PhD's timeline

PhD, in his early thirties, completed his PhD in 2006 in Canada, and was in a pre-tenure position at a North American university when he joined this study in 2010. PhD had completed two post-doc contracts in two different universities before joining the study. He his partner worked as a researcher in his lab, and helped him to work towards a good work-life balance, a constant struggle. He was granted tenure during his seventh year after graduating, and looked forward to his first sabbatical.

What struck us about PhD’s story was: 

Marriage, commitment to exercise and trying to maintain a work-life balance. 

Issues acquiring grant funding, commitment to teaching & supervision, Promising Young Scientist Award. 

Academic career goals and receiving tenure. 

 

Post-PhD

 

Year 4

Post-PhD

 

Year 5

Post-PhD

 

Year 6

Post-PhD

Year 7

 

Post-PhD

Year 4

Spent time with partner, who was also an academic; tried to attend conferences together and find conferences near family.

Taught courses, and enjoyed seeing students make progress; would like more time for teaching.

Hoped for career in academia.

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Worked on a scholar award application and asked colleagues for feedback; the significant amount of changes did not make him feel like academic.

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Went hiking and in-line skating; liked to stay active.

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Grant was rejected, which was “frustrating” because it implies one’s work “isn’t important enough”.

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 Post-PhD

 

Year 5 

Continued to participate in physical activities for leisure.

Worked on a manuscript and RA helped with revisions; felt like an academic because he realized he’d become more proficient at addressing reviewer comments.

Continued to aim for academic career—tenured position.

Got engaged to partner and planned to marry the following summer.

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Completed a grant application; grant writing made him reflect on whether he’d “done enough” and if “ideas are well thought out”.

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Worked with undergraduate and graduate students in research group, as well as with research assistant.

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Acted as faculty mentor for 1st year undergrads.

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Continued to work on grants and a new investigator award. Received feedback from a mentor and help from an RA.

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Awarded promising young scientist award, which represented “vote of confidence” and “really rewarding”.

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 Post-PhD

 

Year 6 

Married partner, which was a “big deal” though they’d been together for years.

Published “big” paper after recovering work by PhD student who had quit; reviewer said it was “most fantastic revision they have ever seen”; important because “everything that could go wrong for a study went wrong, but we didn’t quit”.

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Partner continued to work in two labs in Department (one PhD’s, thus intimately involved in his academic life.

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Received positive initial feedback on tenure profile.

Prepared tenure application; hoped to get a few more publications out in time to put them on cv.

Struggled with work life balance; planned to work from home on Fridays to alleviate stress and avoid interruptions.

Met with graduate students and wished he had more time to spend to them.

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Looked forward to sabbatical, time to  travel, relax.

Felt that teaching helped with grant writing, students are “non-experts” and have to communicate “big impact statements”.

Started planning sabbatical (14 months away).

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Received  VP Research bridge funding, which was “vote of confidence”.

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Nominated for a teaching award in the Faculty, and felt like his commitment to teaching was “acknowledged”.

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 Post-PhD

 

Year 7 

Continued to struggle to maintain work life balance; “i would argue that my academic work influences everything else…I wish I had the time to let other features of my life influence my academic work.”.

Received tenure.

Received tenure: “a weight off my shoulders”.

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In next five years hoped to have established collaborations and more senior-level people in the lab.

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One grant renewed but funding cut; waiting to hear back on two more grants.

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Reflected on relationship with partner in and out of the lab: “ over the years we have learned how to deal with each other in the academic world versus the non-academic”.

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Completed research grant for sabbatical that will begin the following fall.

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Continued to seek more grant funding and received feedback from colleagues; felt his faculty was “trying to support me as a researcher”.

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What struck us

Marriage, exercise, and trying to maintain work life balance.

Issues with acquiring grant funding; commitment to teaching & supervision; Promising Young Scientist Award.

Academic career goals and receiving tenure.

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