So, you want to get a PhD …

I think all undergrads who are toying with the idea of doing a PhD should read this cartoon. Doing a PhD just because your CGPA is good, or because some professor offers it to you (which may give you the illusion that you are smart) can lead to regrets later in life.
The Long and Winding Road to a PhDP/S:

1. The only consolation seems to be the relatively large gap between PhD holders and non-PhD holders in Asia.

2.”… For many, the appeal of the ‘life of the mind’ – being buried in books and surrounded by the intellectual elite – is the ultimate fantasy …” – I wish that was true!

3. Apparently, the problem of lack of job opportunities for PhD holders has become important enough to warrant a Nature editorial on it.


About Tsung Fei

A teacher, researcher in the bioinformatics division at the University of Malaya
This entry was posted in Education. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to So, you want to get a PhD …

  1. Sophos says:

    Please share your own experience about getting a PhD.

    Nice poster btw.

    • jlkuan says:

      Yes. Please do share. I am very keen to know too.

      Awesome cartoon. “10% have considered suicide..” LOL.

      • Sophos says:

        Yeah.. I’m just in my undergraduate studies and studying feels like suiciding already lols

      • Tsung Fei says:

        The best part was meeting some people who I can consider to be very good friends even though we may have only known each other for 2 years (convergence of minds on some topics of substance). I consider myself lucky to have had professional guidance from my supervisor, who is more like a friend to me.

        Also I had the opportunity to discover the joys of backpacking around South East Asia during the year end breaks. Venturing into unfamiliar places where language barrier is a serious problem, and subsequently overcoming it, has been an enriching experience.

    • Tsung Fei says:

      Well I did get depressed after my work was initially dismissed as redundant in my first viva. For a month I was not able to function (suicide was not on my mind though). However around the same time I also received some feedback about my work which had been submitted to some journals earlier. From there I followed some pointers and managed to produce something that finally satisfied the examiner (who also found out that his initial assessment was not totally justified).

      A friend of mine, whom I used to meet quite often and shared an office space with me for a year, graduated a year later. Three months into his job as a postdoc, he committed suicide by jumping out of the window from a flat. He was a brilliant guy, and a single child in a family.

      • KS says:

        Nice article TF, as well as the poster.
        Just share a point of my view, I think research life should be enjoyed, then only we will feel the happiness of learning. Most of us just feeling upset once we can’t get the forecast results. Research is somehow search, research and search again. And we enjoy the searching process. Sometimes, the searching process is more interesting than the results obtained (no matter it can or cannot be published).

      • Tsung Fei says:

        Hi KS! Good research takes time. This is not well-understood by administrators, who are eager to rail off publication statistics. I see around me much wasted efforts producing mediocre research that have no impact whatsoever on public life or the scientific community. Perhaps in time, I will also be guilty of such conducts, if not already.

  2. Sophos says:

    Okay, so you contributed to the 54% who felt depressed.

    Nobody would be paying you if you take too much time to do publish a research. Nothing much could be done, I think. Money is still one of the factor.

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