Rethinking a metaphor for grad school

I’ve suggested that grad school is a marathon: a long and demanding process requiring endurance, determination, and discipline to reach the end. Recently it occurred to me that the last few words of that marathon definition, “the end,” detract from the parallelism between the two processes (marathon and grad school). Successfully defending a dissertation and adding the letters “Ph.D.” to the end of your name mark the end of a process, but not nearly as conclusive as the finish line. Really, the end of grad school marks the start of the true marathon – a career.


If that’s the case, then a Ph.D. program is maybe more accurately described as training for a marathon. Just as a serious runner trains rigorously to learn and practice the skills needed to complete the marathon, a Ph.D. program provides a serious student an opportunity to learn and practice the necessary skills

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