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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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« ". . . Jobs That Don't Exist" | Main | Oh, Come On »

August 26, 2007

Cheer Up

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Posted by Derek

This is the first post from the new Blogging Room of Stately Lowe Manor here in Massachusetts. The internet is hooked up, the lights are on, and I'm surrounded by boxes no matter where I turn.

I had a few requests to do more posts on graduate school and what goes on there. Problem is, it's becoming an increasingly distant event for me (which in most other ways is not much of a problem at all!) There's one immediate thing I can think of to say to people who are still in the middle of it, though: Don't worry. You're not going to be stuck like this forever.

I'm thinking of what a generally foul mood I was in throughout my PhD work, compared to my overall sunnier disposition since. I didn't like having to work on the exact same molecule for years, and I didn't like having to do it days, nights, weekends, and holidays. I especially didn't like that little voice in the back of my head that took up residence there, telling me - every moment that I wasn't in front of my fume hood - that I should stop goofing off and get back to work.

And I wondered if the experience had permanently damaged me. I really worried about that. When you're younger, these thoughts occur to you if you've got any introspective tendencies at all, and my working hours gave me plenty of time for thinking about such things. Was I ever going to wake up and feel enthusiastic about going to work in the lab? If not - and there seemed a real chance that the answer was, in fact, "Never again" - how was I going to make any sort of worthwhile life for myself? After all, here I was committing a good slice of my 20s to getting an advanced degree in a field whose same advanced degree might be ruining my chances of ever using it.

No wonder I was surly. I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing, and I wasn't sure what shape I'd be in if I stopped or if I kept going. Admittedly, I never seriously considered the first option. The going didn't get really rough until I was in far enough that the shortest way out was at the other end. I knew that I could hang in long enough to get the degree; what I didn't know was what kind of shape I'd be in after I got it.

Well, as it turned out, I was fine. My worries, though real, were overblown. It took a while on my post-doc in Germany, but my brain proved to be more resilient than I'd feared, and it soon bent back to its usual shape. I stopped feeling as if the dogs were chasing me when I wasn't in the lab on, say, Sunday nights or the day after Christmas. And I started enjoying the times that I did go in. Not being up to my elbows in lab work all the time made it fun when I did it out of choice. No permanent damage seemed to have occurred.

Actually, I came out of the experience stronger than when I went in, for having gone through it without breaking. So, if you're trying to finish up your last year or two of a degree, and you feel as if it's never going to end, take it from me: it does. And if you think that you can't stand the time remaining, prepare to surprise yourself, because odds are very good that you can. And no, you won't always feel like you do on your worst days in your grad school lab. That's not the real world; it's just pretending to be.

Comments (41) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Graduate School


COMMENTS

1. Canuck Chemist on August 27, 2007 12:58 AM writes...

Thanks for the encouragement, Derek...makes me feel much better, especially now that I'm here working after midnight on a Sun. night. My time as a postdoc here in the US has been more stressful even than my PhD days (in Canada). My mostly terrific coworkers make things a lot more pleasant, I'm fortunate to say.

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2. JS on August 27, 2007 9:05 AM writes...

No permanent damage seemed to have occurred.

On the other hand, my wife was wrecked to the point where she quit research altogether. (At which point they relented and gave her the PhD, once there was no more work no be had out of her and it looked bad to have a seventh-year drop out.) The attitude is that if you have a reachable breaking point, well, you just aren't a scientist. But it's not at all obvious to me that that's so.

Also, I imagine this takes on a slightly different feel in chemistry (especially back a few years) when you could count on a 5-point-something year PhD and a 1-2 year postdoc. It's different in biology, where being very lucky means being in a real job by age 30.

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3. eugene on August 27, 2007 9:16 AM writes...

"Don't worry. You're not going to be stuck like this forever."

Not according to a prof that I know who tells people to 'multitask' and work many, many hours a week and get results no matter what. According to him, it's even harder in industry and if you're not 'multitasking', they kick you out after a few weeks and we'll "think back with fondness to grad school" and 'easy-times'.

God, if that's true, then what's the point? I can't 'multitask' like this my entire life. I should just quit now before it's too late.

(irony/sarcasm alert)

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4. Mark on August 27, 2007 9:19 AM writes...

eugene:

The Prof is full of it.

