| September 9, 2016

Sara Frampton, College Professor, Cambrian College

Sara Frampton, College Professor, Cambrian College

BY: as told by Sara Frampton / as written by Catherine Nygren

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For my dissertation, I researched Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and twentieth-century American literature. I received a scholarship and stipend for four years, but when the financial support ended after the fourth year, I had to seek other options, which included moving back to my hometown and living with my parents for a time.

Although my supervisor wasn’t an expert on Frankenstein, her comments and assistance with the dissertation were invaluable, and she was an important mentor. The graduate chair was also an important figure who helped me navigate my difficulties with staying in the program and encouraged me to continue. During coursework, there was a sense of community among the cohort and MA students, but after coursework, the friendships I had fostered were diminished as the work became more individual; it was a community of people who are thrown together quickly and then pulled apart quickly—people often move or drop out.

I completed my degree in seven years. Finances were tight, and changing my comps topic and resubmitting my first thesis draft caused delays. Although I considered withdrawing from the program after my first thesis rejection, the intensive work leading to my second, successful submission was important in terms of building my work ethic and the skills that I use in my current job.

After completing my comps, I knew that I didn’t want to pursue an academic lifestyle. The pressure to publish is too much, and I wanted to have more time for other things in my life. Since graduating I’ve had a full-time position at Cambrian College (a college of applied arts and technology), and I teach occasionally at Laurentian University. The PhD wasn’t a requirement for my current position, but my training is evident in my work ethic, standards and competence; having the degree will never do you a disservice. I’m happy with my choice to work in a college rather than attempt to find an academic job, but I still miss the discussions and engagement that I found with other academics. At the same time, although I’m happy that I completed the PhD and do not regret my choice, I don’t recommend doing the PhD to others. The idea of doing a PhD is often romanticized, and I was particularly surprised by the amount of work, the dedication and the sacrifice involved in acquiring a doctorate. That being said, I’m very happy I completed it because that work, dedication and sacrifice did benefit me greatly.

 


 

POLL: Internal funding

For my dissertation, I researched Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and twentieth-century American literature. I received a scholarship and stipend for four years, but when the financial support ended after the fourth year, I had to seek other options, which included moving back to my hometown and living with my parents for a time.

Although my supervisor wasn’t an expert on Frankenstein, her comments and assistance with the dissertation were invaluable, and she was an important mentor. The graduate chair was also an important figure who helped me navigate my difficulties with staying in the program and encouraged me to continue. During coursework, there was a sense of community among the cohort and MA students, but after coursework, the friendships I had fostered were diminished as the work became more individual; it was a community of people who are thrown together quickly and then pulled apart quickly—people often move or drop out.

I completed my degree in seven years. Finances were tight, and changing my comps topic and resubmitting my first thesis draft caused delays. Although I considered withdrawing from the program after my first thesis rejection, the intensive work leading to my second, successful submission was important in terms of building my work ethic and the skills that I use in my current job.

After completing my comps, I knew that I didn’t want to pursue an academic lifestyle. The pressure to publish is too much, and I wanted to have more time for other things in my life. Since graduating I’ve had a full-time position at Cambrian College (a college of applied arts and technology), and I teach occasionally at Laurentian University. The PhD wasn’t a requirement for my current position, but my training is evident in my work ethic, standards and competence; having the degree will never do you a disservice. I’m happy with my choice to work in a college rather than attempt to find an academic job, but I still miss the discussions and engagement that I found with other academics. At the same time, although I’m happy that I completed the PhD and do not regret my choice, I don’t recommend doing the PhD to others. The idea of doing a PhD is often romanticized, and I was particularly surprised by the amount of work, the dedication and the sacrifice involved in acquiring a doctorate. That being said, I’m very happy I completed it because that work, dedication and sacrifice did benefit me greatly.

 


 

POLL: Internal funding

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