Sunday, June 12, 2016

Jack is leaving Grad School, by way of Japan

This was a tumultuous month.  Jack's been preparing for a trip to Japan to conduct research for the summer.  In advance, however, his adviser explained to him that she doesn't see a path for him to finish his PhD in her lab.  This didn't preclude his completing his PhD in another lab, but Jack concluded that he'd tried several advisers and it seemed clear that grad school was not a productive environment for him.  He's still going to Japan, though.

It's a situation I'm familiar with.  I left grad school at the insistence of my guidance committee two years ago.  It is a lot like a breakup.  Often, it is for the best, but that doesn't change the fact that it requires a major change in lifestyle and a period of uncertainty.  In my case, I can say from experience that it was definitely for the best.  I feel far more productive and positioned for long-term success in my current job.  I hope Jack finds the same outcome.

In the meantime, he's going to Japan.  He was approved for a fellowship and a collaboration abroad, and that doesn't change.  It's a fantastic opportunity, so he will wrap up his current research as he would've in Los Angeles, but in Japan.  I am disappointed on Jack's behalf about his grad school conclusion, but I'm glad he is taking it well and resolving to use this experience as a stepping stone to better things.  I'm also excited that he is going on such a unique adventure as he leaves.

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