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Why grad school?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 7:05 pm
by Karen
It was an easy decision to pick MBB- molecular biology and biochemistry- as a major in undergrad. I loved working in a research lab and loved taking science classes. I worked as a lab tech for about a year and i then decided to go to grad school for my PhD.

I have been in the PhD program for about 6 months-and I have been thinking about leaving. I feel that my love for science is out weighed by the cons of having a PhD. By cons, I mean competitive job market and uncertainty with having a "Successful" research project.

I read a posting for feb 18 titled "the economics of science" and one person suggested that students don't think things through when they enter grad school. I think that the students that leave grad school actually do think things through. A major reason why people leave PhD programs is that their is too much uncertainty- not only with research but also with having a career in science. Some people (like myself) like science but maybe not like the competitive nature of science and in every aspect (both industry and academia) it is highly competitive and risky. In other words, even though one may put 110% into a research project there is still a chance they will get nothing productive out it (ie publications) and this can also be extended to their career as a whole.

I am confident that I am making the most practical decision to leave...if anyone has any pros about staying in grad school please share them. I would appreciate it alot.

Why grad school?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:53 pm
by A. Sam
I've often felt the hardest part about getting a PhD is the uncertainty of getting results, the not knowing when and if you'll finish, and the relatively poor career guidance that many school offer. Nobody would hold it against you if you decided some other professional program with a fixed graduation date and clear career path was better for you. You've really got to love research and love your project and not be too hell-bent on finishing in order to get through a PhD without going mad. With that in mind, choosing the right school and the right graduate advisor are the first and most important steps in making it possible.