One of the best days of my life (so far) was May 4th, 2023. That was the date where I walked on to the stage, with my adviser, and was officially named, Dr. Ben! Wow, what a moment that was and what an awesome day. I had been waiting for years, and working pretty darn hard to finally get to that moment. It was exactly how I imagined it. Unfortunately, almost right after the adrenaline wore off, I had a thought. That thought was short and simple….”What’s next?” What happens after graduating with a PhD?
Life, life happens and it is weird because I have been putting life off for so long. I started a job, which I discuss in m previous post (here). I moved away to Miami and started a whole new life 4 hours from my friends and family. I will not lie, I am overwhelmed.
If you are in my position and just starting life after graduate school then you know how difficult it is. In fact, it might just be harder transitioning into this life than my PhD was entirely. That might be an over exaggeration, but what I am saying is, it’s hard.
I am known ( by like a few people that read this blog) for my love of lists. Today, we are bringing them back after a long hiatus. So let’s get into it. Here are some things that I have noticed after graduating with a PhD.
1) You may feel a bit deppressed
I talked about this in my last post about post-PhD depression. Honestly, it is something that I am going through right now, and it’s fairly common. You have spent so many years doing something literally every single day, then all of a sudden, it’s over. That really does a toll on your mental health. I know it has done quite a bit to mine.
2) You’ll probably have money again….or for the first time
I actually have money to buy fruit and vegetables. This may seem like a nothing burger to many of you, but for a fresh grad, this means the world. I have been fairly poor, yes poor, for the last year to 2 years. Rent was crazy so I was actually losing money each month, even though I had a stipend. Anyway, I have an engineering job now that pays me a living wage, even in Miami, which means that I have money to invest/save/spend on things. It’s crazy and really helps. It takes care of necessities, but the mental health issues still pursist unfortunately.
3) You will miss grad school
You may have hated every minute of your PhD but I guarantee that you will miss it after graduating. I loved my time in grad school. It toughened me up, prepared me for the rigors of academia/research, and definitely took me so far out of my comfort zone that I became a totally different person. As soon as I moved away, I knew that I was going to miss the heck out of it. Sure enough, I do.
4) You will have more free time
Grad school was a 24/7 job. The best part about my job is I leave it at the office. I don’t even think about it when I get home, or well I try not to. I have more “free time” so basically I have time away from work. I have taken up many of my hobbies again, I am blogging again, and my workouts are back to the way they were 3 years ago. I am relaxing more and actually can plan to do something that doesn’t revolve around my experiments or work. It’s great.
5) People will actually listen to you
One of the weirdest things that I have experience is having the respect from other people in my field. They see those three little letters next to my name, and all of a sudden I gain all of the respect. People come to me for advice and actually listen to what I have to say. They trust what I tell them and that is really awesome.
6) People won’t really call you doctor
So my coworkers call me Dr. B, but that’s because they like the nickname. No one else calls me Dr. That’s fine, though. You know that you are a doctor and you really don’t need people saying that all of the time. Plus, sometimes it’s good because they may think you are a medical doctor. I don’t want people thinking that lol.
7) You will have to take some time to get readjusted
You may have had to push out every basic knowledge fact and skill out of your head and body to accommodate for the immense knowledge that was your thesis. I forgot how to do a ton of things, like make friends, make appointments for things, use any software other than MINEQL+, excel, word, or PowerPoint, as well as other things. It may take some time to get back into being a normal person, but you’ll get there.
Life after graduating isn’t bad
It really isn’t so bad, but I really miss research. I do enjoy my job, and they are starting to get me into research things, but it doesn’t fill the space where my PhD was. Life outside of academia has been very strange and definitely affecting my mental health. It’s hard, but I have hope that it will be ok in the end. I am going to continue to post mental health advice on this blog, but for the next few, I am going to focus a bit on finishing a PhD and stuff that goes with that. I have many ideas, which is good since I haven’t really had any the past few months.
I actually look forward to blogging consistently again. I am changing it up a bit and not focusing on the monetary aspect for now. I think I will focus mostly on solid advice and helping people. Making money on my blog was something for grad school Ben, but Dr.Ben is here to help others. I hope you all enjoyed this post. Drop a comment and let me know if there is a topic that you want covered or if you need some advice. Life really isn’t so bad after graduating with a PhD
As always, I hope you all have an amazing day/week/year/month/lifetime. You all really make it worth it and have helped me so much these past few years. Peace.