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Heather - reasons for doing a PhD
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Name: Heather
PhD discipline: English Literature
Area(s) of work: Self-employed writer; dyslexia support tutor; tutor in creative writing
Year of graduation: 2002
Date of Interview: 07/05/2008

Now Playing: Heather - reasons for doing a PhD
Heather remembers her reasons for doing a PhD.

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Why did you decide to do a PhD?

Good question. I haven't thought about that for a while. I think because I wanted to do it. Simply as that. And I didn't know I wanted to do it until half way through my Masters which I knew I wanted to do towards the end of my undergraduate degree. I knew I wanted to continue with my academic work. I was enjoying it and felt I wasn't sort of finished with it. It felt very creative, very stimulating. It just felt right. But I didn't envisage doing a PhD during the Masters really until about half way through when things were going very well with the Masters. I was really enjoying it again and felt incredibly stimulated and thought that if I could get a place to do the PhD and if I could get funding I would do it. But at that stage I wasn't envisaging an academic career necessarily either. It wasn't something that I started out assuming I would do with the PhD. So I very much pursued it as a creative thing. It was a PhD in English Literature on – it started off being on three early 20th century writers and it essentially felt like a creative thing rather than an academic thing if you see what I mean. I think that I've always wanted to write creative, do creative writing, which is now what I'm doing and doing the PhD felt like part of a, what's the word?  Apprenticeship towards that process, so I never wanted to be a literary critic. I never wanted to do that but the PhD and studying literature in this very, what felt like a very privileged environment of a university where you get to really think about things and read incredibly widely, seemed to me a much better way of moving; now I'm looking back on it I think what I was doing was moving towards my creative writing through doing a PhD rather than as some people do – having a day job and then working on their creative writing at the weekends or whatever. So for me I did sort of toy with the idea of going into academic work and then perhaps doing creative writing on the side, but eventually I realised by the end of the thesis that I couldn't do both literary criticism and creative writing and I had to kind of choose. 

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