Thursday, August 2, 2012

To PhD or Not PhD. That is the Question!

I haven't been posting as much lately, and that's probably due to the fact that I'm working full time (AND HAVE WAY TOO MUCH FREE TIME!). Hahaha, getting A's in school is much more difficult and time consuming than getting "Good Jobs" at work. I've been watching too much of the Olympics. hehehe

I'm at the end of my undergrad career, and I basically have 1 more engineering class to take which I'm super excited for. It'll be the only main challenge I'll have with an awesome professor I had during Winter Quarter. Other than that...I'm taking stupid general classes, and I'm trying to pick out the most "useful" so I'm not bored out of my mind this fall.

But, actually, I've been struggling a lot with whether or not to pursue a PhD program.  As many of you know, I will be applying in Fall for graduate school.  And I'm thinking of not pursuing a's how I did my research.  First, I thought about this blog, where I spill wonderful advice to current or future engineering undergraduates. I figured, "Well there's gotta be a few engineering-female-phd-professor-like blogs out there." Well I found several. And I realized that the PhD (and the later career) is surrounded by data. Creating data, analyzing data, finding more ways to create data. Which, it may be for some...but maybe not for me.

I was thinking about what I value in life... and I've seen myself promoting the creation of something "useful" from that data. That's the whole reason why I became an engineer! Notice: I know having the data is important...but I see myself using it rather than creating it. So therefore, I think having a research background is important. But I've seen the PhD in a new light, and it's re-affirmed what everyone's told me. The lead scientist I worked for at NASA said, "Serena, we need people who can find meaningful information and trends from data." I always saw the PhD as a stepping stone to doing something "useful" with that data. But I've realized...I can do something "useful" now, and the PhD would be superfluous for me.

I'm still on the journey of life...but these are my observations so far. :-D


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