Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Hard Work Pays Off

I did it! I have handed in my PhD thesis! 

As I received these beautiful flowers for completing my PhD, I've been doing a lot of reflecting and wanted to share my experience with you; how I got here and what I've endured along the way. But first of all, how lovely are these flowers from Blossoming Gifts*? They are called 'Autumnal Glee' and are really brightening up my flat during these dark, rainy days right now. The red roses and berries make them feel very festive, especially when near fairy lights and candles. You can get 33% off any bunch of flowers from Blossoming Gifts (except the 'Flowers by Post' range) with the discount code: BGIFTS33. 

Anyway... I have now handed in my PhD and could not feel more relieved. I've worked incredibly hard to get to where I am and it's certainly not been an easy ride. However, my mum said something last week that really struck a cord with me. She told me that people will look at me and say how lucky I am to be a lecturer at a good university at the age of 27. She knows as well as I do that I haven't got here as a result of luck. Luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. Yet, how many times do you hear people say how lucky someone is to have a good job? A lot. People never stop to think about how much that person has had to put in to get there. And certainly in my case, it didn't happen over night but was a result of almost a decade of education and several jobs along the way. 

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 2009 after 3 years at university, juggling 2 bar jobs and being captain of the football team amongst various other roles. I enjoyed my time at uni and certainly had lots of fun, meeting some great friends and of course my lovely fiancé. I loved my degree subject (History, English and History of Art) but it did not help me get a career. Graduating was a shock to the system; suddenly having nothing to do and the slow realisation that a job would not simply be handed to me on a plate as I had a degree, a notion that had been instilled in me throughout school. It turned out that lots of people had degrees and that I wasn't particularly special. I churned out job application after job application only to get rejections or ignored completely. After a year of working as a sales assistant in retail (something that I had done from the age of 16 before I even got my GCSE results, never mind a degree) and being miserable, I decided to do a masters degree in a subject that was more career-focused. I did an MSc course in fashion retailing in order to help me get the job in fashion that I so craved. I worked 7 days a week for almost a year. I would work as a marketing assistant in an office 9-5 on Mondays and Wednesday's (a job that I'd got after doing an internship there and working for free for 3 months alongside my retail job), then in uni Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for lectures, then working as a sales assistant on the shop floor from 11-8 on Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday. My parents were supportive, letting me live at home for free during this time and my then-boyfriend, now fiancé, was amazingly patient, meeting me in my lunch breaks or during the evenings as I had virtually no free time. I kept telling myself it was only for a year and that it would be worth it, but it was almost impossibly hard.

It did pay off though, as I graduated with a distinction and got a job as a fashion buyer soon after. I did that for a year before then leaving to go back to uni to do a PhD in my mission to work towards a career in academia. During my PhD I did as much teaching as possible (4 modules a week) and really enjoyed it. Again, my hard work and enthusiasm, as well as my dedication and willingness to always go the extra mile paid off and I was offered the job as a full time lecturer in September. Doing a PhD is a full time job in itself and working alongside it meant getting up at 5am to start work immediately every day and not stopping until 9/10pm at night, with no lunch breaks or anything in between. Sometimes I felt like a machine operating on autopilot and I still don't know how to relax now! 

This brings me on to my next point. Now that you can see how hard I have worked, imagine how it makes me feel to hear people say that I'm lucky? I have encountered some very bitter and nasty people over the last couple of years, that take every opportunity to put me down and make snide remarks about me, both to my face and behind my back. I've heard things like I only got the job because I was the favourite. Or that it was a fluke that I won a prize for my research at a conference. As much as you tell yourself not to listen to these people, to ignore them as what they are saying is not true, it still hurts. Especially as some of these people are supposed to be friends. I'm very aware of the people that haven't bothered to mention the fact that I have now handed in my thesis, despite seeing me on a regular basis and always talking about their own work/life. They can't bring themselves to be happy for me, or anyone else that achieves anything. What do these people hope to achieve by being mean? Does it really make them feel better about themselves? There's a quote:

"Comparison is the thief of joy" 

I really believe that is true; constantly comparing your life to other people's is not going to make you happier. 

Personally, if other people around me achieve success, I am happy for them and make sure that I congratulate them and make them feel special as they usually deserve it. I've found that they are also the people that congratulate me when I do well. And the people that tend to be bitter and never congratulate other people, do not usually get the jobs that they want. Nor do they make good friends as they are only concerned about themselves. It's made me realise that people do not actually get anywhere by being nasty and jealous and that hard-working people, that are happy for other people when they achieve success, go much further in their careers. In my opinion, being hard-working and being nice are the two most important factors that enable you to achieve your goals. Just don't let the muggles get you down along the way. 

Here's to hard work and being nice! 
I hope that you also achieve your goals soon. 

Rosy x

( *) These flowers were sent to me as a gift. As always my opinion is my own and is completely honest. Please see my disclaimer for further details. 


  1. I can completely relate. You get where you are through hard work 99% of time. Maybe there are some lucky coincidences, but your effort and your sacrifices get you the job you have dreamed about. And all those people telling you you were lucky are just afraid to acknowledge that they could get themselves out there too, if they only were willing to put in the hard work. Bust most of them aren't.
    Congrats on handing in your thesis. Congrats on being consistent, patient and hard-working. You will know for the rest of your life how well deserved it was!

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  2. Congratulations lovely! I know exactly how hard you've worked to get to being able to hand in your thesis. I'm glad I was actually made redundant while completing my PhD because I fully intended to work full time and do my PhD and it would have been impossible at the end. It all went a little bit wrong for me towards the end because of supervisor problems and I ended up having to get extensions on my deadlines and at one point I was getting up in the morning, working solidly all day (and periodically bursting into tears!) and only really stopping to eat dinner and then going to bed late at night. It was hell and I'm not sure how I got through it without some kind of breakdown x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  3. Congratulations! You work so hard and totally deserve everything you have earned, do not let others make you feel guilty about being proud of what you have achieved!
    Zoe xx

  4. It is hard to ignore jealous people but you must. They will fall out of your life at some point anyway because they are going nowhere so don't let them spoil your much deserved celebrations and glory. Well done you have found the key to success but so many people don't want to make the sacrifices. The jealous ones know they could do it if they applied themselves but they dont. It's themselves they hate really not you, you just remind them of their own shortcomings.

  5. Congratulations! As an 18 year old, you're the kind of person I really look up to - somebody who has genuinely worked their backside off to get where they want to be and has reached their goals earlier than others would expect. No luck involved, you deserve all the credit! I love finding role models like this through blogging :)
    lily x


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