Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, JessTheChemist penned the March 2013 column.
Is a PhD bad for your health?
Graduate students will be all too familiar with the trials and tribulations that PhD research brings, but is it bad for your health? Chemjobber and Vinylogous at ‘Not the Lab’ hosted a blog dialogue on ‘Is graduate school in chemistry bad for your mental health?’ to raise important issues that rarely get discussed. Chemjobber shares his personal experiences including “the feeling that [his] entire life was an utter failure”. Vinylogous recounts that his “weekends had been given up, as had hobbies” and “7-day workweeks were expected; dinner was eaten hurriedly at one’s desk; stealing was frequent and hoarding of reagents and glassware was necessary”. Not only are the five posts excellent, but the comments that the posts have produced are insightful and eye-opening.
Derek Lowe also joined in the mental health discussion at ‘In the Pipeline’ and at ‘Periodic Boundary Conditions’, Miss MSE adds her personal viewpoint. She highlights the need for a life outside her PhD and concludes that “the most important thing I can do for my mental health is this: talk to people who aren’t in grad school”. Finally, MB at ‘Colourblind Chemistry’ reveals the consequences of picking the wrong principal investigator and how he dealt with that. He summarizes the mental health posts nicely with the comment that “grad school is incredibly difficult, but it doesn’t need to be demoralizing”.
If the posts described above don’t put you off life as a graduate student, then head over to ‘The Drew Lab’ where Joshua Drew gives out some first-rate tips on how to apply to graduate school, from GRE scores to the personal statement, noting that “there are no set formulae as to what makes a good candidate”.