:47,320
I and I think the amount of times I've been in an academic situation and I've seen academics with loads of experience who don't know,
00:46:47,320 --> 00:46:53,650
for example, how to run a meeting, who don't know how to handle a seminar, you know, who only have one way of doing things.
00:46:53,650 --> 00:46:58,750
And that's what they've been doing for 20, 30 years within an academic context.
00:46:58,750 --> 00:47:03,700
One thing I'd say is perhaps sometimes the nature of this being something that the university
00:47:03,700 --> 00:47:09,700
needs to do for students to recognise that if the university is a community,
00:47:09,700 --> 00:47:15,250
a kind of academic collegiate community, then this is something we do together in collaboration.
00:47:15,250 --> 00:47:21,130
This isn't something the university needs to do for students as a kind of someone lower down the hierarchy.
00:47:21,130 --> 00:47:29,560
Perhaps this is this is a this is a we work together at which, you know, I know some people do work collaboratively and that's true.
00:47:29,560 --> 00:47:33,730
But I think that can we talk a little bit earlier on about sometimes that that
00:47:33,730 --> 00:47:37,690
hierarchical relationship that can creep in and that that that is a problem,
00:47:37,690 --> 00:47:41,950
I think. And that perhaps is very here. You're right.
00:47:41,950 --> 00:47:47,470
And I think that working in collaboration and that reciprocity is really important because one of the
00:47:47,470 --> 00:47:55,450
big philosophies of the way that I work is no one knows better what PGRs need than PGRs themselves.
00:47:55,450 --> 00:48:03,640
And so I think it's really important for us to working in collaboration, to work together on this and to wrap up.
00:48:03,640 --> 00:48:05,740
I want to think or imagine that, you know,
00:48:05,740 --> 00:48:14,320
there's somebody listening to this podcast who is considering doing a research degree as a mature student or is just about to start.
00:48:14,320 --> 00:48:23,890
What advice would you give them? What do you wish that you knew at the point at which you started or were considering applying?
00:48:23,890 --> 00:48:28,870
It's not so much of what I wish I'd known better, what I have come to realise,
00:48:28,870 --> 00:48:35,790
and that is don't be put off by thinking, oh God, I'm a mature student, what on earth my doing with my life?
00:48:35,790 --> 00:48:41,860
I suddenly take three or four years out to do a Ph.D. Just go ahead and do it.
00:48:41,860 --> 00:48:45,550
You can have whatever whatever life journey you've been on.
00:48:45,550 --> 00:48:52,390
You have acquired the skills and the knowledge and the ability to do a Ph.D. and you know,
00:48:52,390 --> 00:48:57,640
whether that juggling lots and lots of different things and commitments plus full time study,
00:48:57,640 --> 00:49:02,920
whether that's juggling a full time job and part time study, you have learnt those things.
00:49:02,920 --> 00:49:07,930
You have learnt those skills. And what you need to do is just think I can do this.
00:49:07,930 --> 00:49:12,670
The support is there and I will learn so much about myself.
00:49:12,670 --> 00:49:17,740
And maybe it's not just about learning about yourself. I will gain something.
00:49:17,740 --> 00:49:22,840
And actually I do have the right to do this for me.
00:49:22,840 --> 00:49:28,120
So I would say then don't be put off by thinking it's just something that people who
00:49:28,120 --> 00:49:34,480
are very brainy in their mid twenties do not describe myself as very brainy either.
00:49:34,480 --> 00:49:43,270
But yeah, just go for it. Yeah, I mirror some of what Kensa's said, so I just jotting down a couple of things.
00:49:43,270 --> 00:49:49,420
And I think the main thing that people said to me about it was a marathon, not a sprint.
00:49:49,420 --> 00:50:01,690
I go at my workplace or life at like a hundred miles an hour or a hundred and forty kilometres an hour along the Dubai Abu Dhabi highway.
00:50:01,690 --> 00:50:08,230
And I was still expecting to do that with my doing the doctorate.
