Doctoral Student and Working Full-Time

Julkaistu 27.11.2019.

I was admitted to the Doctoral Programme in Technical Sciences at the University of Vaasa in January. After finishing my Master’s degree at the University of Vaasa several years ago, I began thinking about the possibility of continuing the studies based on my Master’s thesis. The timing for doctoral studies didn’t feel right until last year when I decided to apply and was very lucky to be accepted.

The subject of my Master’s thesis was how information systems help people with special needs (deaf, blind and physically impaired persons). My doctoral research is titled “How can information systems help persons with special needs to communicate?”.

I have always been interested in finding out how information systems and different assistive technologies can help people with special needs in their daily lives and with their communication and whether people can become marginalised if they do not have information systems at their assistance.

I have been focusing on general studies for the first year of my doctoral studies. These courses have been very interesting and also made me understand the variety of different things that I need to take into consideration during my research work. During this year, I have participated in some Master’s degree courses in Information Technology, just to familiarize myself with studying and on how to build a solid ground for my doctoral research.

Although the courses and studies are interesting and I enjoy studying, it has sometimes been challenging to plan my schedule so that I can participate in mandatory lectures. The reason for this is that I work full-time outside the University. In order to be able to simultaneously work and study full-time, I also need to plan my workdays so that I can get all the work done in the best and most efficient way during the day, therefore enabling me to focus on my studies during the evenings and on weekends. I am very lucky because my superior at the office has been very flexible and understanding, which means that I have been able to attend lectures during the day.

Doctoral studies are very independent studies, meaning that I have to plan and work independently. I have to be realistic when planning my schedule. My studies cannot progress in the same timetable as they would for a full-time student. It is very time-consuming to search for articles, read and write articles, and to write all the assignments.

I need to have realistic expectations concerning my study schedule; it will take more time for me to get my research done than it would if I was able to research my subject full-time. Even if I will not have a lot of spare time during my studies, I am very motivated to begin research on my subject.

Katarina Norrgård
Doctoral Student
School of Technology and Innovations




Thank you for sharing

Kirjoittanut Joonas Widlund 28.11.2019 10:09:00

Thank you for sharing these thoughts on your research project. Sounds like you have a very interesting and meaningful subject for your dissertation. I also find the patient and realistic outlook on the research process you describe to be commendable. Realizing and accepting how much time you are able to dedicate to your research in a week or a month helps in maintaining a sensible schedule and staying motivated. The best of luck on your dissertation project!

Your study may make independent life possible

Kirjoittanut Saija Alanko 29.11.2019 13:42:12

Your dissertation topic is interesting and very useful. Additionally for blind, deaf and physically impared people, there are more and more elderly people in our society, who would possibly need the implementation (may be some equipments) of the development of information system. That could help elderly people live more independent life even longer. It would have been interesting to read, what kind of ideas you already have to help people to communicate. Have an inspiring journey with your dissertation!

Writing a dissertation Is like climbing a mountain

Kirjoittanut Milva Finnegan 04.12.2019 18:29:20

Writing a dissertation is like climbing a mountain...

Working part-time myself while pursuing my PhD went fairly well. First few years taking classes and doing research I found balance by focusing on scheduling my time and trying to be realistic with the time commitment. However, once I started writing my dissertation I had to take a sabbatical from my work because the task consumed my brain. Writing a dissertation is hard, really hard!! I share my journey with you and others who have started their PhD studies, not to scare you, but to prepare you. You can climb the mountain as long as you are realistic with your expected time frame. Once you start climbing the final peak you need grit and complete focus. Good luck and never give up on your dream!


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Päivitetty 27.11.2019 - Verkkotoimitus