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Discussion Starter #1
You'll have to forgive the slight indulgence, but I'm in the process of preparing for an interview for a PhD. It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I know it'll be hard work, but it's an area I'm really interested in. I'm not phenomenally well organised however. And I'm slightly worried that certain old tendancies to procrastinate will return (maybe that's a good thing if you're researching!)

I'm just wondering whether anyone in here has undertaken a PhD, or done some form of research, and how they reacted to that kind of environment? Whether you found it a fulfulling experience, or a torturous one?
 

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If any INFP on this board has a PhD I will post a picture of me bowing down to them for defying such ridiculous odds!

Nonetheless, sorry to say I can't be of help to you, but kudos to you for embarking on such a quest. Hopefully someone can give you some insight, Dante.
 

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It says on many INFP personality profiles that a common career choice for INFP's is professor. Most of these jobs require PhD's, so I hardly think it's out of reach for INFP's in general. I plan on going that far just because I really want to teach at a college level. I think the key is just to find something you're super passionate about.

Out of curiosity, what field are you going into?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It says on many INFP personality profiles that a common career choice for INFP's is professor. Most of these jobs require PhD's, so I hardly think it's out of reach for INFP's in general. I plan on going that far just because I really want to teach at a college level. I think the key is just to find something you're super passionate about.

Out of curiosity, what field are you going into?
Well the area of research I'm looking at is AI, which is something I've always been fascinated by. And I think it's important to do something that you are passionate about really, otherwise you'll struggle. I also would quite like to teach in University, as well as work on my fields of interest. I would like to think anything I do would be useful and could be fed back in to society - that's the plan anyway!
 

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The intr0nets are loaded with examples of INFPs with doctorates. As an example, check out the faculty on this page. I see 3 INFPs with PhDs. I see 1 ENFJ. 3 ENTJs. 2 INTJs.

INFPs score high on intelligence. There are stats about this posted within the INFP forum.
 

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I believe I am an INFP and I have a PhD in microbiology. I survived it all but I admit I was never one of the best. I was too distracted at times. But it all boils down to motivation, are you motivated enough, you can do it and you don't have to have particularly high IQ for that. It's a lot of hard work and mentally you need to be able to take the setbacks (at least in biology most of the times your experiments don't work and if they do, the results aren't always very exciting) and still go on. My advice is to think ahead, what do you want to do with your degree in the future, talk to various people in the field so that you fully understand what you're getting yourself into. I myself didn't really think things through, not that I regret it but I wish I had more information before making my decision.
 

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I admire your goal. I wouldn't mind someday going back to school to get a PhD, mainly because I like to teach but would prefer a University level. Academics is what I am best at, not real world, practical stuff (especially business), and I imagine that is true of many INFPs. I had a great time in college, and by that I mean the learning part, not just the social part.

So if you like school & are good at academics, then it doesn't seem unrealistic or that daunting of a goal. I also imagine it hinges on what you decide to study.
 

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@magical_steve
I am currently working on a research project...Um, I am not finishing it as quickly as I had hoped though.....



Bottom line is if you are interested in it, you will be able to finish everything up even if you have setbacks, or if things take longer than you would like. Sometimes it is just hard to not have everything go "perfectly"
 

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I was ABD -in a PhD program, completed all the coursework except the comprehensive exams and the dissertation. It was a difficult experience and I regreted it. I would still like to complete a PhD but for my personal knowledge and development, not to impress or prove anything to anyone. The PhD environment can be a bit much can be rewarding.
 

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Wow....newb here and this was the thread I needed to find - and great that it's also recent.

I have been doing my PhD for over a year, but I, too, end up all over the place, and there's a whole big picture thing, where I'm becoming an expert on everything - at least in my mind, not on paper, but I haven't been able to nut it down to a precise research question. I have the million ideas a minute thing going in most areas of my life and I'm a brilliant procrastinator. In many ways I like my personality and not being structured, I hate being bound to a routine and so academia probably suits me - but firming up my PhD framework has been difficult.

I told my husband tonight that I need to find a way to use my personality quirks for good, not evil - he got a laugh out of that.

Anyway, so yeah....another PhD candidate that is finding it hard to figure whether my personality type is ever going to let me get there!
 

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@Silt, that was me too. I flew back from Japan to defend my dissertation and went to see my advisor the day before just to make sure we were on the same page with regard to some questions I anticipated regarding the reliability of some of the data provided by other researchers on a multi-disciplinary project my dissertation was a part of. He said, "Don't worry, it's just a formality at this point."

So during my defense, the question came up, and he sat back in his chair and just said, "Yes, what about that?" I tiptoed around the answer, not willing to throw another researcher's work under the bus when it was my advisor who insisted I use it. And I failed my defense. My advisor had also changed my committee, stacking it with his own choices without my consent, so the other people who understood the project were not in the room. I was devastated by his blatant betrayal and after he published my dissertation under his own name, I gave up completely. I wasn't the only person he did this to. He was criticized by the department, but ultimately not censured because of all the money he brought in.

