We are all quite familiar with random hallway conversations in the Science building. You know, the ones that start with a courtesy “Hey, how’s it going?” or mutual curses to the unending winter, and soon turn into an hour long discussion covering a range of topics. I don’t remember who it was with, but one of those conversations revolved around the purpose of a PhD program, and how it can be different for different people. In fact, when asked about plans after a PhD, which is an awfully loaded question, we might feel an obligation to say ‘teaching’ or ‘professor at XYZ University’, in an effort to try and meet unspoken expectations. However, not everyone might want to become a professor. Not everyone might want to teach. May be there are other personal goals and interests that a student has, and can be fully capable of accomplishing, while using all that he/she learnt during the long hours and years of a PhD.
Here is a fairly simple post written by a professor at the University of Texas-Austin on life after grad school.
It would be interesting to know what your opinions are on such set expectations, and if you had the choice to do anything (forget money and time and family and all those trivial things for the moment :p), what you would you pick after grad school.
Let me start. Like I said earlier, I don’t like the question myself because it forces me to think way ahead in the future. But I realise that what I say need not be written in stone, and I’ve never really taught before coming here. So while my opinions on teaching are swaying by the semester, I can see myself doing a multitude of things after grad school – research, writing (all sorts), and may be a little teaching.