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The life of a Ph.D. student, how does it differ from that of an undergraduate?

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Ph.D. students are at the cutting edge of scientific research, developing new technologies that could revolutionize the world. They comprise the elite of the scientific community, spending long hours each day working with some of the brightest minds on the planet, making incredible discoveries and solving some of the most difficult problems of our time. But, all of this academic work comes with a price.

Ph.D. students are like no other group of students in academia. These are long, rigorous, demanding, and lonely. It's not unusual to study (and write) for several hours a day, every day. It's not unusual to have to write papers, defend your research, and teach undergraduate classes while still working on your own research. And yet, you still have the freedom to decide on your own research topic, while still being able to choose your advisor, your lab, and your teaching responsibilities.

The average undergraduate student attends school for 3 or more years, while the average Ph.D. student attends for 5 or more years. There are many similarities, but some differences between the two, too. Ph.D. students are notorious for their hectic schedules, which include attending classes, writing papers, and running experiments. In contrast, undergraduates often have little extra time after classes, and it's common for them to enjoy a more active lifestyle.

While a Ph.D. student may have a hectic, nontraditional schedule that allows only a few hours a night for studying, a typical undergraduate student may have a more typical day that includes a regular school schedule, a part-time job, and a social life.

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As a Ph.D. student, you may be spending a lot of your time in the lab. You'll be using microscopes and working in a sterile lab, and your research will be limited to the lab environment. In contrast, undergraduate students will have a lot more freedom when it comes to personal life. 

As a Ph.D. student, I've had the opportunity to attend conferences, teach classes, and give talks. I've also had the chance to meet many graduate students, and I've learned that most of them feel like they're in their own little world—and they're not necessarily wrong. I've been asked hundreds of questions about how the Ph.D. experience compares to that of an undergraduate, from whether or not I think it's harder to get a job as a grad student to what I think the best part of graduate school is. The answers to those questions can be tricky, as each person's Ph.D. experience is different. However, I think there are some ways in which the two experiences are similar.

About PhD

  1. A PhD is not easy work 
  2. A PhD is a big investment of time, money, effort, and dedication 
  3. A PhD can be a gateway to a bright future 
  4. The life of a Ph.D. student is very hard 
  5. You have to study hard, work hard, and work on your own project 
  6. You have to be organised and disciplined 
  7. You have to be able to work under pressure 
  8. If your supervisor is not good, you will have a hard time 
  9. You have to submit your project regularly
  10. You have to prepare for your viva voce