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Caroline - expectations of where the PhD might lead
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Name: Caroline
PhD discipline: English Literature
Area(s) of work: University teaching; media; business (property management)
Year of graduation: 2001
Date of Interview: 24/06/2008

Now Playing: Caroline - expectations of where the PhD might lead
Caroline describes her expectations of life beyond the PhD and the personal transitions involved.

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When you embarked on your PhD did you have any expectations of where it might lead?

Erm, yes. I was hoping that it would lead to a lecturing position in my field, post colonial literature in English. That was probably about 50%. Or perhaps slightly less than 50% of my expectation. I think probably the slightly bigger half was that it would lead to a greater understanding of my own international, fairly peripatetic; I would say at that point I was probably fairly dissatisfied with my life. I did I think have a great sense of not belonging anywhere which troubled me and so I was hoping that my PhD would build on what my MA was doing which was helping me to make sense of the places I had lived and who this person was who'd emerged from that or who was emerging from this life. So I suppose it was partly a career hope but a slightly more important personal journey that I wanted help with from the PhD.

In terms of your career hopes, the PhD was important to you because you'd been working as a lecturer in your discipline

I had. Teaching undergraduates, teaching mostly literature, some education subjects, some broad communication subjects and in fact what was really exciting about my MA was that I was studying Pacific literature written in English by Pacific Island writers and here I was; many of my students were mature age, many of them older than me, Pacific Island professionals. They might be people who had served in parliament or teachers or ministers of religion or lawyers and other people who had different lines of work who wanted to gain a qualification, a degree or a certificate and so it was exciting for me to be studying Pacific literature with students who could tell me so much about the background to that literature but I was quite sure that we would not stay in the Pacific forever. For one thing it was increasingly dangerous and our daughter was at primary school at that stage. It was especially dangerous in that society for women and girls and so we knew that we would be heading back, if not to the UK certainly to a western culture somewhere and I thought that while it was enjoyable to be lecturing in that context, this was a temporary thing and I probably would need more qualifications to lecture in a western university and so I thought this is an opportunity to do further study and I will go for it.
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