My officemate had some profound thoughts on PhD that she enlightened me with. She said that doing a PhD is like being in a relationship. On certain mornings, you wake up feeling all lovey dovey, floating on cloud 9, knowing that you are the luckiest person in the world to be in this relationship. You look forward to your research, have a wonderful time with your advisor, get your tuitions waived and get paid to obtain a degree. You network, publish, write, teach, nurture, learn, experiment, wonder, analyze, and grow as an individual while being a part of the relationship.
Yet on certain days, depending on that time of the month, the phase of the moon, or the phase of your (or your advisor’s) mood, you feel like screaming. You know you are living a lousy life, a thankless life of an underpaid and overworked graduate student. You spend days and nights at the lab, neglect your pet, don’t give as much time to the “real” relationship you have, never call back your mother on time, and never earn enough. The moron in the adjacent lab who you always thought was a loser graduated with a masters and is now happily working, driving a BMW, making monthly trips to Hawaii and the Bahamas, and has been voted the “most sought after single guy” on shaadi.com. Your advisor is never happy with your deliverables, midlife crisis has hit you, you are losing hair and growing fat, and speed dates and blind dates have been replaced with speed deadlines and blind deadlines. You hate this relationship. You can’t wait to get out of it.
And then you wake up again and feel so lucky, rubbing shoulders with the brightest people in the field, fantasizing about wearing that gown being hooded hopefully in the next few years, and telling yourself that while the moron next door spends his weekends partying, you burn the midnight oil for the greater cause of mankind.
And the cycle of I hate my PhD life and I love my PhD life continues …