Guest Post: Wasn’t ready for the real world

Dr Mona Al Ali is a dear friend and colleague. We graduated together in January and she was kind enough to offer to do a blog post about her experiences since finishing.

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While doing my PhD I was so much focused on finishing it that I totally got lost and forgot that there is a real world that I would need to live in after finishing. I already finished my PhD a few months ago; however, I am still lost and not sure where to be or what to do.

I was one of the few lucky PhD students who took a study leave from work. So I always knew that I’d have a secure job and I would not need to suffer trying to find a job or do a volunteer job till I could get a real job. However, after four years of studying I am not sure if I want to stay in the same job I left four years ago.

There is a period of uncertainty or a transformation period after the PhD. I hope it will not take more than a year, as there is a lot to accomplish especially where I come from. Living in United Arab Emirates is not easily. There is a huge pressure that you need to accomplish and do a lot. I had an interview a few months ago and they asked me if studying a PhD is my biggest accomplished. I was happy to say yes it was and I hope I can achieve more. Then I told them about my achievement of losing weight; as when I started PhD I was 103 Kg and now I am 70 Kg. They were so much more interested in hearing the story of me losing weight than my own research.

After finishing the PhD there is a lot of questions that would come to the person’s mind. One question would be, where next? Another question would be (if you are single), will it be difficult to find the right person now? Also, what do I really want now? All these questions will come at the same time and it might make you mentally exhausted thinking about them. However, you need to prioritize things and eliminate things that you do not have a hand in. You need to make an effort to reach the goals you want. Having a positive attitude is good, as it will attract positive energy and good things to you. Being negative will never help in any way. It will only make you stressed and will attract negative things.

I now know that the PhD is not a finish line. It is a beginning line for life and there are lot of things waiting for me. Having a support group and keeping in touch with the supervisor makes me feel safe and supported and I know I will find myself again.

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