Friday, October 26, 2007

Decisions -- attempt #8

Every time I think I've come to a final decision about my future, i.e. I've put the PhD thing to rest, it rears its ugly head. This has been going on for 2 years now. Getting the clinical MS is very practical, and I'd have lots of job opportunities when I'm done. On the other hand, I think I'd be frustrated by the neurological "whys" in clinical work, yet with no time or support to pursue them. If I instead research the "whys" through a doctorate, the job prospects at the end are much more challenging to find.

I finally decided to get some bona fide input from one of my old professors. She was very supportive and said they'd love to keep me in the department as a doc candidate. Who I'd work under is a bit in the air, but it looks good if I decide to go for it.

Not only that, the MS program I planned to start next fall seems even more rigorous than I thought. In the last 24 hours, 2 moms who know the program well have more or less said be prepared to not see your kid for a few years. I don't think I can do that to August, Ray or myself while August is so little. Ugh.

So while the chips fall into place here and there, I'll continue to mull over the pros and cons and come to some conclusion that feels right. It's so hard to make a decision when there is no clear right answer -- maybe the biggest challenge of being a grown-up.

MS pros
Practical, flexible career opportunities once done (5 pts)
Likely enjoyable work that stays at the office/clinic (4 pts)
Able to contribute to retirement in a few years (2 pts)

MS cons
Super intense time commitment for 2-3 years (not good fit w/ small children) (-5 pts)
Very expensive (-3 pts)
What if clinical work gets old or frustrating? (-2 pts)


PhD pros
Research is fun and exciting mostly (3 pts)
Flexible schedule (good fit for young children) (4 pts)
School paid for plus some income (3 pts)
Can do clinical MS later if need be (1 pts)

PhD cons
Could be challenging finding a job (-3 pts)
What if I don't want to do research forever? (-3 pts)
Will I be able to contribute meaningfully to retirement anytime soon? (-1 pts)


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