PhD problem

Mon Mar 18 08:50:37 EST 1996

I don't want to get dragged in to any kind of "You don't know when you're well
off" argument, but I would like to put forward some alternate views.
I gained my BSc degree in Britain, but it was not good enough to get a PhD 
studentship. After 3 months of desperate looking, I found a job in the US, doing
pretty much what I'd always wanted to do - working with animal viruses. But
at the end of the day, I'm a technician, and apart from earning less now than
I did before I gained my degree, I'm stuck in a routine, often boring job.

Now I work with several post-docs, and I know life is tough - but guess what its 
tough for us all. I feel cheated because all anyone ever told me was to get an
education. I did, in something i love to do, but now the same people who told me
to get an education tell me starting my own buisness is the way to be 
successful - not to easy when your only job skills are inthe sciences.
We're all in positions where we can blame our situation on the system and
on the powers that be.

Here i am, with over 2 years experience now, and i still cannot get onto a
graduate program, even though I am capable of independant research, and
have worked with some outstanding scientists. Yet I constantly hear from my
friends about Universities that take on fresh graduates, who drop out of
their PhD after only months because "its not what they expected". And that
only makes me feel more cheated.

But theres one thing I 've learned - and if a mere graduate can suss this then I'm sure
you post-docs out there can - its that  *I* am the only one responsible.
I screwed up my final year at Uni, so that my degree wasn't too hot, so
I took the dead end job in the states, and now I have to decide what to do.
I could waste my time bitching about how the system let me down, but
whats the point? At the end of the day, thats not going to get you a better job
or pay the bills.

Nothing in life is easy, or fair, but its pretty much all possible if you want it.
There are several members of my family who went back to university as
"mature students" so I know it can be done - my sister-in-law did so
immediately after her PhD. 

Life's hard, but you all have it better than some (and so do I), so lets be thankful 
for small mercies.

Anne-Marie Lucas

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