This is the promised post on different stages of academic life.
Graduate student. The main big thing that differentiates a graduate student from an undergrad is that nobody babies and praises you all the time any more. As a talented undergrad, it’s easy to stand out but in grad school you need to rely on internal motivation a lot more. And it’s hard to relinquish the addiction to praise and to being celebrated like an uncommonly amazing creature. Plus, the time is a lot less structured and it’s a lot lonelier. So you have to become inward-oriented, and if what’s inside isn’t capable of giving much joy, misery begins. That’s why many grad students are depressed. They’ve been left alone with what’s inside, and it’s not that amazing.
Tenure-track. The difficult thing about tenure-track is the sudden autonomy. Now if you didn’t bother to study the operational papers…
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