What’s it like to study a PhD in Education?

Written by Paige Voss and originally published on the Wise ASSC Blog.

This year’s research week is from the 9-13th of September. This is the perfect time to showcase the research within the La Trobe community. Research Week is all about providing opportunities to network, connect and build new collaborations.

To celebrate Research Week, we interviewed Education PhD student, Nhan Phan. She tells us all about what doing a PhD entails and shares her wisdom for aspiring PhD students. Nhan is finishing her PhD next year, completing a major research project on Sociolinguistics, focusing on language and society.

“My PhD focuses on the relations of public signs, which have languages and other multimodal resources, and how they relate to other social, political, economic issues.

Nhan’s research focus has not always been so straight forward, as her research findings have altered her topic many, many times.

When I come to write something that is interesting and new, it is worth doing some further exploration.

The research around different topics is always ongoing, so it effects my research a lot.”

She says there are a lot of important decisions to be made throughout the research process, such as revising and choosing a theoretical framework.

Nhan says the most challenging part of the research is her non-native English background. She says the nature of writing between Asian and Western cultures is very different, so it has taken her some time to adjust to this way of writing.

After moving to Australia from Vietnam in 2014, Nhan has enjoyed her time here at La Trobe much more than she expected.

Nhan with our Wise ASSC editor.

The most motivational part for me is my supervisors. Sometimes I feel lost, and without their unconditional help, encouragement , advice and support, I don’t think I could have survived.

She says the saddest part about finally completing her studies is having to think about leaving the La Trobe community, which has also been her home for so long.

The hardest part for me now, is thinking about leaving La Trobe, I have been here nearly 6 years and I love this community and the people here.

For anyone looking into completing a PhD, Nhan says that the key to enjoying and excelling in this to seek an expert supervisor. For her, this made all the difference while completing her research and gave her the guidance she needed through overcoming hurdles.

Next year, Nhan hopes to find a job as a teacher, but is open to anything that relates to her research.