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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dropouts Who Rule The World.

Everyone knows that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were college dropouts who then went ahead to become gazillionaires. In fact their enrol-into-good-school-then-drop-out strategy has become the standard motivation story for study-weary kids everywhere.

People want to believe that books aren't everything.

Just check out this list of famous college dropouts. Or this much longer list of high school dropouts.

But do you know which notable people are graduate school dropouts? Yesterday a couple of fellow grad students asked me this very question.

I thought it shouldn't be too difficult to find, after all I just need to Google it...

... and I got this result.

Pretty cool shit huh? The Google founders themselves are PhD dropouts!

It turns out that the Yahoo! founders are also PhD dropouts. Successful graduate school dropouts also tend to come from Ivy League schools, methinks.

Wait a minute, do I see a pattern here?

Based on these two sets of data, I am proud to present -

The Fresh Brainz Guide For Dropout Success!

1. Enrol in a good university. Preferably Ivy League. Ideally Stanford.

2. Make one good friend. No more, no less.

3. Spent most your time surfing the Net rather than working on your thesis.

4. Come up with a money-making idea.

5. Get people to pump money into your idea and set up a company. Watch the money roll in.

6. Drop out.

Looks like I don't have the pre-requisites to drop out successfully.

Especially deficient in point 4. Oh well, back to the lab.

Jokes aside, graduate school attrition rate is a serious issue. Here are two articles that discuss this in detail:

Doctor dropout

High rate of doctoral dropouts draws concern

Graduate school takes so long, pays so little and can be so frustrating and unpredictable that it will produce many unhappy students. If you are struggling and need some advice, here is an article which I find rather useful. A quick 'n' dirty guide.

PhD Survival Guide.

Of course it would be great if everyone finished their PhD, but it's pointless if the training process does nothing for you except to make you miserable. Your life doesn't end when the degree is awarded anyway. After all this, you still need an intact morale to do well in your working and personal life.

And morale is the fluffy stuff that holds a person together.

Pass the cotton candy!

1 Comment:

Terez said...

Yes, I am strolling through your archives. :) looks like Wikipedia has removed their dropout lists! How are we supposed to know who to look up to, now?