Getting funding for a PhD and being a graduate student
Interview excerpt: Christine felt it was a privilege to have time to think about complicated problems without the immense time pressure of clinical medicine.
How did you find being a full time student? Did you enjoy that part of it?
Yes, it was a big change from clinical work. At that time I’d been doing clinical medicine for about five years and I was used to being rushed and having hardly any time for lunch. I would rush from problem to problem, trying to solve lots of different problems throughout the day, or carry out many different tasks. In contrast, I really enjoyed the flexibility of the academic working day.
My supervisor had said that it would be fine for me to come and go as I needed to, so my time wasn’t particularly restricted. It was very good to be able to work when I felt at my most alert and had a lot of energy, because I wasn’t as physically stretched as I would be in a typical clinical working day. Also, because in this department we have the eye hospital downstairs and the lab upstairs, it was quite strange to see the clinicians rushing around but instead have the flexibility of being a scientist and researcher.
It was the first time I’d ever stood back from clinical work since I’d started it and I realised what a privilege it was to be able to take time to think about complicated problems and focus on them without feeling immense time pressure.