koji berry

koji berry

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Things I regret from my PhD

PhD is bitter sweet. The bitter things linger a bit too long, and at this moment I want to put them down here, and erase them from my mind. I will start...

1. Commuting. Commuting is annoying when you have a job and terrible when you do the PhD. PhD is the time to develop yourself as people, not only as a researcher. Due to my commuting I didn't have enough time to develop my hobby, my personality, and make friends. And being a person who function poorly without enough sleep, I wasted many hours in my lab. Sometimes I need to ask my friend if I could stay at her house when I needed to do a C-NMR. Commuting was a consciously-made choice, though, as Lrrr works somewhere else, and compromise was required.

2. My PhD topic is somewhere between chemistry and chemical engineering. I did it at a chemical engineering department, but none of the main professors gained their master's and PhDs in chemical engineering (they were part-time professors with chem-eng backgrounds, but they don't supervise PhDs). They were PhDs in organic chemistry or physics. They don't have enough passion for the process-related topics, and my chemistry baggage is not heavy enough.

3. I did not take enough courses. Courses are not given by the universities, but by the national "research schools", and they were not compulsory. My excuse was that I was too busy. 

4.  Lack of career orientation support. The fraternity is good at arranging this, but it is more for the master's student. I think the career orientation should be given by the university, and I think they should be a bit more proactive. I get the career orientation from the conference, and they were not very helpful.

5. Lack of supervision. There are not enough faculty to supervise us, and I did not understand why my advisor did not have a assistant professor to take care of the daily supervision. Although he is a very good teacher, my advisor did not have enough energy or time to give a proper supervision and some career overview. We were strayed students. 

6. I did not take enough vacations. I had 41 vacations days, I only used about half of them because Lrrr has a minuscule 26 vacation days. To go somewhere on my own would have been good.

All right! Now there are out of my mind. Time to move ahead. Looking at those things above, I think that postdoc is really not for me at this moment, as there is no "we" in academia, just me: my projects, my grants, my publications. And I don't want to do a postdoc simply to wait for other better job to come. Everything will be fine at the end. 

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