Friday, September 20, 2013


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Here are some of the things I have learnt about PhDs.

The Pros (e.g. becoming 'Dr. Uche')
One pro is the thought of the writing, both fiction and research, that I will be made to do on a PhD. The idea of teaching writing at some point in the future is also, for me, an incentive for considering a creative writing PhD. Having the word ‘doctor’ attached to my name definitely isn’t. But we know how most Nigerians love our titles: Doctor This, Engineer That, Architect Some-Or-Other. So it came as no surprise when someone seriously asked me, ‘Don’t you want to become Dr. Uche?’

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The Seven Cons
1. (At least) three years of your life spent
2. Loads of money spent (less if you have funding)
3. The isolation, and the struggle to have or maintain a social life
4. Limited career options outside of academia
5. The rip-out-your-hair kind of competition within academia
6. Academia
7. The realization that no one cares as much about your research as you do

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The Eighth Con
Having now concluded the coursework for our master’s degrees, a friend and I were discussing PhDs. It was at this time that I uncovered The Eighth Con. According to her:

A PhD will make it hard(er) to ‘find husband’.

As you might have noticed, The Eighth Con only applies to womenfolk (particularly Nigerian womenfolk). This I had never considered. Apparently, as a woman, your PhD is proof to any self-respecting Nigerian man that you have ‘opened eye’ too much. Your excessive education has made you too exposed for your own good. Hence, if he marries you and brings you into his house, you will promptly attempt to usurp his trousers and authority.

Now, before this conversation my eyes had not been opened to The Eighth Con. Blind and unaware, all I could think of when I had bothered to consider a PhD was:

1. Money/funding
2. Will I enjoy doing a PhD (considering the seven cons)?

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3. How will a PhD benefit me?
4. What do I care enough about, in writing and other related areas, to spend three years of my life researching?

But I was being silly then. Don’t judge me; we grow and learn every day. I have learnt. 

To prove to my future husband that I am not overly exposed, spoiled by too much book, I will henceforth refrain from pursuing any further learning, PhD or otherwise. And if I find that he has no degrees, I will keep mine to myself. I will burn my certificates and rid myself of any proof of an education beyond his. Furthermore, I shall strive to use words that possess no more than three syllables in all conversations with him, be they written or spoken. I shall also find out what his ambitions are, and ensure that mine never outgrow or outshine his. This way, he will know that I am the finest of all the wife materials available on the market. He will sleep soundly, knowing that his trousers and authority will be forever safe.