Signup date: 30 Jul 2013 at 1:03am
Last login: 31 Mar 2015 at 8:35pm
Post count: 2
It is funny that you mentioned your health. I became pretty depressed near the end of my PhD that I went back to boxing (did little bit of that for fun at the end of college). I was pretty careful with hits to the head. However, I think the long hours of sitting un-ergonomically in front of a laptop + repetitive jabs gave me a neck injury. It was serious enough to disrupt my social & physical life for about one and half years. Finally about recovered now.
Now I realize, nothing is ever more important than your health.
I finished my PhD August of 2013 after 6 long grueling years. My PhD experience was pretty horrible. Even though I loved mathematics and computer science in college, I didn't enjoy the type of research that my department was conducting. It is only towards the end of my PhD that I discovered the area of research that I think I enjoy.
My PhD had quite a few instances of intellectual stimulation and joy, but it was overshadowed by my inability to answer the question of "why am I doing this?". I often felt lonely and lost. There were times when my depression was quite severe (never had medications though). I remember just losing it once while driving on a suburban road when I started swerving my car from left to right like crazy.
Finally, somehow I managed to finish and prove two nice theorems that has no practical applications / purposes. Now that I started working in the industry, I feel that industrial work can be just as challenging and stimulating as PhD. Furthermore, there is an element of direct applicability and impact that resonates with me strongly. This puts me back into depression occasionally but I realize that I could have entered the industry 6 years ago and not go through the suffering that I experienced.
The PhD does give me some edge though. I'm far faster at picking up technical information and machine learning research papers than my non-PhD peers. Although it is difficult to say if I could have acquired this skill via working.
Ironically enough, I feel that the biggest positive lesson I learned during the PhD is how to be honest to yourself and have a strong will to make tough decisions like quitting a PhD. I regret not having such strong will / courage in my 2nd and 3rd year to quit the program and go into work / maybe different PhD program.
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