Vacations When Doing A Doctorate

It’s the best time of the year, VACATION!!!! Actually it’s one of the two best times of the years since I take two vacations each year. This year, my family and I will be going to the beautiful Florida Keys. We mostly fish, snorkel, drink heavily, and hang around, spending quality time with each other. We leave Saturday, which is making this week extra long.

Vacations are so important for you and you may not even know it. First off, it takes you away from work that is potentially killing you O.o. Also, it gives you time to relax and get back to a state of equilibrium. Vacations allow you to visit places, get away from stress, enjoy the simple or extravagant things in life, and most importantly, it brings joy into your life.

Grad school is tough. People assume that it’s just classes and studying all of the time, but it’s actually much more than that. It’s living on a very small stipend, doing experiments at extremely odd hours, running around the lab, trying to find the pipette that an undergrad was using and didn’t put away, as well as try and function as a human being. Social lives usually suffer, overall health suffers (especially mental health), and things become overwhelming. It’s tough to see people you graduated undergrad with go off and start their careers, making a ton of money, and you are left here, doing mentally taxing things, not believing that you will be successful too. It’s hard and that’s why vacations are so important.

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of lab work and school allows your brain to take a break. You will come back with more motivation, clarity, as well as possibly a tan. From my experience and about 99.99% of people I know, taking time off has given them the motivation and strive to accomplish tasks that take them weeks usually, in maybe a few days. You just feel overall better about life.

Also, your adviser will probably push for you to take a break to prevent “burn out”. Every grad student will get burnt out at one point. This is a great opportunity to just leave for a week and come back refreshed. In a doctoral program, burn out is a real thing that can lead to mental illness. No wonder 50% of PhD students do not finish, it’s insane.

Please, Please, Please just go on vacation or even just take time off for yourself. Go to a movie each day for a week, go see a friend that lives in a different town/state/country, or just chill in bed, playing video games for a week. There is more to life than work. Vacations show you just that.

Let me know where you are going for your vacation and what you are doing? That may help me choose my next trip :p. Thanks for reading my blog. I love all of you.

4 thoughts on “Vacations When Doing A Doctorate

  • LOL. That’s a beautiful quirky title. Yes, take a good rest so that you can rejuvenate yourself for further struggle with the thesis and everything.

  • My wife and I did our doctorates (chemistry) 50 years ago, we got married as students too. But in the 3 years we were doing our PhDs we never had a single vacation! This wasn’t about being impoverished or unsociable, but EVERY weekend during that time we would head for the hills somewhere into the Scottish mountains. We had no car, and would take a bus or train, loaded up with camping gear in our rucksacks, plus an assortment of friends, as soon after 5pm as possible on Friday and return early evening on Sunday. We had the time of our lives, and I honestly can’t remember any dropouts across those 3 years. I’m shocked at your quote of a 50% dropout rate currently! What was your own subject?

    • That sounds like an amazing time. I do small trips like that all of the time as well. It keeps me sane. I am currently finishing up my Doctorate in Environmental Engineering. Our department has a dropout rate of around 10% which isnt bad. Overall, in the US, it’s about 50% :(. I haven’t known of anyone personally to have dropped out, thank goodness.

      • I should have added that my wife is from Nepal and I am from the Cumbrian Lake District in England. Being in the mountains was a natural habitat for us! Naturally over the years we’ve spent a lot of time in the Himalaya too. Kept us sane AND well grounded 🤣

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