kadyna's timeline

Kadyna, an EU national, had attained BSc and Master’s degrees and was working part-time as a research assistant at a UK university when she began the part-time PhD program in 2010. Kadyna chose doctoral work in order to advance in the field and pursue intellectual interests. Kadyna joined this research project in 2011, having already completed transfer of status, data collection, and received ethical consent for her research. Upon finishing the PhD at age 37, Kadyna spent one year in a post-doctoral position before moving to an industrial organization, and hoped to start a family with her partner.

What struck us about Kadyna’s story was: 

Family planning and work-life balance.

Balancing full-time employment and doctoral work, conference presentations as enhancing sense of self as academic.  

Change in career interest from academia to industry due to stress of having to constantly look for funding, and desire to establish work-life balance. 

 

PhD

Year 2

PhD

Year 3

PhD

Year 4

PhD

Year 5

Post-PhD

 

Year 1

Post-PhD

 

Year 2

 

PhD

Year 2

Drew on support from her partner.

Spent time testing, amending, documenting a model she had been developing.

Hoped to lecture at non research- intensive European university.

Experienced anxiety about research results.

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Gave seminar in department, which was a “challenge” due to English language skills, but ultimately “got a good result”.

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Presented t international conference and felt liake academic when others were “interested and engaged” in her work.

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Had major surgery, which led to thoughts about her partner and starting a family.

Spent time tutoring undergraduates and associated teaching with academic work.

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PhD

Year 3

Drew on support from her partner.

Worked full-time on the PhD, specifically data analysis, simulations, and writing.

Hoped to lecture at non research- intensive European university, preferably in home country.

Continued to deal with after-effects of surgery, which made sitting at computer for long time periods difficult.

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Struggled with a 3-hour round trip commute to work, due to lack of affordable accommodation nearby.

Attended and presented at national and international conferences, which enhanced sense of self as academic.

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Noted problems with work-life balance

Conferences also provided information on new technologies for her work and helped with networking.

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Felt she improved her English skills but was still concerned about limited vocabulary.

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Hoped to finish PhD soon and return to research work, but also thinking about starting a family.

Wanted feedback from supervisor on a paper, but had to wait because he was busy; got valuable feedback from a colleague instead.

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PhD

Year 4

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Had one peer-reviewed paper accepted for publication.

Felt confident in ability to start own research group.

Stressed due to paper writing and goal of finishing PhD by end of the year: “time is never enough”.

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Hoped to get position at a university, possibly a fellowship after PhD, and eventually a lectureship in UK or in home country.

Noted poor work-life balance.

Began working on larger projects to get experience managing projects, and gave advice to others on managing projects.

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Concerned about English language skills, but tried to improve through reading in English.

Worked on thesis structure, and wanted more feedback from supervisor.

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Disappointed in lack of interaction with colleagues and academics online; academia as “hostile to knowledge sharing”.

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Hoped to have children, but unable at this time because of stress—perhaps in a couple of years.

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PhD

Year 5

Felt stressed by her limited English skills.

Worked on finishing thesis, constantly reading to make sure “thesis is up-to-date”.

Continued to hope for career in academia.

Leaned on partner for support and feedback on thesis.

Felt supervisor “[did] not pay enough attention to [her] work and his comments [had] become disruptive”.

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Submitted thesis; prepared for viva with supervisor’s help

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Prepared for an interview presentation.

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Traveled in Europe and spent time at home while waiting for viva results.

Defended thesis and happy that research was “interesting” but  disappointed that examiners did not recognize multidisciplinary approach.

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Completed minor corrections to thesis figures.

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 Post-PhD

 

Year 1 

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Applied for 20 jobs, and offered 2 (one academic and one non-academic).

Still wanted to be an academic, but stressed by the need to constantly find funding.

Because her post-doc was over 2 hours from home, she spent weekdays in hotels and weekends with partner.

Took the academic job (post-doc) at a UK university.

Considered finding work at home, but because her home country was not a good fit for women in her specialty, she hoped to get a lectureship nearer to her current home in the UK.

Believed academia provided work-life balance, which was important to her..

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Post-PhD

Year 2

Happy with work-life balance.

Left postdoc and began working in scientist position in international organization.

No plan to return to research.

Considering returning to home country due to Brexit.

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What struck us

Struggle with language.

Balancing doctoral work and employment.

Change in career interest from academia to industry.

Family planning and work-life balance.

Importance of conference presentations in advancing sense of self as scholar.

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Researcher Identity Development (2017). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License