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155 votes

I wasted six years of my life getting a PhD degree. What should I do, and how will I survive?

It looks to me like you did not do so badly as you think. Two publications and 3.7 GPA are not so bad. It might depend on the field, it might not be the best ever, but I have seen much worse. If your ...
wimi's user avatar
  • 8,499
150 votes

Googling my name reveals silly things from when I was younger. I am embarassed. How will this affect me in my future academic career?

I'm deeply involved in web technologies, including search results. The simplest and fastest way to solve this problem is to add other search results. The more "legitimate" and positive results found, ...
Mayo's user avatar
  • 1,563
133 votes

Mathematics Stack Exchange as an indicator for academic career

The only thing that a high MSE or MO reputation indicates is that a person spends too much time on the internet (and I say that as someone with a reasonably high reputation on MO). I don't think you ...
Andy Putman's user avatar
  • 3,313
133 votes

Googling my name reveals silly things from when I was younger. I am embarassed. How will this affect me in my future academic career?

Relax. No one cares, and no one will judge you on what you said when you were 12. (At least, no one who was ever 12 years old themselves...)
Raghu Parthasarathy's user avatar
105 votes

When someone cites one of your papers, is it a good idea to send an email to the authors to show appreciation?

Straight answer: NO it's not a good idea Citing someone is (and should) be neither a favor nor a gesture of politeness. So there's no point to send a thank you email. Thanking someone for a citation ...
Herman Toothrot's user avatar
94 votes

Changing mind after rejecting a job offer

People change their minds. This is a reality. It would not hurt you to ask if the position is still open. Explain the situation and ask if they would still be interested in hiring you for a post-doc....
Vladhagen's user avatar
  • 18.9k
94 votes
Accepted

Why do so many PhDs choose to join academia instead of industry given the pay in academia is considerably lower and the workload is much heavier?

In CS field, an entry-level software engineer in top-tier tech companies (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.) could earn as much as a 20-year experience professor....Why do so many PhDs still choose to ...
sean's user avatar
  • 17.6k
88 votes
Accepted

In academia, does the amount of material that one has to learn diminish as time progresses?

The first paper I read took two months to process. Now, I can skim through two papers for breakfast. It is not that you get more material to read, but rather you get much more efficient at skipping ...
Per Alexandersson's user avatar
87 votes

Stay in academia or become professor without overworking, is it possible?

This is a bit opinion-based, but I'll offer my own personal take on an answer in the hopes that it might be useful; at least parts of what I wrote below seem pretty generally applicable to me. Is ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 192k
68 votes
Accepted

PhD Advisor Slander to Postdoc PI

Why is it you think all the other professors there think you're incompetent? The three of them that know your work best, besides your advisor, all thought you earned a PhD; one of them hired you to ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
67 votes
Accepted

Getting married abroad on August 21st, job begins on August 23rd. What do I do?

The best way to handle a situation like this is to get in touch with your Head of Department / Director of Teaching in advance (perhaps, after you receive a formal offer) and discuss your situation. ...
Dmitry Savostyanov's user avatar
66 votes

Googling my name reveals silly things from when I was younger. I am embarassed. How will this affect me in my future academic career?

European Union privacy rules include certain aspects of the right to be forgotten. I am not an expert on what this means precisely, but it seems to include the right to have search engines remove ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 192k
66 votes

What distinguishes the people who get academic jobs from the people who don't?

All of those things. A good economy. Lots of retiring old professors. Luck. An open and friendly personality. Some obvious "fire" in your gut about pursuing questions. Teaching ability. ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
64 votes

Should I hold back some ideas for after my PhD?

I don't see a point in holding back ideas on purpose, at least not for a longer time. If you are doing well in research, you will generally have more interesting ideas than you have time to pursue. ...
user151413's user avatar
  • 6,077
63 votes
Accepted

First-year PhD giving a talk among well-established researchers in the field

Let's flip this question around and imagine that you, as a first year anthropology PhD student, are now visiting your high school. One of the students asked your former teachers if you would be ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 132k
62 votes
Accepted

I feel like male professors don't feel comfortable taking me as a student. How should I address this problem?

Just keep looking and don't get discouraged (Most male academics can behave themselves around pretty ladies) I suppose this shows the kind of spectrum of variation that men have when encountering an ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 69.3k
62 votes

Is there a point in pursuing a PhD outside of top universities?

There are so many things wrong with your question :-) The point of a PhD is not only so that you can become a professor. A PhD is also both an education that opens doors for future jobs in industrial ...
Wolfgang Bangerth's user avatar
62 votes
Accepted

If it takes a very long time to get a referee report, does that mean the referee wanted to sabotage me?

For these types of situations, you should apply a variation of Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity/laziness/professional incompetence." ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 69.3k
61 votes

Trying to write several short, unimpactful papers to boost publication record

I disagree with one point made by Buffy. People will absolutely count your papers. Whether it is a job interview panel or a promotion, the number of publications is going to be a metric everyone will ...
Dmitry Savostyanov's user avatar
58 votes
Accepted

How does it look if I finish my PhD in five years instead of four?

The quality of your thesis overshadows the length/duration of your PhD. Having said that, it depends on your goals. If you clearly think (and your adviser as well) that another year would make a big ...
PsySp's user avatar
  • 8,189
57 votes
Accepted

How should I address racist comments from a superior?

My solution wouldn't be to attack the person in any way, not in real time nor later. I would probably be inclined to say (US perspective) "Actually I rather enjoy the multicultural environment ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
56 votes

Career prospects in theoretical physics after nightmare PhD

I think you should consider transferring to another grad school. Certainly prospects on the post-doc market won't be good without any publications, interesting work, or a strong letter of ...
cag51's user avatar
  • 70k
55 votes

Career change: Entering Academia realistic at 36?

I'll answer as a life-long academic (now retired) with a PhD in biomedical sciences. I have true appreciation for your motivation and admire your willingness to take such a courageous career step, but ...
Douglas Perry PhD's user avatar
54 votes
Accepted

Struggling to present results from long papers in short time slots

Attempting to fit the material of your paper into a talk is a common mistake: even for shorter papers, there is typically simply too much to include all of the significant details. Instead, I ...
jakebeal's user avatar
  • 189k
51 votes

Should I apply to an academic tenure-track job even if I am not a 100% fit?

Not applying is suboptimal and self defeating. It is the university that you apply to that makes the determination of your "fit". They know things that you don't and there may be factors ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
50 votes
Accepted

How to become a better researcher in a shorter amount of time?

My first, and maybe best, advice would be to do more collaborations. Collaborations with local and remote colleagues. Collaborations with students. Build yourself a circle of people willing to work ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
49 votes
Accepted

Pros and cons of writing a book review?

There are several benefits of writing book reviews for publication: Develop an understanding of the publications that are out there. Just like how reading academic papers affords you the benefit of ...
Vladhagen's user avatar
  • 18.9k
49 votes

How should I address racist comments from a superior?

You seem to be taking a fairly dichotomous view of this situation where you have to decide whether to “call out racism” or just sit there and do nothing. In my view, this false dichotomy comes from ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 69.3k

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