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grad school

Mon Jan 27 11:16:53 EST 1997

>To:            womenbio at net.bio.net
>From:          clizb001 at coyote.csusm.edu (d.clizbe)
>Subject:       grad school
>Date:          25 Jan 1997 17:29:14 GMT
>	I was wondering what current thoughts were on the subject of a MS
>vs a PhD. I realize that this is not a simple question and that it 
>a variety of personal experiences, however I need some solid advice. I 
>have the
>opportunity to choose between two extremely desirable graduate programs
>one a two year masters, the other a five to seven year PhD. The time in 
>program is 
>not really as important as what happens at the other end. I am 39 I 
>have a
>wonderful supportive family. Any advice?

Cynthia Galloway's advice is pertinent as to employment, but as a 37 
year old woman finishing her degree this year (I hope) I have a couple 
of personal things I think you should consider as well.

1) Burnout-I find that facing several more years of semi-poverty as a 
post-doc just as my kids go off to college, compounded with several 
"national" type big-wig scientists telling me I'm "too old" to be 
considered for a research faculty position has me questioning whether it 
was worth it to put so much energy into this doctorate if the only thing 
I can do afterwards is the same as I could do with a masters (I don't 
think this is really the case,l but on dark Monday mornings, it nags at 
me). The older I get, the more I value the little things in life and the 
less I want to jump through hoops for little pats on the back.  there 
are days when graduate school seems like jumping through hoops.

2) Family support.  I thought I had a wonderful supportive family.  My 
kids are still very supportive of me, though they think that after 7 
years in school, it's time I finished! (I switched programs, which 
compounded the problem).  My now ex-husband, however, bailed out when he 
realized that this wasn't a year or two of inconvience for him, but a 
way of life.  (This is a problem I think for anyone who starts something 
new after their family has gotten used to one way of living-no one likes 
change.)  The stress of grad school can bring out the best and worst in 
people.  Of the three married women in my grad program when I started, 
none still are, but the reasons are all different.  I guess what I'm 
trying to say is, don't underestimate the amount of stress a graduate 
degree is going to put on your family.  On the other hand, don't 
underestimate the amount of stress passing it by is going to put on you 
(this was the deciding factor for me-I knew I couldn't live with the 
"What if I had tried..." if I didn't try.)

And whatever you decide, the fact that you gave it careful consideration 
before you began will help get you through-I think we all have second 
thoughts sometimes, no matter what we choose.

Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805

"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck

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