This year I applied to several universities in the US, and got into a top program in my field. It was great news; I was given a very nice project to work on, and accepted the offer, along with excessive impostor syndrome.
Then I went to an internship to a nice university. I asked the grads there about their plans after PhD. Most of them did not have thoughts reaching that far, as if PhD was a default. This was interesting, considering the strength of the university, and made me wonder.
My motivation to go to graduate school was something along the lines "I want to work with strong people, I like working in the lab and this field seems nice". So, the self-doubt creeped in. I don't think I'm the worst candidate; I guess I am just scared of committing 6 years of my life, because with the job market I am not sure I want to be a professor and would rather work in industry.
My questions are: 1) Is it normal that I have self-doubts before even starting my PhD program? 2) Is it often for students to defer admission and take a year off to think the decision over? It's late, but it is better than going there half-hearted?