By a PhD student

The first year of this PhD is coming to an end I am not even sure what PhD stands for (pretty hard degree). I am sure I have spent (most of) my days doing something, but what do I have to show for it? A title to a project that makes people ask questions that I have no idea how to answer.


We all came from honours or similar degree where our hands were held and we were walked through how to do everything. Finally, you became an expert on your (tiny) subject. That year, you achieved so much, in only ten months!

Now comes the PhD (prolonged happiness depleter) and ten months have flown by and all I can tell you is what not to do if you’re trying to grow crystals. We have blundered our way through these first months, feeling guilty for achieving very little, very slowly, and looking out longing for a hand to hold.

But I believe we are learning, if very slowly, and better yet, teaching ourselves how to learn. I know we know a lot less than many of the people that work here, but you have to realise (in some cases), they have been studying geology for longer than you have existed. You may get lost in a conversation or not know what that acronym stands for but if you ask a question then you will know! It’s that simple.

This year, a lot of us started a PhD (pondering hopelessly deep) and we’ve been learning from each other’s mistakes. It’s a bit of blind leading the blind, but at least once someone falls down a hole they let the rest of us know to avoid it! We will get through this; get more efficient, more knowledgeable, more confident and become a real researcher.

By the end of these 3-4 years we will once again be experts on our tiny aspect of geology, graduate, get to call ourselves doctor and realise….