This site celebrates the process of science — from the perspective of young people in the midst of their postgraduate studies. It is one of the projects led by the South African Young Academy of Science, an organization with the twin aims of being the voice of young scientists, and to help bridge the gaps between science and society.
In early 2015, SAYAS launched a competition to find the best PhD bloggers in South Africa, and they were the stars writing on these pages last year. The success of these writers made us think of expanding the blog to also include Masters’ students, and therefore you will find that in 2016, we also have an MSc blogger in the mix.
The competition for 2016’s bloggers is over, and we are just getting our act in gear for this year. There will be brand new posts by fresh bloggers on this site, before the end of January.
In the meantime I have a bit more detail about this site below, or you can get straight into the past blogs by clicking on the links above.
If want to work with animals, do you have to become a vet? If you have a passion for education but would rather subject yourself to a thousand paper cuts than deal with children all day, what do you do? Do you want alternatives to lawyer, businessman, teacher, and medical doctor?
I have found that the common thread binding most people with PhD degrees is that they have unorthodox careers, jobs that few people understand or even know about. These people walk down a path that nobody charted for them when they were kids. We think we know what a medical doctor does each day, but what about a Doctor of Philosophy (the infamous PhD)? With TV as our primary source of information, who knows what an ecologist does between sunrise and sunset – are we all crocodile hunters? Is Sheldon Cooper an accurate portrayal of your average physicist? I come from an educated family, but I think my parents still don’t quite know how I manage to make money from chasing wild monkeys and foxes around…
This new blogging series chronicles the experiences of several postgraduate students in South Africa (four each year). The Masters’ and PhD experiences are exciting, exhausting, and mysterious; embark on it, and the journey will change you. In America and Europe, students blog to remain sane, and the PhD process has inspired comic strips, help-lines, anddespair. You can find information on PhD career prospects (or lack of it), and a hundred bloggers for every discipline. But what about South Africa?
How does the PhD/ Masters’ differ here, and what motivates our students to continue their studies when everyone pushes them to “Get a job”? How do South African students cope with this degree, when our young people are often first-generation students without the guidance of professorial parents? What are the career prospects if you have a degree past the Bachelors or Honours? Do we even need PhDs in this developing rainbow nation?
Follow some of the struggles and joys of postgraduate students in South Africa, and see what motivates them to continue. Come join in their passion, learn about the weird and wonderful doors that a PhD can open for you, and join in the conversation.