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Postgraduate Study in Australia

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy, Benjamin Whitburn and Inger Mewburn

Each contributor to this book was given the remit: "If you could go back in time to talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give?" Hindsight is such a bonus, especially, when vying for your doctorate or postgraduate degree. Postgraduate Study in Australia: Surviving and Succeeding addresses this with advice from postgraduate students and recent graduates that will assure that you are not alone in your endeavors.

This project follows similar editions that focus on Aotearoa/New Zealand, South Africa,
the United States, and the United Kingdom, and is currently being replicated in Scandinavia. This down-to-earth anthology shares personal stories from postgraduate students and recent graduates, employing a practical approach and focusing on the context of postgraduate studies in Australia. This first-person approach to research about postgraduate study helps curate the current understanding, with critical reflections adding to our collective knowledge. Both prospective and current postgraduate students will find this collection insightful.

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Chapter Eight: From Wagyu Steak to 2-Minute Noodles: Surviving the Financial Downturn of a PhD (Peiyi Wang)


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From Wagyu Steak TO 2-Minute Noodles

Surviving the Financial Downturn of a PhD



Pursuing a PhD can be a life-changing voyage. It can alter the route of your career, your relationships with others, your lifestyle, and most likely, your financial situation. However, the world does not stop revolving just because you have decided to embark on a research journey. Anything can still happen, for better or worse. For instance, an unplanned pregnancy, the departure of a loved one, a business gone into liquidation, a family home that has been struck by a storm overnight, to name a few. As dramatic as it may sound, these are unfortunately all real-life events, experienced by real doctoral candidates, who have real bills to pay.

Yet, boarding the “PhD Titanic” makes colliding with the income iceberg an inevitable fate. Whether you are a successful corporate executive returning to study, or coming from a wishy-washy Peter-Pan generation diving headfirst into the sea of Academia, your savings will likely to plummet at a rapid speed. Moreover, if shopping is your religion, then you can expect to go down even faster and more furious than others on the same boat.

As such, how effectively you manage your personal finances emerges to be a vital deal-maker (or breaker) in surviving the financial shipwreck of a PhD. Understanding your spending patterns and how you can...

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