The Tenacious Student: Non-academic to a PhD

Completing a PhD is a huge undertaking and not one that students should take on lightly. At the age of 45 I started my nine-year journey to gain the world’s first PhD in reflexology and pain management as a non-academic in a Science Faculty that did not have a dedicated department of Complementary Medicine.
There was extraordinarily little prior research in reflexology from which to draw evidence and I was faced with pulling out all the stops, mentally, emotionally, and physically to secure a science-based qualification at the highest level.
Don’t be fooled by the title this isn’t just a story of human achievement, but about the challenges of gaining a PhD as a non-academic against the backdrop of life in real terms, in a faculty that neither particularly wanted nor needed me – no holds barred.
This is an inspirational memoir written in a conversational style that includes texts about research, the science behind it and provides a biographical insight into my life at the time, whilst fighting battles of inadequacy, self-confidence, self-expression, trauma, devastation, and life-changing health issues.
It provides an insight that will help guide you and make clear how involved research in complementary and alternative medical practices can be.
As a PhD student you can expect to be overwhelmed but the process involved in this academic journey doesn’t prepare you for what you can expect in the longer term, nor how you can manage life alongside the path to one of the highest academic achievements available today.
Time, money, and commitment are just a few of the things you need to consider on a path that is often lonely, selfish, and incredibly bumpy.
Learning how to read the literature, critique and review it, managing academic writing, being your own motivator and inspiration are all part of the process. In a world of perfectionists, learning can make you vulnerable and can ultimately change the person you thought you were. Finding out what inspires you about your research and how you can use that to sustain and remain on your academic journey is all that provides focus, and in that you can find your strength and determination.
I found my strength, and in that also my power and commitment to achieve my goals and if I can do it, you can too.
In writing this book I hope to encourage you to think about research in reflexology, research in pain management or just simply research within your own field of study from an informed perspective.