I’m sure that a lot of you have followed my PhD journey for the past two years. I started my blog in my third year as a postgraduate researcher, which I guess gave me a little extra freedom to make Inthefrow what it is today. Jumping into a three year PhD wasn’t an option that I had ever considered, until the day I heard about the opportunity and was invited along to a meeting. At the time, I was coming to the end of my degree and beginning to panic about what future I was going to take. My gut was telling me to head over to London and start a career in fashion marketing, but finding a career in the thing you love isn’t always that straight forward.
My Supervisor was Dr Helen McCormick, one of the most wonderful ladies I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I know for a fact that I would not have passed this PhD if it was not for her fantastic support throughout. Facing a PhD is much easier when you have a great support network around you, not only from family and friends, but from PhD colleagues and those supervising your journey. I was one of the very lucky ones.
I was accepted to start the PhD in September 2010, after completing my degree in Design Management for Fashion Retailing, now known as Fashion Marketing, at the University of Manchester. It was a brilliant three years and some of the most exciting years of my life. Learning, of course, but also parties, new friends, new boyfriends, new experiences. A University lifestyle that I would recommend everyone needs to at least think about gaining, if not just for the life experience. I met my greatest friends through my University years, as well as my wonderful partner. I learned so much, and participated in so much, I wouldn’t change it, even if someone offered me my whole student loan back in full.
Throughout my PhD writing days, I was sat in a room with three others. Three other ladies that would go on to become some of the most important and supportive people in my life for those years. We titled ourselves the PhD Massive, as we formed our own supportive crew, who went for wine on Fridays to forget the stressful week before. Helen, Rebecca and Rachel, again some of the most talented, creative and intellectual ladies I’ve ever met and again the whole journey wouldn’t have been the same if they were not there with me.
There were tears at times of difficulties, cheers at stages of breakthrough and toasts to each year passing. Until finally I was in my third year, coming up to the stage of handing in my 100,000 word thesis that resembles War and Peace and was probably just as unappealing to read. Yet, I handed in a slightly reduced version, and hoped for the best. I had researched the implications of mobile commerce app design, looking at how fashion apps were designed for their consumers and how they could improve and implement changes in order to encourage particular consumer behaviours, emotions and cognitions. I.e. I wanted to find a way that retailers could encourage their customers to purchase more, just via the design of their mobile application. It was a study I thoroughly enjoyed, spending hours interviewing my friends and colleagues until I understood how the alternative design features were affecting their feelings and behaviours. It all got written into eleven chapters, nearly 100,000 words, over 400 pages and with an appendices of twice that size. It took me three years of working hard every weekday, generally 9-5, and always having new ideas on my mind. Whilst I had never dreamed of continuing with academia, writing a thesis or even publishing the two journal papers that I did, it was a rollercoaster ride that I am so glad I jumped onto.
And here I was, 4 years later, after completing six months of corrections, graduating for the second time in the beautiful Whitworth Hall. My colours were the same, but my mortarboard was swapped for a tudor bonnet and this time I was collecting my Doctorate certificate. Doctor of Philosophy in the department of Textiles at the University of Manchester, and from now onwards, I will forever be known as Dr Magrath. I could not be more proud. Possibly not quite as proud as my mum though.
Thank you for being there along this journey with me.