My life is about to change. The mixture of extreme excitement and nervousness about embarking on a PhD is something I haven’t experienced in a while. I am so excited to engage with a community of scholars and grow my skills needed to conduct ongoing research, efficiently produce publications, and engage in focused scholarship. I feel ready.

It took me what I feel like was a very long time to take this step in my career. I have been wanting this for years. It literally keeps me up at night. As many people advised me to do, I waited until my youngest child enters Kindergarten. He will be starting Kindergarten in September 2020 and I will begin my PhD at a top-notch school!

I am nervous because I am not sure how I will afford the costs of the PhD. Queen’s holds the promise of access to scholarships and funding, but it is hard to take a leap of faith and accept the offer before knowing if I can truly afford the costs. My husband and I are concerned about the financial implications of this adventure, but he says we will do what we have to.

In addition, I am signing up for unknown amounts of work that I want to become a major focus in my life. Work that I desperately want to do, but need to negotiate where the time is coming from. In the past few months, I have started getting up at 5 am, and that is where I am planning to allocate dedicated time to the PhD. The idea was to track the time and prove to myself that I could find 35 hours a week … well, it didn’t quite work out because I am working overtime. In the midst of a Pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty around – well everything. Still, I knew that I had to do this. There is never an ideal time to start a PhD (or make any life-altering decision). If necessary I will make adjustments as I go to find the time and graduate within four years.

I was so nervous I put a typo in the email: “I am pleased to inform you that I have accepted the offer to being PhD Studies in September 2020.” Not the best first impression. Hopefully, they will not judge me for that. I re-sent the email with the correct spelling.

Now I need to get back to work. I just needed to say something to someone about this now. I got the offer yesterday and could not sleep thinking about needing to accept it. After accepting I really felt like I had to tell someone. Now I need to get back to teaching … and look for funding soon. Once my marking is done.

Bitmoji looking very excited.
Screenshot of the application portal showing an offer was made!!
Categories: PhD


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit

1 Comment

Ruth Hickey · April 8, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Congratulations Laura – You’re an inspiration!

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