When I received my grant to go work for the Japanese government developing avalanche education programs, he told me that if I went, I would never finish my Ph.D. I didn't take it as a threat, but it was exactly that. It was more than 20 years ago so I am healed. But it took me a long time.

So I would just say be very certain your advisor is someone you can trust to act with your interests at heart. I gave him 14 publications for his CV in 3 years but it wasn't enough.
 

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Ah why not? :D You can do it, if your heart is into it. Disregard everything but the fulfillment of your dream.

Is it your dream and passion? I say if it is, go for it! INFPs are first and foremost, human beings with different passions and drives in life. Any of us could be anything we wanted to be, although it would take more effort with some of us more than with others. I once was interested in studying music history at a doctoral level, and I think I would have done pretty great, because I love to write and research about the subject. What I don't like is competition, and most programs accept few candidates per year. Furthermore, I hate GRE tests! They turned me off from attempting my Doctoral's degree, because I took their results very personally (I couldn't believe that taking it the second time made me look WORSE in English when I did super well the first time! I really lost the little respect I already had for the system.) The math part I always more or less failed, hahaha! I haven't taken math since high-school. :p But I was good at written English, so I don't appreciate a test telling me otherwise when I know the facts (at least, I should have been as good as the first time, wouldn't you think? Does one gets dumber every day?)

Additionally, besides my dislike for GRE being used as some sort of "success predictor" (utter nonsense; it's just a business, pure and simple-test preparation centers and books, super high fees, and certain "races" doing better than others?) I thought to myself: what if I get to a school, get my doctoral's, and the only job position I can find is outside NYC? That was what made me reconsider the whole thing. Do I really want a job outside NYC? I also realized that I might also have been doing that to prove myself to somebody else I knew at the time (not in my family, because they are not like that), and these 3 things combined made me reconsider that perhaps a PhD in music history wasn't for me (not doubting my capabilities, for I did write well back then... although I haven't written a paper in a few years. However, one could argue that NOW I would be better prepared to tackle such degree given my recent life changes, but still, I do NOT like GRE (finding it pretty much even worse than a "necessary evil"), and I wouldn't want to teach anywhere but in NYC, unless for some reason my dream changes, or I marry and my wife needs to move, or something special like that. It's just that NYC is deeply attached to my dream at the moment.)

There must be plenty of INFP doctors in the world. Somebody in this thread even has a doctoral in microbiology. :) (My sister does as well, but she's clearly not INFP.) INFPs can get anything their fanciful heart desires. It's a myth that we cannot excel on certain fields. It's just that usually, we are NOT interested in such fields, and when our hearts is not into it, we just don't commit as strongly. I would agree for you to do a lot of "dream-searching" before you commit to any degree, doctoral or otherwise (personally, I always finish what I start, so I really wouldn't like to start a degree journey and leave it unfinished.) Granted, what I was interested was music history, not AI (just so you know how uninterested/ignorant I am of anything that's not humanities/arts related, I had to google what you meant by an AI PhD. :p) But if it's your heart's passion, something you really want to achieve for your own personal life dream fulfillment, I would really do all I can to get there. It does seem to be your own special treasure, and very inspiring to you (it is right?) As long as it's not just for a career (it won't satisfy you then, in the long run), to merely "prove" to yourself or someone else that you can do it, or just because we all must achieve the "higher levels of success we can", and instead you do it because it's in your heart to do so, follow your dream, and be the INFP AI doctor you want to be. :)
 

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@Silt, that was me too. I flew back from Japan to defend my dissertation and went to see my advisor the day before just to make sure we were on the same page with regard to some questions I anticipated regarding the reliability of some of the data provided by other researchers on a multi-disciplinary project my dissertation was a part of. He said, "Don't worry, it's just a formality at this point."

So during my defense, the question came up, and he sat back in his chair and just said, "Yes, what about that?" I tiptoed around the answer, not willing to throw another researcher's work under the bus when it was my advisor who insisted I use it. And I failed my defense. My advisor had also changed my committee, stacking it with his own choices without my consent, so the other people who understood the project were not in the room. I was devastated by his blatant betrayal and after he published my dissertation under his own name, I gave up completely. I wasn't the only person he did this to. He was criticized by the department, but ultimately not censured because of all the money he brought in.

When I received my grant to go work for the Japanese government developing avalanche education programs, he told me that if I went, I would never finish my Ph.D. I didn't take it as a threat, but it was exactly that. It was more than 20 years ago so I am healed. But it took me a long time.

