One does not simply get bored at Stanford
.. or any grad school for that matter.
I was chatting with a friend from India who needed some advice. Her choices were either to go to an IIM (to get an MBA). Or go to a top-rated grad school for a PhD. Amongst one of the questions she asked me was, What if I get bored during my PhD?
Now, granted that I have been at Stanford for just two years. And yes, there have been times when I have been bored out of my mind (I would be lying if I said otherwise). But for me, that is just an intermediate phase – after I accomplish a goal and before I find some new interesting to do.
Strangely, this was also one of my main concerns when applying to grad school – What if I get bored during my PhD? It didn’t help that almost everyone around me was getting into McKinsey’s, I-banks or going to IIM for an MBA. Their lives seemed to be so fast-paced and interesting – money, glamour, traveling across the country, projects that focussed on breadth and not on depth. And on the other hand, a PhD seemed like such a boring option. Five to six-year commitment. Pretty much isolated. In a foreign country. Measly stipend. Sitting in a lab with no windows and reading research papers.
But that is one way of looking at it.
The way I look at it is that Stanford is an exceptional place even as universities go, where things are interesting and people are interested, where you have courses on esoteric things you cannot imagine and more, brimming with optimistic people who come from all over the world – if I couldn’t find something to keep me busy and excited here, I told myself, then I don’t know what would.
And so for the past two years, I have rarely been bored. I continuously find something or the other that fascinates me. Sometimes it finds me sitting on a desk reading in an office with no windows. And sometimes I go at it with a club.
But then, your mileage may vary.
Like every Stanford student, I believe I am unique.
And the standard deviation on 1 is infinity.
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. ~ Ellen Parr