PhD: You take the blue pill, the story ends
You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. –The Matrix
Well PhD isn’t a [intellectual] wonderland. It’s a system with almost a made up name. People with PhDs are generally not real doctors who can cure people of illnesses. However, the rabbit hole of deception goes very deep. Naive but academically smart and intellectually curious students bet their few good years of life on PhD. Intellectual curiosity is hardly ever satisfied in PhD – yet – students hang on to get the degree, why? Because of the deceptive charm of professors AND promise of intellectually satisfying career after PhD. Strictly hierarchical system, where students are treated as slaves without any recognition or money, is repugnant. But hey, “smart” professors all have PhDs and getting one can’t be bad AND rather is fashionable, or so it appears. You can’t swing a dead cat here without hitting a PhD.
Intellectual curiosity probably takes precedence in young and naive students’ minds and experienced professors take full advantage of that – by getting your free labor! While academic jobs are literally, not figuratively, non-existent, fresh PhDs come out deluded by their professors that if she tries “just a little bit more”, a career in academia “may be just around the corner”. 95% PhDs (on a random basis) fail in academic career quest. It’s a bad lottery with odds stacked against you. There is no happy ending in PhD -> Postdoc -> Tenure track (retire instead??).
Welcome to the desert .. of the real.