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Caroline - the meaning of the PhD
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 - the meaning of the PhD
Caroline expresses what having a PhD means to her.

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And what does the PhD mean to you on a personal level?

I do think of it as the most satisfying course of study I've ever done. It's also the longest. Seven years plus viva plus revisions before graduation. I think I had to work harder for that than any other course of study because I was juggling family and teaching with the research so I think it was quite hard work but also so satisfying. It was such a wonderful journey of discovery and I can honestly say that the day when I graduated was the happiest day of my life. There was a sense of disbelief that I'd done it. I don't think I really believed until then that I actually was capable of doing it. But when you're there in the hall and Lord Carrington is there you know that it's real, you know this isn't something that you've just dreamt up but I think up until then I probably had in the back of my mind some sneaking suspicion that this was not really something that I was able to do.

Do you have any regrets about not pursuing an academic career ultimately?

I do have a little regret in the sense that I never did have five years in which to try lecturing in my specialist field cos I think that although perhaps I was a bit unconventional I did enjoy aspects of my teaching very much and I think it would have been fun to try that and see how I liked it and I do think that possibly if I'd been a bit more confident and had moved into full time research it would have meant that I would have completed the PhD in three to four years as opposed to seven to seven and a half so perhaps there would have been other opportunities. I would have been a few years younger by that stage.
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