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Does money mean liberty ?


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Hi, here's a question for you :)

Suppose that you have an interesting scholarship, meaning that you don't need funding (at all) from your PhD advisor.

When you applied for this scholarship, you had to present a project. However, you have the possibility to choose a different project for your thesis, upon approval. Your advisor/professors told you it's ok to choose a different subject, so you really are not tied to it.

The project you presented is interesting, data is already collected and ready to use.

On the other hand, you have some other project in mind, but you would have to start from zero.


What would you choose, considering that money is not involved in the equation ?

A. The easy project that you are not so "passionated" about but that could "easily" get done.

B. The second project, that would need more work but is more interesting and challenging (in a positive way).  



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B. I think I would learn more with a (reasonably) challenging project, and especially if I'm more interested in it. This comes with the caveat that B should still be a project that can be completed within the normal PhD time frame.

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I would probably do Project B because I can't see myself staying interested in anything that's easy (it's just not my personality). That said, you should also be thinking about the long-term trajectory of your career and which project will position you best for whatever it is you want to be doing after the PhD.

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Assuming that both projects are good PhD-length projects (i.e. something you have the resources and ability to finish) then I think the next criteria is which topic is more likely to help you achieve your post-degree career goals? For example, I know that eventually, I want to work in Canada, maybe in research, but maybe not. So, I picked a topic that will help me develop skills that are valuable outside of academia. In addition, I picked a topic that uses resources and facilities that Canadian universities do have access to (there are some things in my field that only US or EU schools are able to do due to technology limitations). 

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