This post is really going to be me asking for suggestions from you guys.
As you might know, I am a PhD student. What does a PhD student do? Mainly:
-go to classes
-teach (most PhD students are either Teaching or Research Assistants)
It does not look complicated and demanding maybe. But PhD students anywhere in the world are 3-6 times more like to suffer from depression or other mental issues than other people (for example: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/03/06/new-study-says-graduate-students-mental-health-crisis)
-PhD is not a 9-5 job. You (your mind) are busy all the time. When we are not attending classes, we teach. When we are not teaching, we do our research.
-Because we always do something, we feel soooo guilty when we don’t do anything for a while. Sometimes even for a few hours.
-There is a lot of expectation. We need to publish research to be credible. But PhD students are just learners. So, we make a lot of mistakes. Getting publication out is already difficult and with our inexperience, it is even more difficult. So, judgment is made on the product and process is, meh.
-There is not much of job promise after PhD. There is a high chance of dealing with PhD, with the result that we get nothing (nothing as in ‘nothing we expected when we entered PhD’).
-We are mostly alone and we forget how to socialize. With so much to do, it is difficult to have a life outside of PhD.
So, how do we deal with all of these?
We can’t. Most people break down at some point. Granted, we mostly recover but we suffer. We recover because we are trained to be and look strong (Well, in reality, mental issues are not a sign of weakness, but oh well). How much we recover is a question that remains.
But we have limits. There is an increasing number of PhD students who give up during or after PhD or seek outside help like therapy because we are realizing that we can’t really deal with all of these anymore.
So, currently, we still suffer a lot but we are in the process of trying to change the situation. There is at least more talk about these issues. So, people are becoming less concerned about the need to look strong. But in the meantime, many people are still going to be lost. What PhD should do is to encourage people to be better scientists, which is why we hang on to it. We want to be good researchers because we like out fields. We want to do something to improve it. But currently, PhD is serving more to discourage people from being and doing that. And with all that is expected, it is not easy to be that.
Maybe one day, we will have better solutions.
So now my questions: if you have/had a very busy schedule, what do/would you do to balance your life? How do you deal with it? Is it wiser to choose something that will be less demanding, giving up on what you always wanted? What would you suggest me to do?