The Ph.D. Grind: Main Grinds and Side Grinds
August 2012 (perspective of a postdoc)
Some of my favorite memories from grad school came from talking with fellow Ph.D. students about their side projects. What typically happens is that after a student gives a research presentation at a lab group meeting or department symposium, the audience asks conventional questions about methodology, alternative approaches, related work, and future directions. Then comes a polite round of applause, and the professors scurry off to their next meetings. When only students are left in the room, we're finally able to speak freely and ask the speaker, "I know what your main research grind is, but what's your side grind?" I've seen even the most introverted students' faces light up with excitement as they passionately recount the details of their side projects, in stark contrast to the dry PowerPoint-filled research presentations they had just recited.