The Next Steps

At some point your PhD will be finished.

Then what?

You don’t need to have all the answers. There’s no single right path that should be followed by a PhD candidate as they prepare to finish. It will help though to consider, while you’re writing up and getting ready, what your next steps might be.

  • Perhaps explore what excites and interests you. Where could you find opportunities that would allow this?
  • Maybe necessity governs your next actions. What needs must be satisfied by work, in terms of time, money and location?
  • It could be that you need to take simple steps before then. Is your CV up to date? Do you need to get help from others? When will you make time to do what needs to be done?

To figure out your next steps you probably also need to look back at the journey so far. This can help you decide what you have to do or what you could do, but it also helps prepare you for the viva too. Looking back could bring into clarity the trajectory that you’re on, both for the viva and for life after the PhD.

How Did You Get Here?

Recently, I was very happy to be invited to contribute my career story to the Sheffield v i s t a blog.

I like to reflect, and summarising ten years of work in a thousand words was an interesting challenge. It gave me a lot to think about: “How did this happen? How did I end up doing this?” The post for v i s t a was a really useful exercise for me, and I hope it’s interesting and useful for lots of other people who might read it too. Do drop me an email if you have any follow-up questions!

It reminded me of a quote I’ve shared on the blog before: “The man on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

If you’re coming to the end of your PhD, take a moment to look back.

Figure out how you got to where you are now. It didn’t happen by chance.

You’ve only got where you are by being good at what you do. You can keep doing that in the viva.