Saturday, August 8, 2015

Recovery Time

Short post which is a follow-up to the last post on the effects a PhD can have on our physical health, which is often neglected or ignored in the face of the mental health issues associated with such an arduous and stressful process. I was particularly struck by this tweet:
This reminded me of a workshop I attended about applying for PostDocs. One person asked the panel whether taking 3-6 months off after completion of the PhD would be detrimental to the job search. I think many of us in the room anticipated a response which sympathised with the student and acknowledged the need for rest and recuperation. However, the answer was both surprising and disheartening. One panel member responded that such a gap between PhD and job applications would appear negatively to future employers. If you did take time off after the PhD you should at least be able to demonstrate that you were actively engaged in academia through continued publications. This was presented as the bare minimum a recent PhD should be doing.

So much for rest and relaxation, eh?! Why is it considered better to be unemployed and job hunting after the PhD than actively choosing to take some time to relax and reflect on the past 3-4 years (and longer in the US) of your life?! I felt that the comment showed a shocking lack of understanding and empathy towards other students.

I would call for those in the capacity to provide advice to current PhDs to show empathy, recalling what the doctoral experience was for them, and trying to put themselves in the mindset of someone who may have faced more obstacles, challenges, and stress than them.

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