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Asked a question 7 months ago

What inspired you to do a PhD?

Where am I?

In Researchersjob you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

There are many reasons why I decided to study for a Ph.D., but perhaps the most compelling was the intellectual curiosity that drove me to ask questions. I had vowed to become a scientist in college, and when I finally arrived at Haverford, I was prepared to become a theoretical physicist. But this wasn't enough. I had to find the research that really interested me. It was during my first year of graduate school that I realized that I had stumbled upon something I would never be able to escape: the overwhelming fascination of learning about the world and, through it, the world learned about me.

I was always interested in studying math, but it took some time for me to realize that I had an aptitude for it. When I was 16, I started working on my master's thesis in linear algebra, and I realized that I was really good at it. I was so excited, and I decided I would go on to do my Ph.D.

In deciding what exactly to do a Ph.D. in, the short answer is that I was not always sure. It was not until I became more deeply involved in research (and in my own studies in particular), that I felt that I had found something that I could devote my life to, in some sense, too. So, in that sense, I suppose the answer to your question is "yes".

Somewhere along the way during my time as an undergraduate, I realized that I was not satisfied with what I was studying. This was not a sudden epiphany, nor an idea that came to me overnight, but rather one that was slowly growing and evolving as I looked at my previous coursework and experiences. My research project had been an exercise in frustration, and I was looking for something more. So the Ph.D. journey starts with a sudden...

I had my eyes set on becoming a physics professor. But the path to completing a Ph.D. can be tedious, and I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the next 5-8 years studying a single subject. When I left, I had courses to satisfy general education requirements, a research project to complete, and a thesis to defend. After a year of struggling to find my path, I started to question my original goal. Then, I realized I had already done what I wanted to do. I was engaged in physics research and was working with some of the brightest people I'd ever met.

One of my most memorable moments in university came when my professor asked me about my aspirations for graduate school. We were sitting in the library one day after the lecture, and her words stuck with me. She said that the best job she could ever imagine was to be a professor at a university because it would give her the freedom to explore her own interests.

So, this was my inspiration...

When I was a teenager, my parents constantly told me that I should do whatever I was passionate about in life. They constantly urged me to find my true calling in life. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world, but wasn't sure exactly how. That's when I started to look more closely at the careers of the people around me. I realized that if I was going to make a difference, I had to start early. I wanted to help children succeed in school, so I started to research careers in education. I was drawn to psychology because of its emphasis on helping people. I also was interested in the field of public health, so I decided to get a degree in psychology combined with a degree in public and go for Ph.D.