By Samantha H. Jones (Published in Science)
As I formally accepted the offer to join my Ph.D. program, the massive weight on my chest began to dissolve, my shoulders relaxed, and my headache subsided. Choosing a program had been quite the roller coaster ride, filled with uncertainty and sleepless nights. “Phew, well that’s finally over,” I said to myself. But just before that moment of relief, I felt a brief but intense wave of panic: Had I made the right choice? More than 4 years later, I think I chose well, and I hope that my difficult decision process offers some tips, and some solace, for others who are struggling with similar decisions. Looking back, I see that the key was realizing that it wasn’t enough for a program to meet my research interests; I needed to weigh factors outside the lab as well.