🎓 Finding Your Feet in Your Field

I’m now in my 7th year of studying with Plymouth University and closely approaching the end of my PhD journey; phew!

My PhD is an interdisciplinary work, sitting between marine engineering and marine biology, which has often led me to feel like a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. I wanted to write a little about my experiences moving though different levels of study at university and finding confidence in your own work and future.

I have recently been involved in some outreach work taking part in careers talks for school students looking to study engineering here in Plymouth, and a common question/worry that comes up is how to know what to do to set yourself up for the future. I think most of us have felt like this at some point, but I feel lucky that things have slotted into place for me as I go along. I strongly believe that you should invest time in things that you enjoy; if you’re doing that, you are much more likely to succeed.

 
  ‘Scenes like this on Plymouth Hoe keep you going through the harder times of studying’

‘Scenes like this on Plymouth Hoe keep you going through the harder times of studying’

 

When choosing my undergraduate degree I knew I wanted to study something environmental based that captured my fascination with the sea, and so I chose BSc (hons) Ocean Science. It was a relatively stress free choice for me as I put faith in my decisions and went with my heart. This was the first step for me in narrowing down to my, now, very precise field of work.

Like others, I was caught up a little in the graduation panic of what I would do next. It took some research to find exactly what I wanted, and hard work to make it happen, but I knew I wanted to pursue work in the field of ocean renewable energy and so I embarked on an MRes degree in Marine Renewable Energy. From here on in my master’s research project followed smoothly on to my PhD project, researching the effect of biofouling for wave energy devices.

 
  ‘A pee  k at some of my PhD work, here are scaled heaving wave energy devices with kelp models’

‘A peek at some of my PhD work, here are scaled heaving wave energy devices with kelp models’

 

I have found myself where I am today by pure chance and I never would have predicted I would be studying for a PhD, but I have learnt to ‘go-with-the-flow’ and trust in my own decisions. There have been bumps along the way during all levels of study, but on the whole it has been a positive experience that I would not change.

I am now in the final throes of PhD study and looking to the future, preparing for job applications and interviews. I am attending a workshop soon on this and look forward to writing a blog sharing my experiences and things that I have learnt with you. So watch this space!