Getting a PhD is hard. Becoming a professor is really hard. That is what this is about. I started writing this when I was a post doc, about six months after finishing my PhD and moving to California for the post doc. I was a post doc at University of California, Berkeley in a prestigious group. Working with arguably the most famous person in my field, lead me to put a lot of pressure on myself.
Writing this was my choice when things got really hard for me. I was in a dark place. I had a lot of days where I couldn't drag myself into my office, I couldn't work. I would stare at my work and that this would be the right thing that this would be really hard to figure out and this goes how this goes. I need to work out what the right solution what this could be, I needed to think about how this can go. I needed to work through my problems now, I know that this is hard. I just needed to think about what this can be. I do not know what this is about. I know that this is ht hardest thing to do. I just need to think about how this is hard and this is not clear.
I chose to write this because as I read books about the experience, it often felt like there was a mismatch. I felt like the advice or tips didn't fit me. In fact, a lot of the books are written by people not in stem, even more rarely people in extremely cross disciplinary research areas. That changes the form of your experience. It changes the rules. For me, I also felt like many of them tried to write out a prescription, or a formula. I however, think a recipe is more apt. A recipe that has lots of room for substitution. No career path is a rigid formula all have multiple paths and points of entry.
I decided to write this to work though these issues. I decided that I wanted to write down this story and organize it Collect a number of bits of advice that I have planned writing about and mix it together into a collection of short its. A piece that is a mixture of genres. I think it will be a mixed-genre project. There will be anecdotes written as a memoir. the will be advice and research pieces that are written like advice columns or blog posts. there will be sections that are research focused and written as such.
The goal of writing this project is to provide a reader- an early PhD student something that is both a companion the personal story that give the exemplars of what this journey is actually like for a person and that would be the right thing to figure out. that this would be more challenging that we expected. This book will be aimed at helping people navigate being a PhD student and ideally all the way through to becoming a professor as well. I am writing as much of it as I can now, and then it will be finished when there is time. I think that it is hard. I know that it will be hard. I am also pushing myself to output enough words this month for what it is. this will be a matter of thinking about the professional skills as well as the tools and experiences. I think that this is hard. I know that it is hard. these experiences will make it clear.
Getting hough a PhD can break you down. Research groups can be really unsupportive environments or very supportive environments. what it is and how to understand a given experience i not clear. The challenge, however, is to figure out the right way to navigate the experience for yourself. I have decided to work through my experiences in the journey by writing about it. I have also seen a therapist. I do not know how this can be. I just need to think about how this can be the right way possible.
I let this go. I let go of being a person, while working and. I just need to think about what this can be the right way of how this will work. I just need to think about the good way to go. This is really hard to think about. I just do not know how to proved how this would go. I just needed to think about what this can be the right way to get this done. I jsut needed to think abut what this can be done. I need to think about this would be done. they needed to figure out how this would work. I just need to think about how this can work.
I hope that this book provides a lighter read than some of the PhD process books that I read and had provided in some ways and in others it may be deeper and heavier, it will be hard to resolve.
I started a writing habit in my fourth year. I started writing daily and it went on for a long time. After a while I wasn't sure how to use it and I more often than not used it for therapeutic purposes than for research. In my post doc, I reached a point where i didn't know what to write most days so i decided to think about how this can done. I just need to think about how this works I would find myself writing the same sentences over and over again throughout what this would be. within a given day's writing I would write in circles. So, instead, I decided to give myself a month long goal of a different longer project.
Throughout my time as a PhD student I gradually lost touch with most people in my life. I let a lot go. I didn't take care of myself, I left my health behind. I don't recommend what I did during my own time. I think that this would be the right way that would work. I do think that I learned a lot about being a PhD student and living through that time. I think that this will help me be a better adviser to my own students eventually, but for now, I will think about what this can be done. I think that telling my story will help others learn from what I learned and think about their own needs and develop their own practices an strategies.
I hope that writing this helps me move on and hat it helps others avoid my own mistakes and feel better. I think that this would be the best way forward.
I want to make this helpful. I will discuss how I chose to be a PhD from the start and then how I chose my program, through picking and adviser. I finished my degree ultimately with an amazing and supportive adviser. I wasn't as productive as I would have liked, but I chose problems harder than what I needed to. Throughout the process though i had some bad advisers, that t had to drop and change I had to leave bad advisers and one abandoned me. I had to drop projects even because of challenges through advisers. I'll cover how I found my research and moved through projects and how I worked through collecting them into a single coherent story for my thesis. the challenges I had with advisers and how that would work. I will also discuss some of the personal challenges that I had during my PhD. I became distant with people and I even nearly lost one close friend, our relationship changed completely.
Some things will e more challenging than others. I want to share about my experience, without bearing the stories of other people that they may not be interested in sharing. the specifics o the time line are not ideal. I do not know if I could ever tell the stories about some things I am sure that many section that will be written in my drafting and that won't be shared, I expect I wont be able to craft a sufficiently neutral path. A good story line and a clear path that is neutral and no revealing to people who should not be revealed. I just cannot think about how this proceeds.
I always get in these ruts while I write . I think about how this goes. I need to think about the est way to decompose what I read. I do not want tow rite these bullets and there redundant pieces and to figure out how this can proceed. My biggest crutch phrase when I write these free form posts, is "i just need t"o I always put more things on myself and making more and more pressure on myself. I make things my responsibility and obligation, I just needed to thin about how this can do. I want to think deeply and I want to start to go longer. Working what this would be the right way forward. I do not know why it is so hard for me. I like to think deeply, I struggle to work sometimes, I struggle to remove my technology addiction.
this book will be a collection of stories that are both chronological and overlapping in time. there will be some sections where there are sequential anecdotes and other chapters that are more thematically organized and that contain shorter anecdotes from multiple points in time. They will be organized at a broader scale temporally, but within that thematically. Things from the later points and will be included and reflections that I have now that I didn't have at the time of some of the early decisions I made or experiences I had will go forward.
The book will proceed in parts, and chapters
applying to graduate school
why to get a PhD, how i choices
choosing a program
choosing an adviser
leaving and adviser
finding a new adviser mid program
relearningn to read
re learning to write
finding a connection theme to create a thesis
choosing a committee
being alone in graduate school
making time for friends
making academic friends
multiple peer groups
student to expert transitioning
understnding your own frustrtions
tihnk about how people work
identifying imposter syndrome
writiers block, revised
smart goals- unattainable goals and switching to process
balance and tradeoffs
people don't unlock mysterious keys to being better rhumans, they unlock their own potential- for you to be great at something, you need to unlock how you work and what works for you.
For oms o these I can think about good storied to tell and for others on various types of advice and formal things. Storytelling is not my strength, framing the story for it to have a memoir feel is non trivial.
Ideally this will be a long process and I will get to think approximate length every day, and reach something around 50,000 words for the month. I hope to get a few revised and organized each week, but probably not all of them.