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The Nordic PhD

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy and Jakob Rosenkrantz de Lasson

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding is an edited book written for prospective and current doctoral students by a mix of doctoral students and those who have recently completed their doctorates. The premise is simple: if you could go back in time and talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give? Isn’t hindsight a bonus? If only I knew then what I know now!

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding follows editions focused on study in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., U.S., and South Africa. What sets The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding apart from many others on the market is its down-to-earth and practical approach. Furthermore, its originality also lies in the fact that it is grounded in the context of doctoral studies in the Nordic countries.

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Chapter Ten: My Disability Does Not Define Me (Bethany Rogers)


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My Disability Does Not Define Me


Introduction: Setting the Bar Higher

Whether you are an international student considering a PhD program in the Nordic countries, or you are a Scandinavian considering further study, this chapter is written to help those with a disability (physical or mental, visible or invisible) navigate expectations and important relationships within the university. The advice here is based on my experience as well as those of several friends throughout the Nordic countries.

Everyone’s experience with disability is different. Like any struggle in life, it is a heaving torrent of ups and downs. It comes with its own emotional journey, from the choppy waters of misdiagnoses or bad medicine, to deep rivers of frustration and anger. As a PhD student, you will have to learn to navigate these waters like any Viking warrior and make it to Lindisfarne in time for the burning (also known as ‘when funding runs out’).

As a person with cerebral palsy, it’s a habit of mine to minimize my disability whenever possible, to the point where I have occasionally arranged to meet people sitting down so that their first impression of me isn’t clouded by the strangeness of my movement (I walk with a pronounced limp). If I could say one thing to many of the well-meaning people I meet who speak to me about my disability, it would be this:...

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