I’ve done three entries on search terms used by WordPress readers to get to this blog. Usually these entries are VERY long, not only because my opinion on things is usually quite long, but because I tend to let the search terms accumulate and the entries end up looking huge, so to avoid that, and possibly shorten the length between entries I’ll just write small entries based on different search terms. Let’s hope this is helpful.
The first entry in the series is: Did you enjoy doing your PhD ?
Yes and no. For various reasons. I’ll just list some of each side and discuss a bit.
On the why I didn’t enjoy doing my PhD. Well, damn, it was a little bit too long. When I started my PhD the average time to get the degree was ~5 1/2 years. For some it took more, for some less. So, back home, before I even started my degree I used to tell my friends they’d see me back in the local working force in exactly 5.5 years. Yeah, no, it didn’t happen quite like that. It took me almost exactly 6 years to get out. Partly because I was scared of what would come next, partly because although my projects worked beautifully, it still took me all that darn time to complete it, and also because I lost some valuable time getting ready for my qual, then falling flat on my face. It was partly my fault, partly my previous boss’s fault. On the other hand, I think that things happen when they’re supposed to, not a second sooner, so the defense and finishing up happened when they needed to happen. Second, insurance at my old school sucked! so being at the mercy of whatever was left of my stipend with little money and money to pay up on other things didn’t leave much wiggle room for getting sick AND affording treatment … major sucky situation. I also wished I could have taken time off to pursue things that interested me, but then again, you basically belong to the school and they pony up all the money, so you better behave and do as told. I was also in a town (and region) that was very conservative. I had to swallow up my pride a few times while letting my liberal thought go away into oblivion, so it was hard to stand comments and people who told you flat in your face what they thought of life, women’s issues, liberals, government, war, etc.
On the good side, I got a top notch education. I went to a Big Name U in which I was doing research close to “science stars” and famous people. I met a t least a half dozen Nobel Laureates and attended some beautiful talks and workshops. Quality of life was good overall, and had I known how to better manage my moolah, I could have done better money and time wise. I was close to other states with interesting places to visit, so when the BF was visiting, or even living there we packed up our things and headed off to a lovely weekend elsewhere. Food and entertainment were top notch also. Above all, my research project and work ethics were awesome. And I miss the place, my old university. I miss heading out of my known place, my niche, and having a clear cut plan of what to do. Because postdoc’ing in a temporary thing (at least how I see it today), it’s hard to make plans in the long run. I know I’d love to go back home, but right now the stupid job market is in the trash, and what appears to be most needed are neuroscientists and cell biologists, none of which I am (or like to do).