Last week, I followed a discussion on the sacrifices people make for gaining a PhD. I was shocked. I did not share their feelings as for me it was such a dream to pursue a PhD that I do not feel like I am sacrificing everything. Another person who had similar feelings her/his comments were used as he/she was blaming others for sharing their sacrifices. I did see it differently.

I think this is a matter of perception and maybe your values? Some time ago you have made the decision to pursue a PhD. If in doing so you follow intrinsically motivated values, such as stimulation or curiosity, you might not feel strongly in making sacrifices. Others might be pushed by others (e.g. power of parents or profs) or pulled by extrinsically motivated values (e.g. achievement). Of course, these are valid values, but they are anxiety based. These might give you a feeling of making sacrifices all the time.

My advice is not to focus too much on this anxiety and negativity for the sake of your well-being. Change your perception. Focus on what motivates you to get the title? For what internal reason will you make it to the end? Are you curious about your topic? Are you open to change yourself or the world? Do you want to help others (your target group or your audience) with the knowledge you gain? Focus on growth!

Schwartz values definitions

My motivation to do this research comes from deep within. I had a frustrating experience in the past that made me ambitious to help other junior designers for example in education or with tools. Already I achieved these goals with my research and I have more ideas to follow up. Of course, I had a moment of doubt about sacrificing too much, but my reflection on it gave me the strength to continue.




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