This week I am faced with a new challenge within the academic study of criminology and security studies. I am having a preliminary interview with the objective of starting a PhD.
I remember being petrified when I first started my undergraduate studies. The questions arose: will I cope? Am I clever enough? What if my work is rubbish? But I worked through two undergraduate degrees and gradually these questions slipped into the background.
Then came the application to do a Master’s at the University of Leicester. The same questions repeated themselves. Plus those regarding: the higher levels of library use; the increased depth of the assignment questions; the longer assignments and the independent research project leading to the dissertation.
All throughout my academic life I have questioned myself as to whether I had the capabilities to do this. When beginning my undergraduate studies, I held in awe those at the top of the academic tree – and still do. I never dreamed that I would be tempted to try and join their ranks. And yet here I am. The same questions arise again. But this time, because the independence of the work and of the research is central to the project, I’m now concerned about my capability to conduct a complete research project with no assignment questions, no timetable and no framework – other than the one which I shall design. Will I complete it? Will I succeed? I don’t know the answers to these questions. All I do have at the moment is an aspiration and a passionate desire to try and climb to the highest levels of the academic criminology tree.