How tolling is Phd?

How tolling is Phd?


You will fall apart to build back better, but the PhD itself will be what you make of it. I have crashed and burned several times now but I'm learning how to take care of myself better and what's important in my life. I don't regret it, but it's one hell of a ride. A marathon is a good analogy... There are part time phds and lots of support available. Get a therapist early to help. Register with your disability department to see what they have. You'll do OK. Lots of us that do phds are a bit different in a myriad of ways. Normal people don't do phds. I got a learning disability and a severe anxiety disorder, but our different perspectives make us invaluable in research. Research thrives on different minds. In fact, my PhD helped me to get diagnosed with these things and seek proper treatment. I'm full time and work from home most days. Some days I just can't work. It got easier after I stopped fighting myself all the time. Obligations will depend on your program, field and project. With your own research you can pretty much tailor your needs around your schedule.


Depending on what type of research you end up doing, it is possible that you can split your time between lab and home, to get some of your work done in a more comfortable environment. That said, the typical PhD student works much more than 40 hours per week. It is definitely not a good call to treat it the same way as a regular full time job, because you won’t be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time even under typical circumstances. In my field it is more like 60, and there are definitely those who regularly do 80+, with a graduation time hovering around 5-6 years. I don’t want to discourage you, but I also don’t want you to end up in a situation without having the information to make informed choices!


You should consider looking into projects and sub fields with very little labwork - something where you are primarily analyzing data that someone else collected, for example. I switched out of developmental biology because I realized I don’t want to be that person sitting in an airless histology room for 40 hours per week just to get a few data points. I’m sure neuro has “desk” projects available, especially if large data sets exist for genes and gene expression? Rather than doing a lab-heavy developmental thesis, I’m now more on the ecology side of things, and have much less labwork (all of my hands-on work involves working with live animals, so I’m very happy with this.) in terms of actual writing and research work, frankly, I try to keep it to 4 hours per day of highly concentrated work so I can relax and not burn out. A few of my friends who do ecological modelling have pumped out several papers per year from their desk - this lifestyle seems great. You should also try to advocate for your own work expectations. People will tell you that most phds work 50-80 hour weeks. In my experience that is false. Most people get a few hours of actual work done per day (the exception being lab people who have to, for example, wait beside a centrifuge for an hour.) You should find out early what your limits are and match with a prof and a project for which those limits are realistic.