“In high school I read a book called Inferno by Dante Alighieri. [. . .] I want to take you through the nine circles of suffering every graduate student experiences on their journey to defending their thesis. I’m sure there are far more than nine forms of struggle that graduate students go through, but for the purpose of the analogy, we will stick with nine.
[. . .]
“Defeat is another circle that graduate students become quite familiar with. It happens so often that around the two-year mark of grad school, most of us seem to get desensitized to it. We learn to separate our self-worth from the worth of our work, and to focus on doing the best we can without letting defeat get in the way of our confidence. We build a thicker skin, and if nothing else, this circle of suffering will prepare us for a lifetime of rejected grants and harsh criticism from pesky ‘Reviewer Three.’
“This brings us to the last and probably most dangerous circle – doubt. Part of being a scientist is being a skeptic. However, if you constantly doubt yourself, your progress, or your ideas, you will inevitably make your graduate school experience a painful one. Go confidently in the direction you pursue, and if you fail – well then you’re just back at circle one.” –Kimiya Memarzadeh, “Academia’s Inferno,” McGovern Medical School (April 4, 2016)