Why PhD?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Why PhD?

Postby dasgut » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:39 am

So I thought this could be a good thread to start as admissions season starts. If for no other reason than to remind us why we're even subjecting ourselves to this hellish maelstrom. Why'd you decide to a PhD? Why are you drawn to research and not the work world?

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Re: Why PhD?

Postby sasha » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:30 am

can't speak for everyone, but I just want to meet interesting people, learn new ideas, and try to become an expert in something. I guess you would be doing something similar in the industry as well, but the atmosphere and the work dynamic would be somewhat different; while in school there is a bit more freedom as to what you want to learn.

I don't mean to say there aren't exceptions. I'm sure there are jobs that are rewarding both financially and intellectually. I just haven't come across something like that yet.

Besides, I think that in general you have a certain window of time for getting involved in a serious research program (again, only in general.) Given that it is possible to enter industry after your PhD if you really wanted to, I choose graduate work first.

Plus, many jobs in my country involves crazy hours and devastating amount of drinking. I don't mind that too much, but I want to try something different while my brain cells are still alive. :)

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Re: Why PhD?

Postby dragoonlp » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:34 am

To be honest, the first reason came into my mind is: if I can get a phd degree, it will be very cool! but of course, I want to meet more people, learn more theories, ideas, and do some research. To really create some thing NEW.

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Re: Why PhD?

Postby deckoff8 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:12 am

As someone who's kinda got cold feet after going through the entire process, I'm glad other people have reasons that lean more towards "it''ll be cool and get to meet interesting people" than "Because if I can't do math then I'll slit my wrists."

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Re: Why PhD?

Postby birdbrain » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:04 pm

1. I've wanted a math PhD since I was in grade school.
2. I want to do research at a serious level in math--problems are harder than typical "work" problems (you can make them as hard as you want), and the results don't disappear if the budget is cut or a new manager comes in.
3. I got really tired of working in a cube farm!!!

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Re: Why PhD?

Postby quinquenion » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:26 pm

For the PhD part, like many of the earlier posters, I really enjoy both the challenge of solving research problems and the company of interesting people. :D

As for math, I've tried to not do math several times now, but the universe (or maybe just my subconscious) has repeatedly conspired to pull me back. I finally decided to embrace it and see if going for an applied math PhD is more agreeable to the Fates. :P

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