Via @thesiswhisperer I arrived at John Regehr’s post The PhD Grind, and Why Research Isn’t Like Sex which is a comment on Phil Guo’s online book The PhD Grind. Both the blogpost and the book are good reads but what amused me was the final part of the post which attempts to address the question if you are not aiming to be a professor then why do a PhD. To which Guo writes:
Here is an imperfect analogy: Why would anyone spend years training to excel in a sport such as the Ironman Triathlon—a grueling race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run—when they aren’t going to become professional athletes? In short, this experience pushes people far beyond their physical limits and enables them to emerge stronger as a result. In some ways, doing a Ph.D. is the intellectual equivalent of intense athletic training.
As Guo states it’s an imperfect analogy but the thought of many of my friends, colleagues and I as professional athletes made me laugh out loud. All the years of sitting to close too the screen and reading dense texts hardly give this appearance.