-Mark

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5. Derek Lowe on August 27, 2007 9:53 AM writes...

Agreed, that's a load. Industry has its own pressures, but grad school is sui generis. This professor's style is a good illustration of the problem.

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6. Dave on August 27, 2007 9:58 AM writes...

Yes, it will end eventually (unless you are crazy enough to go into academics). I too, in the middle of my chemistry PhD, thought often of quiting. I couldn't see the end. A good mentor would tell me to just hang in there and someday I'd be looking back on this as just a memory. Sure enough, as hard as it was, with all the uncertainty, it does end.

But there is a lot of unfounded brainwashing going on to keep people out of industry. I heard everything such as "you won't do anything interesting", "you won't get hired", "no job security", "companys are unethical". Well I got a job, I've pretty much worked on great projects surrounded by talented people, and my company is way more ethical than my research group back in school. I never once had an industry supervisor tell me that I had to watch his kids while he was out of town. Or that we had to come into work on Friday night and work till Monday morning painting the lab because it was against the union and we didn't want to wait for them to paint. Yet I've seen those things in graduate school.

The brainwashing was constant and sometimes subtle. In my second year I said I wanted to work in industry. My advisor said "Then I suggest you quit now. There's no need for a PhD in industry. We are training you for a job that you don't want". Once a professor was coming to give a talk. My advisor said "She does some great work even if it's dangerously close to being applicable." When he said "the great scientists are the ones that are so neurotic they couldn't hold down a real job" is when I knew I was meant for industry.

So I got a PhD in Chemistry, I work in industry, and I've never regretted that decision!

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7. MikeEast on August 27, 2007 10:07 AM writes...

Imagine my surprise in my first job at having 2 WHOLE DAYS off EVERY week after having the much the same experience as Derek. I didn't know what to do with myself! This brings me to my point for those of you in grad school or doing postdoc work: Get a hobby. Find some reason to be away from the lab and thinking about something else in your 'off time'. Exercise, build model airplanes, knit... doesn't matter - but drinking beer doesn't count.

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8. SRC on August 27, 2007 10:31 AM writes...

Cold comfort, perhaps, but grad school was a cakewalk compared to humping for tenure.

Even worse hours (same lab hours, since I continued working in the lab, plus teaching and administrative work, plus proposal writing), mixed in with worrying about students, money, space, money, equipment, money, results, money, papers, money, and of course money. Did I mention money?

I got it, but those were tough years. I used to look back fondly at grad school. Nothing to do then but research. Woohoo!

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9. MolecularGeek on August 27, 2007 10:36 AM writes...

MikeEast,
If you make it yourself, does drinking beer count then? ;-)

But seriously, as someone returning to graduate school after too many years out of the classroom, I would agree with the need to have something outside that lab, and probably outside of science in general, to maintain sanity. I didn't, and that is probably a small part of why my last trip there didn't work out so well. My wife found the church choir as a place to forget the lab for a few hours a week.

Going along with that is the importance of keeping things in perspective. If you aren't sure why you are working for the PhD, the academic games will drive you nuts. Douglas Adams notwithstanding, a sense of perspective is probably second only to a sense of humor in keeping it together.

MG

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10. Derek Lowe on August 27, 2007 10:45 AM writes...

SRC, that's exactly what it looked like it would be when I was making that decision, based on what I could see of the younger faculty. And I decided, no, not for me. . .

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11. Jim on August 27, 2007 11:30 AM writes...

The best advice I received came one week before I actually started grad school. A professor whom I had worked for as a tech gave me a very serious look and simply said, "Just get your degree. Don't worry about gaining all the accolades for your research, because if there are any to be had, your advisor will get them. You're in school essentially for one reason - to finish it."

That frank perspective did more for me than just about anything else.

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12. syregnask on August 27, 2007 11:54 AM writes...

Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm hoping the end is near.

While I've found that I don't mind too much working on the same molecule for years on end, I certainly don't like doing it at night, on weekends and on holidays.

More interestingly, I don't seem to have that voice in the back of my head telling me to go back to lab when I'm relaxing. In fact, if anything, grad school has taught me to be much better at setting limits and telling myself that "Now is off-time".

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13. SynChem on August 27, 2007 11:57 AM writes...

