Katy Van Hook

Reasons why a PhD is way better than any other professional degree—no bias of course

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback over the past few weeks in response to my last post about why getting a PhD takes so long (and thank you so much for that) but in reviewing it I’ve decided that I need to swing the balance a bit more toward center with regards to the grad school good. So in response I’ve decided to write this week about the reasons why getting a PhD wins … Read More

Why does getting a PhD take so long?

One of my least favorite things about being a grad student is the frequency with which I am asked the following question, “So how much longer do you have until you’re done?”  It is seemingly a very polite and innocuous question right? The problem is that as a grad student this is what I hear, “Why aren’t you done yet, lazy?”  There is of course a healthy dose of my own special brand of anxiety … Read More

Let’s do this 2011

Happy New Year folks, I hope the holidays were relaxing and recharging for everyone.  I for one am having withdrawals after spending a week having my parents feed me mercilessly while binging on the wonders of cable TV—can you say ‘Hoarders’ marathon?!  At any rate, I’m looking forward to 2011 as a year of progress in all realms of life.  There are lots of exciting goings-on at work and I am simultaneously excited and stressed … Read More

My list of holiday DOs and DON’Ts

It’s that time of year again when things keep getting added to my ‘to do/to buy’ list and my willingness ‘to do’ or ‘to buy’ is sorely lacking. If only they made advent calendars filled with money and motivation…now there’s a thesis idea.  So in an effort to procrastinate further I’ve made a list of my recommended DOs and DON’Ts during the holiday season here at OHSU and in Portland: DO attend as many departmental … Read More


I recently had a friend describe getting a PhD as “like spending 6 years herding cats.” I’m not sure a better analogy has ever been made.  As you picture the mania and frustration that would accompany such a feline round-up I want you to add into it that at the end you have to stand up in front of a crowd and justify the feat. As I presumably get closer to my nebulous endpoint I am getting … Read More

The Best and the Worst from the First Year of Graduate School

In order to understand my favorite experience from first year you’ll need a little background about me.  I had spent the two years preceding graduate school as far from academic science as you can get as I had been working in Nevada as a waitress.  The time away from academia was a good choice for me because it solidified my dedication to continuing graduate education and research, but I was completely unprepared for how nervous … Read More



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