A wall has been hit in the planned career path.
Due to the overall lack of postgrad jobs and exacerbated by the lack of funding available, the prospects of a happy postgrad life are beginning to look a little bleak.
Originally, my plan was to go straight into a Phd following my undergrad studies. Being a mature student I wanted to go head first, guns blazing into the industry. However, that is now looking less and less likely.
I have now applied for quite a few Phd studentships, ranging from advertised 4 year placements to emailing prospective supervisors whose work i am interested in. All these have come back with one of two replies:
1. “I am sorry, but we do not currently have any funding in place to be able to offer any positions”
Or 2. “Due to the high standard of applications this year…”
I have found that with the latter, my friends and myself tend to be up against other applicants who also have a masters, a load of work experience and a few publications under their belt. In short, people who a lowly undergrad cannot compete with.
Now of course, with that much experience they should get the position, but I cannot help but feel slightly disgruntled at the prospect of not being able to compete for ANY Phd studentship. However, a year or two ago, these high fliers probably felt exactly the same way.
So, I have resigned myself to doing a masters degree to be able to compete for positions at a higher level. Now it is not the extra year of study that has put my off till now, it is the shear amount of money that they cost. Now, unless a rich distant aunt is feeling particularly generous, not many people can afford the near £10,000 fees for a year plus living expenses. Funding for these courses is also inadequate, with some offering no funding, most offering sparse funding for a fraction of the amount of money needed and a very small number offering full funding for a small number of select students.
It feels like we have gone back in time, to when a career in science was the luxury of a select few who could afford to do so.
Now, with some very careful budgeting and a career development loan (Oh yay. More debt) I should be able to make the financial grade. I took the plunge by applying to The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine last December. The decision is expected by the end of this week…..
I ask for your luck academically and financially. And perhaps a cardboard box donation.