One question that irks most PhD scholars is the time their PhD would take to complete and it is the question that at the same time remains as the most unavoidable question because a PhD programme never comes with a time tag attached to it, unlike various other courses that we do prior to it. The moment you have been in the programme for few semesters, the question starts hovering above your head. How much time would it take? When would you finish? And these never ending questions come from sources that are never ending. Starting from your family to your colleagues, people in the university, bank, gym and everywhere want the answer to this particular question and ironically you would not have the answer to this question, most of the times.
Indeed, the reason that these questions are popped up at you are because everyone who asks you these questions in some or the other way is affected by your PhD. They may not be getting enough time from you or the attention they have been getting previously is missing or may be your completion is related to their success, like in the case of your supervisor. Whatever it be, with the uncertainty that is associated with the duration of your PhD programme and the nature of the programme being such that it gets stretched beyond your planned time span, you would fumble with the answer to this one.
The key to giving the correct answer is to this question is to show immense confidence even if you have to say that your PhD is going to take much longer than you had thought or committed initially. When someone asks you with too much intrusions, try to bring up your accomplishments of the past and not discuss the future. This will bring up the true picture of the facts. For those who want know more details you can precisely tell them how long your previous chapter took. Don’t give estimation of the future, leave that on the imagination of the one who puts up the question.
When will you finish is always a painful question and the bitter truth is that whatever answer you predict for the time span is wrong. You know that you needn’t be guilty about it, so don’t bother to justify your delay to others. They aren’t in your shoes so will never really understand your hurdles.