“You need to think carefully before you jump into this deep sea,” said Professor Daniel Levy at the very beginning of a presentation entitled “Why can a PhD be bad for you?”. While this statement sounded frightening to those who were planning to pursue a PhD or other further studies, it appeared to be more bemusing for others who were not considering a career in academia.
Based on his personal experience, Dr. Levy explained that substantial difficulties come with academic life: a PhD is not a continuation of an MA, and it constitutes an “unbelievable amount of commitment”. It requires “focus, and lots of patience, time and energy”. Dr Levy recalled that during his studies, he took most of his meals sitting in front of a computer or with his nose buried in a book.
Dr. Levy claimed that as an economist, one should think about the costs and benefits of academic life, although he claimed that the public image of academics is often distorted; being a researcher is perceived to be boring by many, though in reality it has its advantages. Researchers have academic freedom to choose their own project and can take their work anywhere they go, giving researchers flexibility not enjoyed by other professions. Additionally, researches do not suffer from the “Monday effect” due to their passion for their field and their more relaxed schedules. Dr. Levy finished his presentation by providing practical advice on procedures and preparations for applying for PhD programs and shared his secret of success: “modesty is the key of learning”.