Year in Review: Lows #5

Being so utterly disappointed in Facebook’s interpretation of my 2016, I decided to think seriously about how my year actually has gone. As far as things go, it’s been a pretty big one. Over the next 10 days, I’ll be reviewing my year by alternating between the worst and best bits of the year. I hope that the introspection and discussion can set us up for a better year next year.

Today, we’ll cover the the “least bad bad thing”, the 5th lowest low.

Seeing my friends suffer at the hands of their PhDs.

I work in an office full of PhD students, who are human despite what popular culture seems to think. Over the year, I’ve come to form a strong opinion on the value and problems of doctoral degrees. Experiences of people around me have shaped this, and none more so than my friends who I sit in the office with every day. To see the way that their PhDs have sapped their willingness to live has made my heart bleed, and it has made me reflect on how I have changed for the worse during my PhD.

I’ll pull no punches here. My friends are showing signs of serious problems; anxiety, depressive behaviors, alcoholism, & impostor syndrome to name but a few. There’s no one person who embodies these, I see some of these problems in many or even most of the PhD students I know. Most of them didn’t behave like that when they started.

It upsets me because it shouldn’t have to be like this.

Finally, if you need help and don’t know where to turn, try talking to the Center for Wellbeing at the University (if you’re a student or staff member). Otherwise, the charity Mind has an info line you can call 9am-6pm which can point you in the right direction: call 0300 123 3393, email info@mind.org.uk, or text 86463.

I became a donor to Mind this year because of my experiences.

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About stoove

A physicist, researcher, and gamesman. Likes to think about the mathematics and mechanics behind all sorts of different things, and writing up the thoughts for you to read. A competent programmer, enjoys public speaking and mechanical keyboards. Has opinions which might even change from time to time.
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