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Life Beyond the Ph.D and Celebrating Non-Academic Achievements with Jennifer Polk

In this episode of the Sienna and Slate podcast, Jennifer Polk discusses how to transition to life after the Ph.D., why it’s important to celebrate things you achieve outside of your studies or work, and how to find ways to bring more happiness into your life, even when you’re busy with your career.

Key Points:

  • Finding Safe Spaces: The conversation begins by highlighting the need for spaces where we can be ourselves and celebrate who we are as a whole person.
  • Beyond Academic Achievements: It challenges the tendency to solely celebrate academic accomplishments like publications. The speaker argues for acknowledging and celebrating personal victories like taking a day off or spending time with family.
  • Social Media and Human Connection: Social media’s potential for showcasing the human side of academics is discussed. Seeing professors share aspects of their personal lives (families, hobbies, etc.) can help humanize them and foster a sense of connection.
  • Integrating Joy into Work: The core message is about finding ways to incorporate joy and personal fulfillment into our work lives, regardless of whether those achievements end up on a CV.
  • The Importance of Non-Academic Skills: The speaker, a historian who transitioned to coaching, emphasizes the value of developing non-academic skills. These skills can become valuable tools throughout your career and if you are looking to venture into other industries outside of academia.

This episode is for you if you feel pressure to focus solely on achieving academic success or are interested in learning about navigating life beyond the Ph.D. It encourages us to embrace a more holistic approach to life and to see that there are opportunities outside of academia that we can celebrate and focus on. 

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