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AcademicGround >> Getting a PhD later in life?


2/15/07 4:29 PM
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New2MMA
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Edited: 15-Feb-07
Member Since: 04/13/2003
Posts: 1178
 
I've been teaching physics for a few years now and love the subject more and more. I started out teaching chemistry and that is what I have a degree in. I've been playing with the idea of going back to school, completing some undergrad courses in physics, and going back to grad school to study it. Does anyone here have any experience with going back to grad school part-time, while working full time, having a family, etc? How about just going back to school for 2, 3 or 4 years? Tell me about it if you do.
2/15/07 5:02 PM
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rkjmd
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Edited: 15-Feb-07 09:36 PM
Member Since: 01/03/2007
Posts: 1629
I just did it. It's possible, but very difficult. Time pressure is ungodly. Try not to get fat and out of shape like I did. And try to limit the enormous student loan debt. Other than that, you'll love it. Spend one full weekend day with your family every two weeks to keep it real.
2/19/07 5:45 PM
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rkjmd
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Edited: 19-Feb-07
Member Since: 01/03/2007
Posts: 1766
Do it.
2/26/07 10:09 PM
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rkjmd
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Edited: 26-Feb-07
Member Since: 01/03/2007
Posts: 1953
So, are you?
3/19/07 7:43 AM
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eabeam
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Edited: 19-Mar-07
Member Since: 08/28/2001
Posts: 2266
I am getting my Ed.D. and I am 34 with a wife and child. I am also trying to keep a full-time job. It is possible, but get your life together 1st. In less than 2 years, I have gained 10 lbs. I have lost an inch on my neck, chest, and thighs only to find them on my gut. I get winded thinking about exercise. I was a Division 1 rower for 2 years as an undergrad. I fought muay thai and submission at ages 28 and 29. It is not like I was out of shape to begin with....
3/21/07 1:11 PM
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DustDevil
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Edited: 21-Mar-07
Member Since: 06/27/2004
Posts: 855
"It is possible, but get your life together 1st." eabeam, I know you're making a common sense statement here, but can you explain a little more about what you're talking about? What do you think you (or anyone) needs to get together before taking on a graduate program later in life? I'm asking because I'm looking at the same prospect.
3/21/07 4:32 PM
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Ted Bennett
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Edited: 21-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 5946

"It is possible, but get your life together 1st."

I can't speak for eabeam, but having been through 5 years of grad school and 3 years of post-grad internship and fellowship, I have an idea or two.

You have to be able to focus on what you are doing. It will likely require way more time than a simple 40 hour a week job. If you do school alone, that's one thing, I think anyone with a decent IQ and good work ethic can handle most Ph.D. programs. If you do school and work, it's much, much harder. If you're married and have kids as well, the demands on your time can be brutal.

So, in essence, anything that is a drain on your time or your thinking needs to go. If you spend a lot of time worrying about credit card debt, if you're always having to work on your time-sink of a house, if you and your spouse are always fighting, if your kid has tons of medical problems requiring lots of your attention, etc., all of those things will have a negative impact on your schooling, possibly to the extent that you will not finish.

And eabeam is right about exercise, sadly, IMHO ;-) Matter of fact, I started grad school in '96, and just *yesterday* I lifted weights seriously for the first time since that first year. Side note - I feel like I'm going to DIE, I never would have thought that 2 sets of 10 squats of a measly 135 pounds would make me seriously consider having my legs amputated just to stop the pain :-P I thank all that is holy that I didn't attempt to lift the weights I remember lifting back in the day....

(and for the thread starter - I probably mentioned this before, but I had a classmate who started her Ph.D. at 59. Age is no limit, man.)

 

3/21/07 11:07 PM
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eabeam
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Edited: 21-Mar-07
Member Since: 08/28/2001
Posts: 2269
To be more specific, try to avoid any unnecessary life transitions. Get a job that you can tolerate for the duration, you do not want to be searching for a new job, getting a promotion, etc. Don't try to start a family, move, etc. These are all great things, but not at the same time.
3/22/07 1:57 AM
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DustDevil
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Edited: 22-Mar-07
Member Since: 06/27/2004
Posts: 856
Thanks for the responses guys - that really helps.

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