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core


Apr 7, 2006, 3:50 PM
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PhD's
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To preface this discussion: I don't think I have the balls to quit my job and be the free spirit that I dream about. So I pose questions and express my thoughts knowing that I'll always be a slave to the grind, a career dude...a weekend warrior.

I'm looking for some input from the climbing community on higher education. I'm nearing the end of my MS program, my research (as well as my interest/momentum) is really taking off. My advisor is strongly encouraging me to continue my work, even if it means leaving my current institution.

Though I'm interested, and good at what I do, I'm hesitant to devote so much more time to academia. As it is, I can't climb enough, and hardly make enough to pay much more than rent. All I dream about is getting back to my 9-5 :oops:, from which I'm on a LOA, so that I can have a structured schedule. (read: evening and weekends off to play)

Pursuing my research and getting my PhD would be stimulating and interesting, but I'm concerned it would require a great deal of sacrifice. I know some of you are PhD’s...can you share your thoughts and experiences with this? At this point all I dream about are vacations and weekend trips that are free of the guilt I feel from taking time away from my work.

Oh am I missing climbing…


caughtinside


Apr 7, 2006, 3:57 PM
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At this point all I dream about are vacations and weekend trips that are free of the guilt I feel from taking time away from my work.


collegekid


Apr 9, 2006, 4:08 PM
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Why don't you just take a few months off to take a roadtrip, then get back to your research?


styndall


Apr 9, 2006, 4:15 PM
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Somebody clever once said that you should only get a Ph.D. if you can't live without it.

I can't say what you need without knowing you, but you just need to figure out what drives you. Are you a climber who does research on the side, or are you a research scientist who climbs on his downtime?


core


Apr 9, 2006, 6:43 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I think I'd rather have life/climbing-adventures define me as a person, rather than my career. Through your responses and messages, I've started to think that it might be more important to ask myself if this path (previously unseen or not considered) is one I'd rather take.

I grew bored with my projects when I was working as a consulting engineer. So I went back to school to get my MS with the hope that it would demonstrate my technical competency to my employers and then allow me to work on more stimulating jobs.

Now I find myself loving the self structured research environment, pursuing whatever it is that I love or am good at. The problem is......It seems like the successful or stable researches are the one that devote A LOT of time to their research. While I may really like it, I don't want to be consumed by it. Consulting from 9-5 provided rigid separation between work and play, and I was really able to not give a shit about my job when I wasn't there.

…and I’m getting sick of being broke and accumulating debt. :?


Partner bear829


Apr 9, 2006, 7:15 PM
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You could always do what my mum does. She goes to school full time, for her masters in higher English Education. This semester she is taking 20 credit hours, has a full time job and a part time job tutoring. She also does yoga and loves to go out to the bars when she has a chance. (I am strongly against having so much on your plate, but it can be done.)


Partner camhead


Apr 10, 2006, 9:11 AM
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I'm a little over a year away from completing a PhD in American history. While there is tons of work, psychosis, stress, and most scary, moments of doubt, the last four years have been a very positive experience.

AND, I've had plenty of time to climb. I've taken large summer roadtrips, crammed for my qualifying exams out of the back of my truck in Potrero Chico, and it's looking like I will finish writing the dissertation next year while living about a mile from the base of Castleton Tower. It is totally possible to balance academic passions with climbing.

The key is to stay single, unmarried, and childless. I see my peers at school who have families, mortgages, and pressures, and realize that THESE are the ones who have put all passions on hold, and who have unwittingly committed themselves to the indentured servitude of 21st century society.

Good luck.


rmsusa


Apr 10, 2006, 9:33 AM
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In reply to:
I think I'd rather have life/climbing-adventures define me as a person, rather than my career.

Ultimately, climbing is ephemeral. Unless you're a VERY special person (like Beckey), it is not something you'll do with the same enthusiasm and desire when you're 80. I think it's too narrow and self-absorbed a pursuit to define a life.

In your engineering work, you'll be able to contribute real, concrete things that help peoples lives and endure. To do this, you don't need a PhD. The masters and your PE will be fine.

Think hard about academics. It IS difficult. It DOES require a dedication bordering on obsession. I had to leave it because I wanted a life. There's a lot of competition and it doesn't pay very well. It's also an adolescent community. You can look at that as keeping you young or as preventing you from moving on. By instructing the young and contributing to the knowledge base, you're helping humans move to a better place.

Think hard about it for a month or so, then make a decision and stick with it. Do what's right for YOU.


johnhenry


Apr 10, 2006, 1:26 PM
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Registered: Feb 27, 2002
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I agree with a lot of what has been said.

I am deep in a Phd program and you REALLY have to want to succeed. There are just too many reasons to let it slide.

Have you ever been self-employed? I think Phd work is alot like being self employed. You wake up and you have to decide what to do.

While I climb less during school, I can take much longer and better road trips!

Shit, I had better get back to writing...

Best of luck,
john


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