I don't know why anyone would want to take their chances going to grad school. Everyone in our group was publically humiliated in group problem sessions. Multiple fully grown man and woman in our group came to the point of shedding tears in public. There were no females in our group since I joined. Half of my fellow incoming grad students attrited. I suffered severe depression and almost reached a breaking point in grad school. It was in grad school when I finally understood why people would want to take their own lives. And after all that suffering, what does one get in today's job market and climate? I know multiple people who're considering or already had career changes, after years of grad school and postdoc (one with a Nobel prize winning prof).

There're definately happy endings. And personally like Derek I have fully recovered, or at least I think so. But why take your chances? There're easier ways to earn a living and get self fulfillment. And don't give me the "but I love chemistry" argument--wait for 10 years and a wife and kids later (if you're fortunate) and then tell me again what you think.

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14. WC on August 27, 2007 12:30 PM writes...

The advice I received from my PHD advisor during grad school with regards to what one can expect in industry was without a doubt useless and clueless.

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15. Jordan on August 27, 2007 12:42 PM writes...

My grad-school experience mirrors Derek's and those of many other commenters here. Frustration leading to depression, thoughts of quitting (but too far in to reasonably do so), extreme doubt about my future, then some relief when it was over, with a gradual lifting of the weight from my shoulders over the 6-8 months after my defense.

My recommendation for grad students feeling frustrated or depressed is to take up an activity that engages your brain but that is completely unconnected to your work. Reading, exercise or sports are OK, but something creative -- music, art, drama -- is even better.

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16. emjeff on August 27, 2007 1:15 PM writes...

Reading these comments brings back memories that I'd thought I'd suppressed. It took a few years before I could say to someone' Getting my Ph.D was worth it". Like many of the previous commentors, I had a psychopath (or is it sociopath?) for a professor, so that did not help things. I remember telling him off and then leaving, fully intending to clear out my desk and quit (This would not have looked good for him, as I had a pretty prestigous fellowship). My wife convinced me to stay, since, like many, the shourtest distance to the end was to finish.

The experience has led me to a radical idea, and I wonder what everyone thinks about it: Abolish the Ph. D. In my view, the open-endedness of it invites abuse from professors and sloth on the the part of students. In addition, your focus, is to produce a document that in today's world is completely worhless: the dissertation. Who reads them? Answer: Nobody. The Ph.D is an 18th century relic. It produces scientists (and historians, and English professors, etc) but I don't think it does it optimally.

It seems to me that a program could be structured where students could take some coursework, be tested on that, and then spend two years in some type of lab interships. The goal of these would be a) to learn and b) to publish. You could require 3 papers to be accepted for publication. You'd have 3 years to finish this. That's it. No stupid dissertation, and certainly no more ridiculous defense.

Before everyone screams in protest, let me remind you of something: This is essentially the M.D. research model. M'D.s do not write dissertations, they do fellowships after their formal training and publish. No dissertation and no defense. And, please don't tell me that M.D.s can not be good scientists...

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17. milkshake on August 27, 2007 1:24 PM writes...

I you make and earth-shattering contribution to the field while working on the thesis/postdoc, your results will make your advisor more famous. If you discover a new reaction it will be named after him and he will get the awards. If he is good he will acknowledge your part and overextend yourself in finding you a good job. So it can be very important for a good academic career. For industry career it matters less.

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18. CMCguy on August 27, 2007 1:32 PM writes...

Good (or lucky?) selection is key as with most things. Grad School/Post Doc can be pleasant or draining experience largely depending nature of lab environment, fellow lab mates and project(s) work. As these usually reflect of Prof in charge having a good one is vital. SynChem public humiliation mode seems frequent in high powered groups where competition means making others look bad and the Prof allows this negative tone rather than encouragement/growth. Your own mood/attitude influences things and people around you (who doesn’t get surly at times particularly when experiments fail which seems can be more often than not). The long hours are more bearable with colleagues who are considerate/friendly (even with the occasional Pilferage) and stimulating to talk to (professionally or culture/sports/hobbies/travel). Having a spouse/family can make it harder (guilt both ways) yet provides an outlet at times.

Working in Industry often isn’t all that different although the more defined regular hours and pay are substantially better. Atmosphere, people and projects help you enjoy/suffer with your situation and again a good or bad Supervisor/Department Head/CEO typically are a major factor. Ability to collaborate and work in cross functional teams is central in Industry and often counter to what’s learned in Grad School where individual research is norm. Long hours are less routine but if a deadline looms, exciting phase encountered or plant campaign (or a fact of life at small company) lab time can be reminiscent of school.

