D155: Confronting the Awkward Truth – What Exactly is a PhD? And What Am I Getting Myself Into?

Stanford is a place of privilege. Quite the privilege at that. I am still learning how to navigate the breadth of resources, wealth, and influence, that I am surrounded by every day. I am still figuring out how to explain to my parents the people that I’m meeting and the opportunities that I now have–the kinds none of us knew would ever be possible.

I am also still discovering what a Ph.D. actually is and whether or not I still want one. I don’t have the luxury of asking my parents, or brother, or friends what it all means–I’m too busy reading ahead so I can attempt to explain it to them. Unfortunately, I have mixed up the aims of industry and research–I want a Ph.D. to create devices and build things that can be directly applied, research is about the underlying science, gradual incremental changes, and modeling the effects of certain factors. Research influences industry and eventually leads to applications but the road I’m embarking on is one of patience not necessarily action. *Sigh* lesson learned.

Nevertheless, I still want a Ph.D. and I want a start up. Nowhere in the rules am I prohibited from having both. For now, I’ll just have to accept my dreams of creating groundbreaking human-powered devices for the developing world as part of my research is a little bit further away than I thought.


Wise OwlWise Owl’s Mantra (aka what I learned from Cory Booker coming to campus on February 20th): Live as though you cannot fail. Love as though your heart was never broken. Laugh as though it could make you fly.

 

~ACK

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