Part 4 – Getting over the first few challenges [upcoming]
Part 5 – More exciting stuff on the go [upcoming]
If you notice in one of the comments on my previous part 1, I would be categorized in the minority group of young PhD candidates, who pursue this Permanent-Head-Damaged degree at the very young age (24,25 years old). No matter how old or young you are, I guess everyone has a turning point where they realize what they really want in life…
I’ve decided to do my PhD when I’m in my 3rd year undergraduate, after realizing the ultimate joy of traveling. I think that being an academic researcher, going around the world to present research findings, networking with other intellectual individuals, is something ‘cool’ [But I don’t know how to describe what ‘cool’ is all about]
Before getting into that point, I need A LOT of confidence about myself. In order to get that confidence, I need to experiences few failures. Life is not about getting all what you want, but to learn how to appreciate what you can achieve.
In Vietnam, students that are good at Nature Science subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc. are valued higher than ones have interests in Literature, Geography or History. I come from a family where previously, my parents always tease me because I study Geography in high-school and that was considered less intelligent than my older brother, who studies Maths. I absolutely believe that now I have changed my parents’ view (in an uncomfortable way) and I want to prove that a Social science student should be valued as much as a Nature science student. All I’m saying is, I have been used to that culture where I may not belong to the ‘majority’ [using the term ‘culture’ here is a bit too broad, but I think you know what I mean]
I come to Australia to study the Bachelor degree, majoring in Marketing n Management. This is just because of my interests and I did explain why Marketing in part 1. Again, I don’t belong to the majority where a lot of Vietnamese students choose to study Accounting & Finance, or Engineering or IT. I almost find no Vietnamese friends studying Marketing at uni. I find it intimidating when people (the elders) back home always compare among us with tons of biases. Soon, I realise that I don’t have to compare myself with anyone else, I find what I learn is interesting to me, and I try harder everyday. That’s all that matters to me!
2nd year would be considered as the big change in my study life. I was selected to study on exchange to University of Southern California (USC) for one semester. Prior coming to US, I’ve also selected to attend a global conference run-by-students at National Taiwan University (NTU). This was the first time I felt so excited going abroad, to expand my horizon and see different things.
Australia is the place where I can expand my footprint to other places in the world. In my 3rd year, I were selected again to that Global Initiatives Symposium (GIS) in Taiwan and another conference in Argentina – South American Business Forum. I seemed to realise and confirm my ultimate interests in life is when I can get to travel. Argentina is an amazing country. I guess not many people (in my home country) have a chance to visit.
At the end of third year, I am about to graduate my bachelor degree. I don’t want to stop studying at this stage and going back to my country for work. Yes, I want to develop the country, but not at this stage where I haven’t equipped myself mentally enough with useful skills. I want to do Honours degree to experience what research likes, experience the stress and all that. Honours degree wasn’t easy but I think it’s a worthwhile investment for me to really know that I like research.
In the middle of my Honours year (4th year bachelor degree), I started my PhD applications to few universities in Australia. University of Sydney ‘called’ me first, one of the potential supervisors that I put in my personal statement called to my mobile number just one day after I submitted my Expression-of-Interests. He asked me to fly to Sydney for a casual interview, to meet him and other professors in the faculty. It was unbelievable amazing because I am never that confident about myself. The interviews went really well, and now I am PhD candidate at Discipline of Marketing, University of Business School.
But what happened after that interview? Why I had to delay for one semester to commence my PhD? There were times that I thought I had to give up this dream? There are sufferings that one has to take behinds all the good stories that he/she tells.
Keep in touch and I’ll update you in Part 3
- PhD JJourney Part 1 – Why PhD? and Why Marketing? (jjourneys.wordpress.com)
- What to say when someone asks you: “Should I do a PhD?” (politicalcogito.wordpress.com)