Mary Ann Cushman
cushmam at okstate.edu
Wed Jan 29 09:48:08 EST 1997
I have been dealing with precisely the same questions. It definitely helps to hear that other people in similar
situations are making it through. Its amazing what a few doubts can do to your gyroscope! I think its extra
important to make sure not to let other people's (that is academics...) prejudices (especially if they have no
first hand experience) deter you if you decide to go into industry - there can be tremendous peer pressure
against and disdain for choosing to work for a company, especially if you are bright and good in the lab. I
think it has to do with the academic thing about posterity and intellectual offspring. A lot also depends on
where you live and whether relocating for a job is possible. Its always complicated!
This reminds me of a book I once saw 'How to be a grown-up' - I don't remember the author.
In one section, the question is asked, 'Should I, or what if I want to, go to graduate school?' The answer:
'Grow up and go get a job!' :-)
Best of luck to all.
JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU wrote:
>>To: womenbio at net.bio.net
>>From: clizb001 at coyote.csusm.edu (d.clizbe)
>>Subject: grad school
>>Date: 25 Jan 1997 17:29:14 GMT
>> I was wondering what current thoughts were on the subject of a MS
>>vs a PhD. I realize that this is not a simple question and that it
>>a variety of personal experiences, however I need some solid advice. I
>>opportunity to choose between two extremely desirable graduate programs
>>one a two year masters, the other a five to seven year PhD. The time in
>>not really as important as what happens at the other end. I am 39 I
>>wonderful supportive family. Any advice?
>Cynthia Galloway's advice is pertinent as to employment, but as a 37
>year old woman finishing her degree this year (I hope) I have a couple
>of personal things I think you should consider as well.
>1) Burnout-I find that facing several more years of semi-poverty as a
>post-doc just as my kids go off to college, compounded with several
>"national" type big-wig scientists telling me I'm "too old" to be
>considered for a research faculty position has me questioning whether it
>was worth it to put so much energy into this doctorate if the only thing
>I can do afterwards is the same as I could do with a masters (I don't
>think this is really the case,l but on dark Monday mornings, it nags at
>me). The older I get, the more I value the little things in life and the
>less I want to jump through hoops for little pats on the back. there
>are days when graduate school seems like jumping through hoops.
>2) Family support. I thought I had a wonderful supportive family. My
>kids are still very supportive of me, though they think that after 7
>years in school, it's time I finished! (I switched programs, which
>compounded the problem). My now ex-husband, however, bailed out when he
>realized that this wasn't a year or two of inconvience for him, but a
>way of life. (This is a problem I think for anyone who starts something
>new after their family has gotten used to one way of living-no one likes
>change.) The stress of grad school can bring out the best and worst in
>people. Of the three married women in my grad program when I started,
>none still are, but the reasons are all different. I guess what I'm
>trying to say is, don't underestimate the amount of stress a graduate
>degree is going to put on your family. On the other hand, don't
>underestimate the amount of stress passing it by is going to put on you
>(this was the deciding factor for me-I knew I couldn't live with the
>"What if I had tried..." if I didn't try.)
>And whatever you decide, the fact that you gave it careful consideration
>before you began will help get you through-I think we all have second
>thoughts sometimes, no matter what we choose.
>visiting grad student at
>Texas A&M University
>Department of Biological Sciences
>College Station, TX 77843
>"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
> Dr. M. Scott Peck
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