considering my options...

aloisia schmid a-schmi at
Mon Mar 18 21:58:13 EST 1996

In article <4idmm8$7iu at>, arussel at
(russell russell) wrote:

> hello all!
>         i have been lurking here for several months now. i am approaching 
> somewhat of a crossroad in my life and wondered if i could gather some 
> outside opinions and advice.  
>         i'm currently working on my m.s. in drosophila genetics at bowling 
> green state university (in ohio, not kentucky), expecting to graduate in 
> december. that will make it 6.5 years here at bgsu, since i did my 
> undergrad work here, too. i would like to get my ph.d. (at another 
> school) and continue doing research (probably at a university since i'm 
> really getting interested in population genetics and most private sector 
> companies don't pay for research in evolutionary theory). 
>         anyway, here's where the problem is: i'm really beginning to feel 
> like i need to take some time off. i think that if i do go straight on 
> for my ph.d., i'll burn out halfway through. i'm thinking about joining the 
> peace corps after i finish my master's. i have a b.s. in environmental
> (in addition to bio) and i've been teaching for 2 years as a t.a.; i 
> don't think getting into the peace corps would be a problem. the 
> commitment would be 2 years, giving me some time to regroup and refocus 
> and yet still a definite ending date to say "now i need to get back into 
> school-mode". 
>         so i guess my question is, how are others in the field of 
> academia going to react to this? will i be viewed as being not dedicated? 
> will this make me somewhat of a pariah in the field of grad program 
> applicants? i know many of you out there are running your own lab; how 
> would you react to someone contacting you about a position in your lab 
> when  either (a) she had just come back from a 2 year break doing a 
> service project like that, or (b) she wanted to work with you after she 
> got back (i.e. contacting you before she left). would that affect your 
> decision to accept her into your lab? positively or negatively? would you 
> prefer to have the relationship and some kind of verbal agreement 
> about her joining your lab set up before she left?
>         i haven't talked to my advisor about these ideas yet. how he'll 
> react to the whole thing is kind of like chaos theory: completely 
> unpredictable. i really want to have my thinking about this worked out 
> before i go to him about it; i'm trying to get as many points of view 
> about it as i can to help me. i'd appreciate any comments or stories 
> anyone might have. although this group seems to be really supportive of 
> each other, i'm not looking only for supportive comments (a few would be 
> nice, though! ;) ) if you think i'll just be shooting myself in the foot 
> with this please tell me!
> thanks!
> amy
> -- 
> our love is like my parents' love        |  Amy L. Russell
> except                                   |  Bowling Green State University
> i won't wait until you die to leave you. |  arussel at

I can't believe you actually think this would be a problem!  I think most
people would actually look more askance at the master's degree and would
wonder why you didn't just start a PhD right away.  Not that there is
anything wrong with getting a master's degree--far from i t.  i am jsut
telling you what perceptions and mis-perceptions might be.  

however, from what I have heard, it is down-right tough to get into the
peace corps and only one out of ten people is accepted.  So I would also
consider other service projects as well, if you feel like that is what you
need right now.  But really, i cannot imagine anyone giving you a hard
time about this.  And if they did---do your eally want to work with
someone like that?  

Alice Schmid

Aloisia Schmid
Howard Huges Medical Institute/Morrill Hall
University of Illinois
505 S. Goodwin Ave, 618 Morrill Hall
Urbana, IL 61801
Email: A-schmi at

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