Friday, March 22, 2002

Lisbeth writes about the life of a Danish Ph. D. student. I don't have much to add - her situation is pretty much what we are all in, only that I am priviledged: I have a job and even one with 50% research as part of my job requirements. But I'd like to add that in the Norwegian system, a marriage which survives a Doctorate is rare. The pressure is simply too large on the relationship: the demands of children and spouses too much for everybody included. As Mark writes:

She's also worried about a serial killer working in the region. I find this unrealistic: graduate students I've known, facing this kind of research pressure, would dismiss rumors of wandering murderers out of hand, just as they dismiss sleep, friends, family, toxins, illness. If she doesn't find those rocks, it's over anyway.

And this is what kills the relationships: "You're annoyed that I don't notice you? But if I don't fix that referance, it won't matter what you feel anyway." Even the request that you pause a moment to let your loved one spoil you is a demand to turn the attention away from your work, and when you're pushing to finish that is more than it's possible to tolerate. It's not nice, but you can't be nice in order to finish any large creative work. And that is what a Ph. D. is. It's academic art, and it's a race for aknowledgement.

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