Derek is correct that you usually come out stronger because of harder circumstances however trust they can be short and that you can move on to a better choice (which may not be as easy these days with present job market)

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19. Dave on August 27, 2007 1:40 PM writes...

After graduate school and during my post-doc (which was actually the opposite experience as grad school...namely fun and stress free) I actually had a slide deck prepared and would give talks about why you should or shouldn't go to grad school. There was an extremely heavy bias towards NOT going to graduate school.

I agree completely with SynChem. I witnessed many grown men crying in group meetings. Our attrition rate was over 50%. Across undergraduates, interns, post docs, and grad students over 50% left science completely.

I agree with having a hobby and non-chemistry pursuits to keep your sanity. However my advisor found out that I was practicing guitar at 3:30 in the morning and had a major problem with this. He said you must be 100% invested in chemistry and "if you are not working you're sleeping". Period. He complained to others (sometimes right in front of me) that he didn't understand this notion of hobbies and also that I had friends and would spend time keeping them happy when I should be working on chemistry. When he found out I had a girlfriend he took me to dinner and lectured me that to make it in science I would have to ignore her. That it was actually expected that I could "make the sacrifice for science" (i.e. choose science over my wife). You see, all the great scientists are divorced according to my advisor (well at least he was). So depending on your advisor, having hobbies and friends may be a mark against you...but at all means HAVE THEM!

And for these profs that like to give advice about industry??? It's as crazy as a man trying to tell you about giving birth. They have absolutely no clue.

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20. Green Koala on August 27, 2007 2:29 PM writes...

Yes, it does get better. What I have noticed, and is evident in this thread as well, is that there is a gradient of attitudes and experiences from all of us who went through the same process. Not surprising, since we all have different ways of dealing with an admittedly tough few years. The problem I see is that there was (is?) no mechanism to ensure that one got through grad school while staying sane. We all know of the tragic cases we either saw first-hand or witnessed through colleagues.

Are there better resources out there now? I’m from Derek’s “generation” and it was pretty much sink-or-swim, student-psychie-be-damned, all-for-the-glory-of-the-professor, mental-and-physical-marathon-lab-sessions type of world during my stay. The biggest issue was that there was no checks and balances when it came down to mental health; most of the people that left or had a miserable time I believe would have benefited greatly from either an advisor, professor, colleague, whomever just putting things into perspective and helping them focus without all of the mental anguish. I also feel it is/was the responsibility of the professor to recognize the sometimes fine line between pushing and pushing to the breaking point. We have these checks in industry, but do they exist now in academia? If not, they should.

I would also like to second MikeEast’s and others comments about getting a hobby or other pasttime. Reading any kind of fiction other than Tet Lett was a great way for me to get away from the lab and chemistry in general; I never read for enjoyment prior to grad school. The break allowed me to be more focused on the chemistry and efficient in the lab when I was doing it. Getting married in grad school helped too, but I would not classify that “hobby” as the most stress-free method of not becoming a fried chem geek. And, whoever suggested to Jim to just get your degree was on the money as well. Keep in mind that the process is very important, but the ability to focus and finish is the most critical; the MS or PhD initials do mean something in the end, but what you did your thesis on rarely matters at all in the future.

It also helps to surround yourself with a diversity of intelligent lab mates that have a sense of humor, and it doesn’t hurt to have a 6-foot inflatable iguana on your wall either…

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21. Gerd Wood on August 27, 2007 2:34 PM writes...

The only advice one can give to people who have decided going to grad school is the following:

Think about what group you want to join!

There are enough groups where you can work on interesting projects and have fun while doing so. Also where competition does not mean pissing in your coworkers reaction.

There are quite a few big name guys out there that are civilised, hence no need to accept disrespectful behaviour from anyone.


Cheers
Gerd

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22. CEL on August 27, 2007 4:49 PM writes...

I'm in molecular biology rather than chemistry, but a lot of the same evil-grad-school situations occur; I was in one. (We had a postdoc leave about a year into his program to become an editor for a science journal, he was so frustrated by the labwork and the situation.)

