17 Sep 2015

Ideas come with experience

I often get questions like this:
I am currently in the middle of writing Statement of Purpose (SOP) for my economics Phd application. I have my undergrad and now trying to finish a masters degree. The problem is that i dont have so much research experience to write down on my SOP. Nor do i have a very specific idea on what my future research direction would go. All i know is that i am very concerned about environment issues.

I feel it is probably not a good idea to write down only my passions and concerns. But, in reality, i dont have much research background and a lucid idea of where Phd is going to take me. Even though, i really want to acquire the skills and be able to engage with this world by discovering or possibly solving its problems. Can you help me?
I replied with:
I ALWAYS recommend a few years between BS and MS and between MS and PhD, so that students have time to see the world, how it works and think about themselves and what's interesting to them.

If you have more experience then an SOP is easier...

The best PhDs are those who can help normal people, not those who live in the ivory tower..."
Bottom Line: Don't rush. Education and experience are both necessary to think creatively about ideas and solutions.


RM said...

You captured that oh so well David. Why is there such a societal (perceived) rush to pursue higher degrees. Like you said, give some time for growth and perspective. Except maybe when all the world economies are in a recession, but then again, an opportunity for creativity and thoughtfulness.

David Zetland said...

Yeah I'm not a big fan of study bc you can't get a job? (What makes you think you'd be any good as a student?)

Unknown said...

One of my few regrets is that I didn't take at least a full year of working before going to grad school. I had a good job and could have stayed, but was eager to get that MS. My (probably justified) fear at the time was that I would get comfortable earning a nice living and never get around to grad school. Ultimately that MS did me no good, and I ended up going back to grad school for a second Masters, which worked out very well for me.

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