Well, why not?! There’s a wealth of opportunities available to you through this experience! And…it doesn’t hurt to buy yourself some extra time to figure out what you want to do with your life.
Please keep in mind that this is a question you will naturally ask yourself many times before you apply…and probably even more times after and especially once you’ve started (speaking of which…). Nevertheless, trust me–it’s so worth it.
UPDATE: I LOVE being a PhD candidate *dusts off shoulders* post-qualifying exams. Someone once defined this period for me as “smooth sailing,” but it feels even better! Imagine getting paid to become an expert in something you find fascinating. Imagine being surrounded by brilliant people in your field of study and surrounding fields that occasionally drop nuggets of wisdom that you can incorporate into your work. Imagine being able to learn about this phenomenon and adding to the collective body of knowledge. A PhD, especially at an institution such as this one, is a playground for the curious mind. Except, I get to be the one who plays and the architect who decides which attractions I want in my park. Then after a few goes, I get to create a new main attraction! Okay, maybe I lost you on the analogy. Put it simply: this is the best decision I could have made.
This page is continuously updated with nuggets of wisdom that I collect answering the question, “Why Grad School?” Additionally, I will begin posting information about “How Grad School?” as I learn how to continue navigating this process myself!
HOW Grad School?
(the following are adapted quotes and nuggets of wisdom I’ve received along the way)
“It’s never as bad as you think it is, or as good as you think it is.”
- List of Relevant Engineering Fellowships, Deadlines, and Requirements (mostly 2017/18 deadlines)
- Align your curiosity with your advisor’s
- Be flexible with your career paths (be open to wherever the PhD leads you)
- Do whatever you’re doing now really well, and just see what comes from it
- There’s some stuff that you just have to do. You’re allowed to quit if you choose. But you can only quit when it’s easy and you have a clear mind. Bet it won’t feel as appealing then?
- The idea to quit is just a natural reaction to hard work.
- Talk to alum/other grad students about professors working in your area of interest, maybe they have their ears to the ground?
- Check in with yourself and ask, “Am I interested in this for the money or genuine research?”
- Not everyone has a direct path to a Ph.D. And that’s OKAY. It’s still possible to finish with hiccups and obstacles along the way.
- Talk to grad student friends with similar interests. Learn how they navigated their research and what they ultimately want to do with their degree.
- Send your advisor (or potential advisor), a memo each week updating them with your progress.
- Give her/him confidence that you’re a safe bet.
- Think through some professors at your school that you could work with as co-advisors
- Find out if your professors have connections with people off/on campus that you’d like to work with or be introduced to
- Email professors outside of your school and leverage your background as a current undergrad/grad student at your institution in your department