Monday, September 04, 2006

The Ph.D. - A Romance

The July/August edition of IEEE Potentials published an article "Obtaining that elusive Ph.D. - in every sense a marriage" by L.L. Fields. The article interistingly describes the subliminal relationship to their work that every Ph.D. student needs to commit to, and in a way this relationship turns out to be that of a marriage. Here is an excerpt from the article.

..."For example, you will find yourself waking up in the morning with your new spouse because you need to plan your day around what experiments need to be run, what data needs to be plotted and analyzed, what theory needs to be understood, what journal papers need to be written, and what presentations need to be prepared. Breakfast will also become a time to spend with your new spouse. With the exception of Sunday, my morning meal time is currently spent reading journal papers and pertinent topics in textbooks that directly and indirectly relate to my topic. By now, you Ph.D. students should be getting the picture of how you and your topic are for all practical purposes a married couple.

Wait! The situtaiton gets much more interesting, if not downright romantic, because you also get a chance to sleep with your new spouse at night. At various times you will find yourself having dreams about your new spouse, which are more than likely very similar to one of the following:"...

The analogies drawn are humorous as well as very true. As my own academic career takes its turns, I have started to realize that love and passion are not meaningless words to describe your work, but in fact they are a must have in order to be able to stay committed to this relationship. Otherwise, as Fields' said "The worst case occurs when you have to get a divorce, and you don't get your legal document - that is, you don't get your degree."

The complete article is available here.


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