00:50:08,230 --> 00:50:15,730
And it was only on reflection recently that I recognised that if it was a marathon and that
00:50:15,730 --> 00:50:24,940
a different process and different pace and then also mirroring what Kensa had said,
00:50:24,940 --> 00:50:36,250
the word I put down was skills, is that I have acquired so many amazing skills during this journey,
00:50:36,250 --> 00:50:44,290
and that's through my workplace and life as well as through this research opportunity.
00:50:44,290 --> 00:50:50,680
So I think if anybody was debating whether to do it, I'd say absolutely,
00:50:50,680 --> 00:50:56,950
because you learn so much on the way and incorporate a lot of your life skills.
00:50:56,950 --> 00:51:02,980
I was just going to completely echo what the others have said I think that it's much better that I can so i'll just agree with them on that.
00:51:02,980 --> 00:51:10,600
Ang one point I was going to raise which hasn't kind of come up some where in the podcast was about doing it in combination with having a young family,
00:51:10,600 --> 00:51:15,070
and that I have two boys who are now just eight and five.
00:51:15,070 --> 00:51:23,770
And so I started when they're three and five. And obviously that of many mature students have perhaps caring responsibilities as do younger students,
00:51:23,770 --> 00:51:29,700
but actually a part-time PhD combines really well with having a family because there is flexibility about where you fit the work.
00:51:29,700 --> 00:51:38,110
And so that can really that can work quite well in that I work much more intense because of the times I can take the time off to the holidays.
00:51:38,110 --> 00:51:46,120
So if you're thinking will having a young family prevent me from doing a PhDit can actually be a type of work that fits pretty well with it.
00:51:46,120 --> 00:51:50,110
But I think what's been inspiring this podcast has been seeing how yes,
00:51:50,110 --> 00:51:54,280
go in with a clear idea about why you want to be doing the PhD be clear about why you want to do that topic,
00:51:54,280 --> 00:52:01,570
about what you really value about that topic and you know about why you've chosen to do it, where you've chosen to do it.
00:52:01,570 --> 00:52:07,000
But I think what to expect expects that that change, that growth you have to PhD.
00:52:07,000 --> 00:52:13,690
And so don't be surprised if it goes in a different direction as you work through and that you change as you're doing it.
00:52:13,690 --> 00:52:18,700
But, yeah, I would agree with people. I think that's it. But I have been glad to do it now.
00:52:18,700 --> 00:52:25,330
You know, I wasn't in the place where my kids were very small babies. It wouldn't it would be more much more difficult.
00:52:25,330 --> 00:52:29,350
And I don't know whether I'd have come to my twenties.
00:52:29,350 --> 00:52:37,570
I would probably have done a different PhD. So, you know, it it fits people at different stages.
00:52:37,570 --> 00:52:42,760
Yeah. I mean, I'm just going to agree with everybody else. But one thing I would say is be kind to yourself.
00:52:42,760 --> 00:52:49,000
My supervisor often says to me to stop being so hard on myself, he reckons I'm my own worst enemy.
00:52:49,000 --> 00:52:53,320
And I think sometimes we do put a lot of pressure on ourselves as mature students.
00:52:53,320 --> 00:52:59,920
So just something to be aware of. I also think we shouldn't stereotype ourselves, OK, we're mature students.
00:52:59,920 --> 00:53:04,870
But, you know, I think we've seen today that actually it doesn't make a lot of difference what age you are.
00:53:04,870 --> 00:53:08,740
We all deserve to be there and we've all earned the right to be there.
00:53:08,740 --> 00:53:14,500
And just to reiterate what other people said, just be prepared to come out as a different person at the end of it.
00:53:14,500 --> 00:53:22,570
Yeah, thank you. I mean, it's one of the things I think I want to say is, is that it's it's not for everyone.
00:53:22,570 --> 00:53:28,650
I think that some. That should be said to anyone who's thinking about going to university at any level,
00:53:28,650 --> 00:53:38,340
if they're a 17 year old thinking about an undergraduate degree or if they're thinking about a Ph.D., you know, it's a PhD is hard work.
00:53:38,340 --> 00:53:40,470
It is designed to be hard work.
00:53:40,470 --> 00:53:48,990
It is designed to be something that takes literally thousands of hours and takes you very deep into studying something quite particular.
