Decisions, decisions, decisions. Clare Malone, a postdoctoral fellow studying the genetics of neuroblastoma, is currently undecided about whether to apply to faculty positions or for jobs in industry. We talk through it all: her thoughts on money, morals, mentors, and the hidden work of being a female PI.
“PhDs are hard”. We all heard this when we were deciding to apply to PhD programs, but even after completing one it is difficult to articulate why a PhD is difficult. In this episode we tackle this question with Nyssa Boardman, a clinical psychologist who works with graduate students at Harvard’s Counseling and Mental Health Services. In our interview we discuss the “five-year itch”, becoming your work, how to spot a breakdown, and what Nyssa would say if she had all PhD advisors in a room.
If you have noticed persistent changes in your sleep, eating, mood, or energy level — or even if you are just feeling overwhelmed — make an appointment with your institution’s mental health center. If you or someone you know has had thoughts of harming themselves or suicide, contact a medical professional or crisis hotline such as 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Ever since we read Justin Chen’s article in STAT news about his experience as a PhD student at MIT, we knew we needed to interview him. The article, titled “Coming to terms with six years in science: obsession, isolation, and moments of wonder” poignantly describes the burnout and mental health issues which are all too common amongst PhD students. During our interview we learn more of the backstory; what prompted him to write the article, how it was received, and what he is up to now that he’s finished with his PhD.