Once upon a time, the story I told people about myself was that I loved maths, really enjoyed learning more about all kinds of maths, and wanted to do a Masters and a PhD. And I was happy and lucky that my supervisor was so good and supportive.
And a few years later I told anyone who asked that I’d enjoyed the challenge of my PhD in maths and was looking for new challenges. I felt very fortunate to have had all the support I had to that point, but I was looking for something else.
Nowadays I’m far more likely to just mention that I did a PhD (a long time ago!) and that gave me a start in the more important part of my life as a researcher-developer. I’ve spent fifteen years learning ways to help PGRs become PhDs.
Over time my story changed: partly because I grew older and had a different focus but also because I was telling different people about who I was and what I did.
My story changed because I saw myself differently, I understood myself better and I gained a better appreciation of things. I wasn’t lucky to get my PhD, I was fortunate that my hard work had paid off.
What story do you tell yourself about your success so far? What do you highlight as being the things that have made you the capable researcher that you are?
Whatever your story, remember that you are not the person you were when you started your PhD journey. Your story changes over time but you can also change the way you tell that story, both to others and to yourself.