So I would just say be very certain your advisor is someone you can trust to act with your interests at heart. I gave him 14 publications for his CV in 3 years but it wasn't enough.
I am sorry, I hated what they did to you in this terrible life story. I am glad you are doing well! Hope you keep having an exciting life journey.
 

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I'm just wondering whether anyone in here has undertaken a PhD, or done some form of research, and how they reacted to that kind of environment? Whether you found it a fulfulling experience, or a torturous one?
I think the key is just to find something you're super passionate about.
Yeah... or in my case, to narrow down the dozen topics that i think i could be super passionate about. It's led to a lack of self-confidence that i could finish a PhD, just because i've worried that i needed to find the research topic that inspired me and forsake all the rest of them, or at least all other disciplines.
 

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...after he published my dissertation under his own name....
I would think that would be a serious academic scandal, of the sort that would make it into the Chronicle (or wherever people read about academic scandals, i'm new to this) and would imperil all those research dollars in the future. And believe me, i am quickly learning to adapt to an environment where pulling in the research money is everything.

Am i just naive? I know that people borrow each others ideas and that grad students get the shaft, but seriously, stealing your advisee's dissertation? That stuff goes unpunished?
 

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Yep. Parts of it had already been published under both our names. Fact of the matter was, it was as much his as it was mine. It didn't bother me nearly as much that he published it as that he published it while telling me it wasn't good enough to pass.
 

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Yep. Parts of it had already been published under both our names. Fact of the matter was, it was as much his as it was mine. It didn't bother me nearly as much that he published it as that he published it while telling me it wasn't good enough to pass.
That's so wrong. Sorry to hear this happened.

This should be a call to grad students to protect their intellectual property even in grad school.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
@Silt, that was me too. I flew back from Japan to defend my dissertation and went to see my advisor the day before just to make sure we were on the same page with regard to some questions I anticipated regarding the reliability of some of the data provided by other researchers on a multi-disciplinary project my dissertation was a part of. He said, "Don't worry, it's just a formality at this point."

So during my defense, the question came up, and he sat back in his chair and just said, "Yes, what about that?" I tiptoed around the answer, not willing to throw another researcher's work under the bus when it was my advisor who insisted I use it. And I failed my defense. My advisor had also changed my committee, stacking it with his own choices without my consent, so the other people who understood the project were not in the room. I was devastated by his blatant betrayal and after he published my dissertation under his own name, I gave up completely. I wasn't the only person he did this to. He was criticized by the department, but ultimately not censured because of all the money he brought in.

When I received my grant to go work for the Japanese government developing avalanche education programs, he told me that if I went, I would never finish my Ph.D. I didn't take it as a threat, but it was exactly that. It was more than 20 years ago so I am healed. But it took me a long time.

So I would just say be very certain your advisor is someone you can trust to act with your interests at heart. I gave him 14 publications for his CV in 3 years but it wasn't enough.
I've a number of friends who've done or are doing PhD's, and the one things that resounds very clearly is that you have to really get on well with your supervisor. But I certainly wouldn't have expected that a supervisor would actually steal your work. It seems to confirm some concerns I have began to have generally about the selfishness of some academics. A friend described it to me quite well - that most people start off in academia for the right reasons, but a significant number become more interested in prestige than actually making a difference to other people in a positive way.

There's no way they should have been able to get away with that though. That's just wrong. :(
 

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I have thought a lot about this, as you might expect. I don't think most academics start out intending to exploit their students for publications. But that is precisely the behavior the system encourages. Once you start getting 20, 30, 50 publications a year out of a cohort of graduate students, your reputation grows with the thickness of your CV. And you start repeating what has worked before to advance your career.

And I recognize that I was especially ill-suited to work for my particular advisor. I wanted to study a small subset of the climate and glaciology discipline that he was interested in. And he had no interest in what I wanted to study. He assigned me a project that was funded and that was all he wanted me to work on. He didn't approve of me teaching (he was a terrible teacher himself -- just read review papers to his classes), didn't approve of me studying avalanches, and definitely felt betrayed when I secured a grant from the Japanese government to study avalanches at a rival institute.

So the lesson I learned, that I will tell to anyone wishing to pursue a Ph.D. is to be sure you and your advisor are aligned on what you will do to support your advisor's career and what your advisor will do to support your career. It doesn't work if it is a one way street in either direction. I was very naive.

There was more in that we were on the opposite poles of a philosophy of science schism within our discipline. When he asked me during my defense why I thought this project was geography, my answer was it was concerned with the relationships between society and nature. He was a logical positivist who maintained that geography was the study of spatial pattern, no more and no less. We were completely at odds over this and neither one was willing to see things differently. It was inevitable that it would end badly. And to this day, I still have trouble working for people or organizations whose values don't align with mine. Cognitive dissonance seems to be a hallmark of my mental illness.
 
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