I started out in the PhD program, but was miserable enough after the first 2-2.5 years to petition to move to the Master's program. And at that point, I knew that I didn't want to be a professor; I knew that I didn't want to be the person in charge and designing experiments. I wanted to be useful in someone's lab, using my hands, and I knew a Master's was quite sufficient for that. (Besides which, damned if I was going to leave without some sort of degree.)

Now, if some kindly advisor-type had taken me aside my senior year in college and talked with me about what it meant to go for a PhD and tried to get me to figure out why I thought I wanted a PhD in the first place (I thought it was what you did next with a biology degree if you weren't going to med school!), I would probably have simply applied for a Master's program and saved myself a huge amount of grief.

I do have to say, though, that I learned a huge amount.

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23. SRC on August 27, 2007 5:42 PM writes...

Derek, wise decision.

Two light-hearted topics livened up the tenure dance. One was "civilians" pontificating about what a sinecure academia was ("you get three months off every year! Sure - if you teach in high school), while I nodded gravely. Anyone that far out to sea will never grasp the reality.

The other occurred at a party when some guy returning from an interview (I gathered) burst into the room and announced, "My troubles are over - I'm now an assistant professor!" One of my junior colleagues and I exchanged glances, then sprayed beer on each other laughing.

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24. weirdo on August 27, 2007 6:45 PM writes...

Green Koala's "Reading any kind of fiction other than Tet Lett":

Now that's funny, right there!

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25. Green Koala on August 27, 2007 7:42 PM writes...

weirdo,

For complete disclosure, I unashamably paraphrased and plagiarized a Derekism from Lowe's Laws of the Lab on that Tet Lett jab.

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26. Derek Lowe on August 27, 2007 9:20 PM writes...

Green K, if you know about my inflatable iguana that I had in grad school, you must know me pretty well!

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27. Zany on August 27, 2007 9:37 PM writes...

Gerd Wood, you have the right idea.

Sure, grad school in synthetic chemistry is a trying experience for everyone. What I don't understand is how people pick advisors and groups which are obviously going to make it a hard road. One of the most important things to me was working for a boss who I knew was on my side in a group with a positive dynamic. If you talk to people and ask questions you can realize just what you're getting into with a group. It's a serious five year commitment and I made damn sure I wasn't working for Dr. Evil. I thoroughly enjoyed the grad school experience, even if I was working the day after Xmas and on Sunday afternoons. Amazing what a positive lab environment can do. There are choices to be made here. Not all synthetic groups are created equal.

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28. augenthaler on August 27, 2007 10:18 PM writes...

Anyone want to comment on PhDs who try to jump to industry without a postdoc and just want out?

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29. augenthaler on August 27, 2007 10:21 PM writes...

Note that this comes from a PhD candidate in the oft-maligned biophysics/chemical biology field. Know my NMR structural characterization and spend days on my bigname HPLC, synthesize some ligands, know more organic than anyone else in my group, but I've never run a Suzuki or used a Grubbs catalyst.

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30. Anonymous BMS Researcher on August 28, 2007 7:01 AM writes...


During my time in grad school a group of female grad students did a survey of all Botany and Zoology grad students with questions about our self-confidence and career aspirations and so forth. As they had expected, there were some statistically significant differences between responses from male and female respondents: the women had slightly lower self-confidence than the men, and so forth.

But the biggest trend in the data by far, enormously bigger than any other factor, showed that grad school was hard on EVERYBODY. All questions related to self-confidence had very very very strong negative correlations with number of years in grad school. Other relationships could only be detected after the main trend of lowered self-confidence with time in grad school had been factored out.

As one fellow grad student summed it up: a dissertation is a long-drawn-out crisis of confidence -- and at the end you face a terrible academic job market.

Fortunately, my wife is an extremely good writer and editor and when it looked like I would NEVER be able to write a coherent account of my research she showed me how my thoughts could be made to tell a coherent story. After about a year as a postdoc she switched to working with words full time; since then she has edited several scientific journals, done freelance writing and editing, and now works full time for a medical communications agency.

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31. homsar on August 28, 2007 1:32 PM writes...

