The power of procrastination
“The first thing to note”, says Cham, “is that procrastination is not the same thing as laziness. Laziness is when you don’t want to do anything. Procrastination, its close but distinct cousin, is when you don’t want to do the one thing you really ought to be doing, right now. It’s not that you don’t want to do it, it’s just that you find doing everything else possible, from some completely obscure hobby to categorising the entire internet, like the Yahoo dudes did when their supervisor was on summer break, more appealing.”

He continues in his diagnosis: “I think that the main problem PhD students face is not procrastination or laziness. It’s guilt. Only in academia are you in this bizarre world that never ends; where you always could, or should, do more. As a result, there’s a constant anxiety that stops grad students doing what they enjoy doing. Instead, they feel like impostors, let in on a clerical error, and that the rest of the world is light years ahead, with their marriages, houses, and babies. Meanwhile, the project they thought was cool is actually impossible… or someone’s already done it… and, in any event, nobody actually cares. All of this can lead to burn out.”

(via PHD comics’ Jorge Cham on misery, hope and academia (Wired UK))

The PhD: who completes it and who drops out?


Doctoral completion rates are an indicator of successful doctoral programs, and of a region’s highly skilled workforce. Research Evaluation investigates the factors determining PhD completion and drop-out rates, in a new study “The PhD track: Who succeeds, who drops out?

The study examines a variety of factors that contribute to PhD completion and drop-out rates, including discipline, type of scholarship or appointment, gender, age, and nationality, and determines the time when degree-attainment and drop-out are most likely to occur.

The paper is freely accessible for a limited time.

GIF via giphy.