Monday, September 19, 2011

Five reasons why I decided to pursue a PhD

Some time ago, I was asked why I decided to pursue a PhD, and how I got an idea of what a PhD candidate's work life looks like. In fact, I had always liked to idea of simply keeping on studying (there's always more to learn), but when I went to Georgia Tech and was in class with both MS and PhD students, I got a more realistic idea of what I could expect when deciding to pursue a doctoral degree.

Ultimately, these five reasons are the main reasons why I decided to study for a PhD, and why I enjoy my studies and research so much:

1. Curiosity

I wanted to know more, I wanted to figure out things - and for that reason, research is about the best fit possible. I was also curious to explore my own boundaries and abilities and to get off the beaten path and "work my way through the woods".

2. Intellectual freedom

Even though I do have deadlines, I still have enough time and space to spend on developing thoughts that simply seem interesting to me. Also, I dislike authority very much, and being able to work for my degree on my project in all the freedom I like, is about the most ideal work-situation for me.

3. Self-development

While pursuing my doctoral degree, I have been developing my transferable skills much more than I expected to do. I've had the opportunity to attend workshops and trainings for this goal, but I have also had the opportunities to bring into practice what I've learned from these workshops - by presenting for various audiences, traveling to conferences and juggling several smaller projects at the same time.

4. Challenge

The ultimate goal of a doctoral dissertation is to present an original contribution to your study field. To fulfill this requirement, certain intellectual boundaries have to be pushed, or -as my best friend states it- we have to reinvent hot water every day.

5. Fun

Science, and in my case experimental research, is fun. There's always an unexpected challenge (or, for the pessimists among us, a problem) which requires an original and preferable quick fix.

3 comments:

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  2. I am also planning the same and feel much convinced by the reasons you have given.. I used to think of pursuing highest degree. Along with this I have another one reason i.e. to change my profession to teaching

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    1. Thanks! I wish you all the best with your studies... do keep in mind that faculty positions can be very difficult to find after the PhD. But just relax and enjoy the ride, you'll know towards the end of your PhD which direction is for you.

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