Are you thinking about applying to a PhD program? Are you already a doctoral student? PhD is a huge investment of time and money. So make sure you spend 15 minutes of your time reading this blog devoted to PhD program success and survival tips. I'm confident that these tips can save up to 10 years of your life, up to $1,000,000 of your money, and, most importantly, your physical and emotional health.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Finding Yourself

Many people go into grad school because they don't know what to do after they get their bachelor's degree. They think that grad school will help them to figure out who they are, what they are good at, and where they should work. They believe that a graduate degree (especially a PhD) will also help them to work anywhere they choose. Unfortunately, these hopes may not materialize. Many professors went to grad school for the same reason: they were smart but didn't know what to (or didn't want to do anything in the real world). These people will not help you out where you should go with your life. Moreover, a graduate degree is not a pass to employment of your choice. Just think about this: if you were a business owner thinking about hiring someone to develop a software for your business, who would you hire - someone with a PhD in Computer Science or someone who has successfully developed similar software solutions in the past?

I propose a less expensive and time consuming way of figuring out your interests, abilities, and possible path in life. Think about the time when you were a kid. At that time you obviously were not burdened (hopefully) by any economic and social pressures. You went with your natural instincts. So what did you like to do when you were a child? What were your hobbies? What were you good at? What did you dream about? After answering these questions, try to project that picture of yourself into some modern-day career.

For example, my brother has been crazy about bikes, motorcycles, and cars since he was a child (and I think he still is). I know he could have become a great car mechanic or a car salesman. But instead he went into finance. I think he still considers transitioning into the automotive industry although now he has years of successful experience in finance.