I posted a year ago, shortly after starting my Ph.D. program, about how I had finally given in an allowed myself to fully “nerd out” on subjects related to HR and Diversity & Inclusion. Recently I came across two articles online that really drove home that point for me.
And of course, I want to share them both with you.
The first is a New York Times article that I read today called The All-or-Nothing Marriage, by Eli J. Finkel.
The irony is that the article is not at all about graduate school, academic pursuits, or scholarly obsessions. No, it’s about a psychologist’s exploration of research around the institution of marriage, and how strong and satisfied marriages are (or are not) today. It’s a great read for the actual subject matter, and I encourage you to check it out when you have some time, but this is the part that caught my eye:
As a psychological researcher who studies human relationships, I would like to offer a third view. Over the past year I immersed myself in the scholarly literature on marriage: not just the psychological studies but also work from sociologists, economists and historians.
The author found a subject of interest and spent a year digging in on the subject, reading everything he could find on it, from a variety of different perspectives. He did a thorough, comprehensive review of the existing knowledge on the topic from trained, experienced professionals and subject-matter experts.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is permissive nerdiness. I love it.
The other content that this brought to mind was something I saw floating around on Facebook recently, called The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D, by Matt Might. The author shows a visual representation of “a circle that contains all of human knowledge” and then traces an individual person’s journey through elementary school, high school, college, graduate school, a Ph.D., and beyond. My description won’t do it justice, so please go check out the original post, but the short version is that a Ph.D. represents extreme focus on a very, very narrow slice of knowledge, that is impressive but still only a tiny sliver of the world’s knowledge. It’s simple, clear, and poignant, and I adore it.