Graduate Programs

Michael Gregory Abel, University of Tennessee abel at UTKVX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Sat Aug 5 16:39:58 EST 1995

On Sat, 5 Aug 1995, Micheal McCann wrote:

> I have seen this discussion about not getting a Ph.D. because of an oversupply
> of Ph.D.s but I have not tossed in my $0.02 until now.  In response to the
> student who asked about graduate programs, etc. I would have to say be sure 
> that science is really what you want to do.  Its very important that you enjoy
> it since it is rather a demanding job in terms of time and effort.  If you
> do some becnh work and find that it is really interesting then by all means,
> get into a good graduate program and have fun.

But be prepared to live wretchedly and work like a slave for the next 5 
or 6 years.....

> In response to those have have said "don't do it" I would have to say that a
> person has to do what they enjoy to really be satisfied.  I did not enter 
> science to get rich. 

I don't think that science has ever been touted as a profession in which 
its members get rich (if I had wanted to do that, I would have 
discarded my moral values and gone to law school)...those that have 
responded to inquires with "don't do it" are simply stating what 
the supply and demand of the market is right 
now.  I am in science because I enjoy it but that doesn't help me one little 
bit if there are no jobs out there for me.  The glut of Ph.D.'s in the 
science market place is becoming well documented (pick up any one of the 
last few issues of The Scientist).  If I were a graduating senior in 
college and trying to make a career choice involving graduate training, I 
would expect for a mentor to explain to me exactly what I was about to 
get into.  

> I did it because its fun.  I've had a great deal of fun
> working at the bench and teaching in the classroom and I do not regret my
> descision at all.

You already have a job, look around and see what the new Ph.D. graduates 
are up against.

> If this is what a person really enjoys and wants to do than
> we should not discourage them from it.  On the other hand, if money is the 
> motivation than by all means look elsewhere. You wont get rich (except in 
> terms of personal satisfaction) doing research. Just my two cents.

Money is a motivation for any job, whether you enjoy it or not (if you 
are lucky enough to be able to work at what you enjoy then good for 
you).  I want to be able to raise a family and take care of myself and a 
wife and I need to have a paying job to do that.  I have no aspirations 
of become rich from this profession but I would like to be able to MAKE A 
LIVING doing the work I have sacrificed to be qualified for and enjoy 

> Michael McCann, Ph.D. 
> Assistant Professor of Biology 
> St. Joseph's University
My $0.02 worth,

Michael Gregory Abel *   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **
University of Tennessee *::* *::* *::* *::* *::* *::*Abel at*
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           "We are constantly faced with great opportunities 
              brilliantly disguised as insolvable problems."

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