There is a lot of advice about getting advanced degrees, particularly PhDs one of the big ones being
Don’t do it unless you don’t have to pay for it.
PhDs are expensive and time consuming. When I was accepted to my PhD, I was offered a funding package. It barely covers my rent, much less my tuition. My funding is also contingent on whether I am working or not. My health over the last year has been in shambles for a variety of reasons and my ability to work has been compromised. Oh, I’m accommodated but I receive my money in 3 separate payments. The 4 hours a week they pay me to work. Then a smaller amount to that used to be paid in the paycheck but isn’t anymore for some reason. Finally I get another few hundred dollars the following month in recognition of both my funding and the fact that my accommodations state that I am well enough to work 10 hours a week (which is the standard ideal average set by the university. I just need my tasks to be accessible. I never asked for less work.
This 3 payment system makes it difficult to impossible to survive on a budget that already also includes a student loan.
If I wasn’t a PhD student, I would be homeless or a “burden on the state” those are just realities that I have to live with. Being a PhD student keeps me fed.
My research is also going to require field work which will cost money. I will have to return to my hometown and acquire all of my old school and medical records.
I also have to consider whether I have access to research materials in an accessible format. The more books I can own in kindle format, the more organized my research will be. I am of course investing my own money in this endeavour but I am going to come up short.
I have decided to start asking the readers of my blog to consider supporting my PhD work in a number of ways. This decision has lead to a lot of backlash though largely not by the regular readers of my blog.
I am receiving criticism mainly from trolls on twitter but I am also getting shamed on reddit and it all comes down to this idea that if I ask for money that I must be some kind of entitled fraud.
For the record, I’ve thus far been given a whopping $90 which I spent on ebooks. The idea that the simple act of asking for help constitutes entitlement is interesting. If only Jordan Peterson’s fans were of the same opinion about him while he was making thousands a month on the site (until he was kicked off).
I currently make a whopping $45/month on patreon. There seems to be this false idea that the mere act of asking for money or other help immediately results in success is also frequently present.
So do I “deserve” to have my PhD crowdfunded? That’s up to other people to decide. I do know that my research has value and has already peaked the interest of a number of fellow academics (don’t worry fam, I know we’re all poor).
My blog stats are exploding today, mostly as a result of people enraged with the idea that I might be overly entitled for asking for things that I have no control over whether I receive them.
There is also just the issue of what online content counts as the kind that people can “legitimately” turn into businesses. My blog content is often activist in tone and many seem to think that politically active marginalized people can survive on nothing but air because they get very angry when we remind people we need to eat and pay rent. The idea that my activism isn’t work is always ironic particularly in September when my blog stats let me know just how many universities have courses that use my work.
This has never been about whether I deserve to have my PhD funded and everything to do with who is allowed to personally place value on their own work. I am not forcing people to give me money. There is no pay wall on this website.
Do I deserve to get paid for the work I do, yes. Are you personally required to put up the money, no.
Thank you for coming to my rant on work, ability, and worth
How to Support My Work
So now for the very in-depth appeal for support for mu PhD. Please read through this, there are so many ways to help, including just sharing this blog post on social media.
Kindle ebooks read on my iPad are the easiest way for me to read and take notes unfortunately Amazon does not allow people to buy ebooks for others through their wishlist system. I have an Amazon Wish list anyway as some of the books can only be purchased in print or from third party sellers because they are out of print. If you could buy me one of the books that can only be had in print, I would greatly appreciate it. If you want to help fund the ebooks I’ll need you can buy me a gift card and send it to the following email address
The email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I will not be answering queries about my research through this email. It is solely a way for people who want to support my work to be able to do so. (this is a safety boundary). If you want to talk to me, find me on Twitter.
My research and supporting myself will get past the reading phase and there will be field work in my future. If you would like to help me fund my PhD in the long term you can
support me on patreon
buy me a ko-fi
send me money via paypal
send an e money transfer to the email above (if you have scruples about third party sites)
I also have a generic disability wish list of things that would just improve my quality of life
Thank you for your ongoing support. and just an FYI I’m changing my name socially to Kimberley Jane Erin. You can call me Kim or Jane but I prefer Jane. I am however, not the least uncomfortable with Kim so don’t worry about messing up.
It’s time I really leaned into my identity as a scholar. I hope you’ll support me