00:53:48,990 --> 00:53:57,970
And that is you may feel that you've got some of the capacity for that, but maybe you haven't as well.
00:53:57,970 --> 00:54:00,510
So I kind of weigh it up quite carefully.
00:54:00,510 --> 00:54:08,040
I think in your mind, you know, do a list of all the pros and the cons and talk to as many people as you can before you start.
00:54:08,040 --> 00:54:15,850
I mean, I thankfully, my experience was pretty good. So, you know, I'm lucky, but it's not really for everyone.
00:54:15,850 --> 00:54:25,620
So just kind of take that slowly, I think. And I think one thing about being, you know, what we talked about before is having confidence.
00:54:25,620 --> 00:54:34,230
And I think one of the things that is I've really learnt is the ability to say, I don't know, I don't understand.
00:54:34,230 --> 00:54:38,970
I'm you know, please explain this to me. I'm not sure what that what that means.
00:54:38,970 --> 00:54:41,190
Young people often struggle with that.
00:54:41,190 --> 00:54:48,150
I think, you know, I think I think I've got to stage in my life when I say what I am, what I am and what I am needs no excuses.
00:54:48,150 --> 00:54:53,670
Take me as You see me and I will admit when I don't. And that really that's very, very helpful in life.
00:54:53,670 --> 00:55:03,840
I found and the final thing I think I would say is that is just picking up on the thing about family life and what Laura was saying.
00:55:03,840 --> 00:55:09,360
I mean, my my children were were in their 20s or in their late teens when I started.
00:55:09,360 --> 00:55:18,150
So that made it a lot easier. But, um, I had a fairly strict policy from the beginning, which I was able to do,
00:55:18,150 --> 00:55:23,670
partly my wonderful wife earning some money into my getting a funding for the PhD
00:55:23,670 --> 00:55:28,440
I had a fairly strict policy of of compartmentalising work and leisure.
00:55:28,440 --> 00:55:35,220
So I worked. I did my PhD work from nine to six Monday to Friday.
00:55:35,220 --> 00:55:38,850
I didn't work evenings and I didn't work weekends.
00:55:38,850 --> 00:55:44,940
I broke that occasionally, particularly towards the end, and particularly when I was overseas doing my research.
00:55:44,940 --> 00:55:52,650
But on the whole, I tried to stick to that because your mental health, your wellbeing is absolutely critical.
00:55:52,650 --> 00:56:01,650
You won't get through it if you break down in inverted commas and you need to balance that life in order to get through it.
00:56:01,650 --> 00:56:08,910
So, yeah, kind of look after yourself, really. It's that confidence has to be kind to yourself.
00:56:08,910 --> 00:56:15,720
Thank you so much, Ghee, Kensa, Tracey, Catherine and Laura for having this conversation with me.
00:56:15,720 --> 00:56:20,040
And thank you to you. If you've stuck with us for what is now just under an hour.
00:56:20,040 --> 00:56:31,440
I wanted to keep a lot of this content in because I think it's just so important to share and to recognise the experiences of different researchers.
00:56:31,440 --> 00:56:39,780
So if you're listening to this and you think but that doesn't tie with my experience as a student or what about, you know, what about being part time?
00:56:39,780 --> 00:56:46,980
What about being just whatever it is? If you feel like you've got a story to tell, please get in touch.
00:56:46,980 --> 00:56:52,710
And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me next time.
00:56:52,710 --> 00:57:18,832
We'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
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Dealing with failure
Tales of major corrections
Tales of minor corrections
Researcher Takeover - Talking about Thematic Analysis
All about burn out
Being an internal (viva) examiner with Professor Michelle Bolduc
Preparing for your (HASS) Viva
Preparing for your (STEMM) Viva
Mentoring and Coaching with Dr. Kay Guccione
Taking a break take 2 - with Dr. Edward Mills
Doing non-traditional research with Lizzie Hobson
Changing supervisors with Maria Dede
Adapting research projects due to COVID-19 with Léna Prouchet
Working with an industry partner with Léna Prouchet
The Supervisory Relationship (from both sides!) with Edward Mills and Tom Hinton
Preparing for your upgrade
The impact of Covid19 on research projects with Ellie Hassan
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