Zany is absolutely correct. Anyone who had a miserable advisor experience probably knew what they were getting into early on, but just thought "It won't happen to me". If generations of graduate students have been miserable in a certain lab, then don't join that lab, no matter how famous the professor is. You owe it to yourself to be able to do things outside of the lab, to distance yourself from your work once in a while, and not have your advisor go insane on you for doing so. And I am saying this as an assistant professor at a pretty good school. I treat my students like people, as Zany's advisor obviously did, and so do many others. There are a lot of professors out there who are part of the school of positive reinforcement; you just never hear about them. It's human nature to complain loudly, so that you can't hear the people who have had enjoyable graduate school experiences. If you're considering graduate school, in any field, remember that your relationship with your advisor will be longer than the average Hollywood marriage, so you better get along with them, and you better see eye-to-eye about what is acceptable with regard to work ethic and everything else.

The bottom line is that very few of us are doing anything that is so important that we should be miserable doing it.

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32. Dana H. on August 28, 2007 1:42 PM writes...

I had a really good time in grad school. Sure, I worked hard, but I and my fellow chemistry grad students played hard as well. I had a girlfriend, went to concerts ranging from the Grateful Dead to the Ramones, and made semi-regular trips with friends into San Francisco.

But thinking back on it, almost none of the other students I hung out with were synthetic organic types. Based on others' comments here, perhaps the best advice for chemistry grad students who don't want their morale ground to dust is, "Do P-chem, not O-chem!" (I was in theoretical physical chemistry -- classical statistical mechanics and computer simulations.)

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33. Chrispy on August 28, 2007 2:57 PM writes...


I had a good time in Grad school. Great advisor, interesting, largely self-guided projects. The money sucked but if you were into the science the hours were OK.

Someone previously said to pick your group wisely, and that is very true. I would also add to make sure that they are well-funded because if it all goes belly-up while you're in your third year then you've got a heap-o-trouble.

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34. MJ on August 28, 2007 3:58 PM writes...

Reading this as I am writing up (defending next month) has improved my spirits greatly.

Also, a note from my perspective (experimental physical/biophysical chemistry here) - theoretical p. chem. definitely seems to have the edge over experimental in terms of having a life. You spend most of your time fixing and calibrating your instruments in order to get a few good measurements as an experimentalist.

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35. tgibbs on August 28, 2007 4:08 PM writes...

I'm faculty in a pharmacology department. These days, most students applying for our PhD program are planning to eventually go into industry. We generally encourage this. The availability of jobs in industry is what frees us from the Malthusian dilemma of most PhD granting departments, and makes it possible for almost all of our students to find careers in pharmacology (and the ones who don't usually have found something else that appeals to them more). Most of our students do eventually go into industry, and those that I have been in contact with have mostly been happy. Some students come to us with a background in industry and are looking to round out their knowledge of pharmacology. We try to support student interest in industry by arranging opportunities for students to interact with industry scientists, and students who want to can do a summer internship in an industry lab.

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36. Pace on August 29, 2007 2:46 PM writes...

Nice to hear from tgibss there are jobs somewhere. Problem is that US chemistry is shrinking and nobody in the Academic world will acknowledge this. Lots of self hating chemists out there who 'think its their own fault' while in reality its the academic thugs that want to stuff labs to the brim with low paid wage slaves.

ABOLISH tenure, and limit lab sizes and you'll see changes. Simple solution really.

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37. Anonymous on August 30, 2007 10:46 AM writes...

As a fifth year grad student in synthetic organic chemistry, it does my psyche wonders to read discussion threads like this one. Being surrounded every day only by other grad students makes it seem like the world it is full of nothing but miserable grad students. It helps me immensely to read comments from other (non-faculty) folks who have made it through successfully to remind me that grad school, too, shall pass.

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38. Philocrates on August 30, 2007 1:44 PM writes...

Agree with Dave #19. In my opinion, the management skills exhibited by these "notorious" academics in relation to their PhD students are totally appalling and interestingly counterproductive. These people, if they were group managers in Industry, would be dispensed with almost immediately. Any manager that has a record as follows would be fired: e.g. for every 10 reportees, one suffers a nervous breakdown / psychological trauma, 4 leave the profession after a few years, 3 survive but are inhibited and 2 perform outstanding work to prove the boss wrong. Only 20-30% effectiveness. A more supportive atmosphere would acheive much better results for the students and their supervisor.

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39. RKN on September 2, 2007 8:20 PM writes...

The bottom line is that very few of us are doing anything that is so important that we should be miserable doing it.

Suitable for framing.

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