Great Power

With great power comes great responsibility.

It’s fun to know that Stan Lee didn’t quite invent this phrase, but lovely to know that it’s popularisation is pretty much all due to Spider-Man. It applies to more than just superheroes and those in positions of power, it’s a beautiful truth that applies to many situations.

Like PhDs, of course! I have a couple of thoughts in mind for today.

First, through what you’ve built up over the course of your PhD, you owe it to yourself to prepare well for the viva. This doesn’t have to take a lot from you – remember, you’re powerful! – but you have that responsibility after all this work to see it through to a good conclusion. You have power in that.

Second, and more important by far, with all that power, you have a responsibility to do something that matters after your PhD. That could be a job in academia or somewhere else. It could be you start a business, or you volunteer your skills; it could be that you do something to help one person or many. Your family, your local community, your organisation or people all over the world. You can make a difference.

Knowledge is power, but you have more than just that. You have skill. You have talent. You have know-how as well as knowing lots. With the great power that you have, you have a responsibility to make a difference.

Spider-Man isn’t “better” than someone without powers. A person with a PhD isn’t “better” than someone without. But you might have skills that they don’t, skills that they could really need.

So help. Make a difference.

Be a hero.