When I began my studies at UA Little Rock, pursuing a PhD degree was not even on my radar. During the last year of my master’s studies, I joined Dr. Agarwal‘s team and started learning about malicious social bots and the dangers they pose to society. Believe it or not, I truly enjoyed exploring this area of research. Dr. Agarwal advised me to explore the PhD program. I spoke to my family about my decision to pursue a higher degree and they couldn’t be more proud. My mother said, “You will be the first PhD in our family and you have my full support. It is a huge commitment and I hope you are successful. Your father would have been very proud!”
By now, I am a second-year doctoral student who has published two papers. A common challenge that people might face during their studies is frustration. Sometimes, you may feel down when you don’t think you are progressing as quickly as you think you should. It is a long term commitment and there might be times when you may second guess your career choice. The key is to stay positive and work hard. Explore your options, choose one or two specific research interests and work your way up. Dr. Agarwal was always been there for me whenever I worried about not being productive. He would always advise me to use my time wisely and think about it as a learning experience. It helped me immensely!
COSMOS is one of the best teams I have been a part of. Everyone is highly focused, intelligent and extremely kind. I have collaborated with my team members on projects and other activities. No one is a slacker. We also get together outside of work and have lots of fun playing sports, working out, and having barbecues on holidays.
The PhD program is a path I chose to learn and sharpen my skills so that I am ready to face anything without fear after I graduate. Networking is part of it. When our research is accepted and presented at social media conferences, we are not only able to showcase our work, but also interact with renowned researchers and social scientists. These contacts will benefit us in the future. I think it is great to be able to find a field you really enjoy and be fortunate enough to pursue a career in it.
About our COSMOS student blogger:
After graduating with her master’s degree from UA Little Rock in December of 2017, Tuja decided to continue her education and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree.
Tuja began her education at UA Little Rock as an exchange student in the Fall of 2013 and became a full-time student a year later. She graduated in May of 2015.
Her research interests include social media data mining and bots.