### Grant McDermott

Economics.
Environment.
Data science.

So, my PhD programme began today. We're starting with a preparatory maths and statistics course, before getting into the core modules $$-$$ micro, macro, 'metrics and (scientific) methods $$-$$ during the year. Well, those plus a couple of electives that I'm interested in taking, but won't mention here because they don't begin with the letter "m". Alliteration uber alles!
Anyway, after umming and ahhing for a while about the whole PhD palaver, I'm pretty happy with my decision to go this route. At this (very) early stage, I'm not particularly set on a career in academia afterwards $$-$$ though I certainly like having the option $$-$$ but rather feel the additional qualifications will stand me in good stead for my general career ambitions. Plus, I've been lucky enough with my research scholarship that my earnings won't really suffer in the interim :)
As a general comment, I believe that time away from studies and working in the professional sector certainly helped sharpen my focus coming into postgraduate studies $$-$$ as did my travelling stint. I know that some people happily go all the way through from a Bachelor's to a Doctorate, but I'm very pleased to have had those experiences outside of academics in retrospect. FWIW, I'd recommend a similar approach if anyone is seeking advice towards that end. Your perspectives are broader at the same time as your true interests are clearer. And, although the charge is often made unfairly, you're also far less likely to suffer from ivory-tower syndrome, which is the Achilles Heel of many university residents.