PhD Pi or Blueberry Pie?
August 8, 2009 2:02 PM Subscribe
Get a PhD by 50, or go to pastry school? I'm having a midlife crisis and am considering returning to school instead of launching another business. (Launching another business is already in the planning stages, but no hard commitments have been made.) I've been accepted to a graduate program for neuroscience that will let me do masters work and doctorate work at the same time. On the other hand...culinary school is calling to me...daring me to become a pastry chef.
posted by dejah420 to education (45 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
On the one hand; a PhD in neural networks with a bioethics focus would be intellectually challenging and a chance to work with some of the most brilliant people in the field. But...I'm returning to school after almost 20 years, and am old enough to be the mother of most of the other people in the program. Optimistically, I could finish/defend my dissertation a little before my 50th birthday. (6 years from now.) I don't know if that will make me way too old to ever get a position where I could be a researcher...but I suspect it would, since I'd be competing with super-geniuses who are 20+ years younger. And I'd have a limited amount of time in which to show an ROI on the money the program will cost.
On the other hand...bread! pie! cakes! tarts! chocolate! I love baking. I am really at my happiest in a kitchen. That said; I don't know that I would love baking in a commercial setting, as I've never tried it.
I could finish culinary school in about 18 months, since I don't need to take any of the actual academic courses, but I have no real idea what one does once one graduates with a pastry chef degree. (Although the idea of owing my own cake shop/bakery holds some appeal to me...I think I'd be just as happy showing up each day to bake and decorate for someone else.) Also a consideration, the entire culinary track would cost about what one semester of the PhD track would cost.
Am I being realistic when I think that 50ish might be too old to enter a competitive research field like neuroscience?
Is anyone a pastry chef that wants to talk about their experiences?