Do you want to play a game?

I tried this PhD simulator game. It wasn’t fun at all, and I washed out in the first year…that is, it was quick and painful. Everyone knows grad programs are anything but quick!


  1. kome says

    Passed in the 6th month of the 6th year. Not too far off from how things are going for me IRL. I’m starting my 6th year, but I deliberately delayed so I could get an opportunity to be instructor of record to put that on my job application materials.

    It was really interesting to see that all I’d actually gained from the process was anxiety, 3 publications, and 2 conference papers. No friendships, no professional network, no experience learning how to write grants or navigate the byzantine bureaucratic nightmare that is dealing with administration, no peace of mind, no sense of accomplishment…

    Very realistic.

  2. Doc Bill says

    Way too real! By year 3 I decided to Slack Off and auger in.

    I was waiting for a realistic scenario of your major professor running off to Canada with his mistress and syphoning off all the research money.

  3. williamhyde says

    Got the degree in five years and two months.

    My “strategy” was to prepare strongly for the exams, and afterwards
    made sure to take a break or slack off now and again whenever the hope
    number dropped too low.

    Most likely, though, there’s a random element that went in my favour.

  4. Scott Simmons says

    I made it to year seven before I dropped out! So, PZ beat me by only wasting one year of his life on grad school.
    In the simulation, that is. In real life, I only wasted four years on grad school before losing all hope. [long sigh]

  5. mathscatherine says

    I found a major result… and then failed the qualifying exam (oops – we don’t have those here and I didn’t do enough preparing). The real life version was 3 years and 3 months… but in Australia, where that’s fairly typical.