The Top 10 Most Awkward PhD Moments

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The PhD journey is an interesting one, and there are more than a few awkward moments that occur as we march down the road to that tantalizing PhD. If you think you have had some bad moments, the following list may help you see you are not alone.

10 – What Year are you?

You respond to this age-old question with a pithy “second year,” even though you know this implies that you are an undergraduate. Hey, maybe you started getting your education later in life!

9 – Typos Everywhere!

Ever start typing, only to go back and fix a typo, only to figure out that it was not a typo to begin with? Yes, this happens – often. So much so in fact, that you eventually come to hate those squiggly little lines.

8 – Forget that PhD

You are attending your first party in, well, forever just as a stress reliever. Suddenly, the stress returns when another attendee wants to know about what your research. Is there a law that says you always have to think about your schooling?

7 – You Seem a Tad Old

You are forced to show your student ID as proof that you really are a student, and not some weirdo hanging around at the city centre. Everyone loses hair when stressed out, right?

6 – What do You do?

Only a small child can make you forget how to explain exactly what it is you do, and it is usually small children that ask this appalling question. Good luck with that answer.

5 – The Walking Dictionary

Whenever someone drops a “big” word, everyone expects you to know exactly what it means – you have been in school forever after all, and all that studying must mean you know every word in the dictionary.

4 – You Live at the Library

Whenever someone calls you, they quickly let you know that you don’t have to actually speak since you have to be quiet in the library. Sure, you aren’t always in the library, but you certainly spend an inordinate amount of time there.

3 – Future Plans

Whenever there is a family gathering, someone always asks what your plans are for after graduation – and you really don’t have an answer. After all, your mind is currently focused on actually making it to graduation, isn’t that enough for now?

2 – The End is Near

That special moment when you must respond to questions concerning your future wedding plans – even though they do not exist. Who has time to date with all that studying to do?

1 – You’re Still in School?!

There will always be someone, somewhere that you went to school with, and their shock, disdain, and pity will always shine through when they figure out you are still in school. Sure you could explain, but why bother.

These are just a few of the interesting exchanges and awkward moments that those living the PhD life must endure. It may seem bad now, but hang in there – there are plenty of others who have gone through the same moments on their journey as well.

Written By



Brandon has been working with PhD and Master’s candidates for their thesis and dissertation since 2007. He is a sports enthusiast and has completed his PhD in 2009. He works closely with students and candidates for consulting on academic documents.

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