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A question for the ongoing and already PhDs. - (Jun/21/2012 )

What made you get into doing a doctorate and why?

Did your ideas/perceptions of doing a PhD change along the journey?

From hindsight, how do you see it (can either be an unfolding thing or past experience)?

-science noob-

Hey Noob,

These are all dreadfully serious thoughts for a Thursday!
My PhD feels along way behind me, but I wanted to do a PhD because the undergraduate alone wasn't enough for me- I wanted to know and understand more.
Doing the PhD was like a voyage into the unknown, complete with calm still waters where not much happens (But you want it too) and giant rough storms where everything can go wrong.
I'm not sure how to answer your last question- it helped me to get where I am now in my life and career


The professor asked if I want and I had no better plans or idea...a stupid start actually...
What perceptions changed? I realised that a better and more focused project and research plan can save years and even stupid scatterbrains can get a PhD much faster...
And I'm just lucky that this unpleasant time is over...never again...


My fiancée wanted to move to a country where I didn't have the right to work, so I left my well paid scientist job in a company to do a PhD. I had always thought scientists were interested in pursuing the truth, sharing it, and helping eachother do the same. At some point during my 6-year PhD, I figured out that many academic scientists are so desperate to find some kind of job security, that they are territorial, nervous, and often dishonest. In hindsight, taking a 75% pay cut to do a PhD was probably a bad idea.


My stories is quite similar to Hobs... I was working at a lab, and my boss (the professor) asked if I wanted to do a PhD... ok. I then asked my mum how she would feel about having a Dr in the family.
My changed perceptions... it was the exact same project I was working on before, but as a student, I was paid less and expected to do more. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and when it worked that was great, and when it didn't, well... that's what insanity is for.
In hindsight, I'm amazed at just how much work I got done... I'm really quite proud of it. Anyway, I get to do the grad ceremony in a couple of weeks (post posed it for almost a year).


I actually didn't want to do a PhD, to be honest, but this specific period in Italy is not "the best" (let's put it this way) for research and to work being payed for three years, compared to work for free, made me think that maybe a PhD was a good idea. Undergrad students here in Italy are never payed, not even with scholarships, especially now that after having cut the research founds, Universities have no idea how to pay the salaries even of Post Docs and Professors...

I just started my PhD, so I still don't have changed perceptions, what I know is that I won't leave my Country in this shit as many Italians have done in the past and present times. If we keep on studying here, but work abroad, in the end we won't have people to help change things... just like in a vicious circle.