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Light in the darkness.

So, how's the PhD going?

The question you should never ask. That PhD was once a dream; then a vain and selfish exercise costing thousands of pounds a year. During my recent PRD[1], I realised that a PhD is irrelevant to my career. The demands of my day job remain (for the fifth consecutive year) in excess of the hours I am paid for and as a consequence progress has been erratic, at times glacial. Success in any large project requires resource, time and the maintenance of momentum. My work in education and the chaotic nature of strategic teacher workforce planning mitigates against sustaining that momentum and this led to stress and frustration.

With the arrival of an earlier than expected demand for another £2,000 in fees from the University, I must cut my losses, write off the thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours that I've sunk into this project, and withdraw, which I have done.

What next?

I can't help feeling shame and disappointment at the abject failure that dropping this PhD represents. For a while, I will be sad and embarrassed. There will be other projects: probably not PhD related, and almost certainly not social science. I may apply some of my other skills in coding, machine learning and modelling. I may even read for pleasure again or do a MOOC.

This site

This wiki space was set up to allow me to keep a searchable record of things, useful resources, and to help me to be organised as I studied for a PhD. There is no facility for readers of this site to interact with it beyond navigating, but if you really want to comment or ask me anything, please do so using the contact form over at my personal blog.

I plan on keeping my development diary here, which will serve as a record of CPD, reading or other study I engage with. This is useful for professional purposes (GTCS Professional Update and the registration requirements of the Science Council) and may be of use to others.

Nick (talk) 15:52, 18 May 2017 (UTC)


  1. Professional review and development meeting. An annual ritual of box-ticking to enable employers to evidence that they're interested in the development of their staff.