I missed celebrating my 18th CAA anniversary because, as they say in the ads, I went to Walt Disney World to relax after successfully defending my dissertation in late June.
So I have a PhD. For those of you contemplating one, I'd just say - go for it. It really is more about persistence than anything else. I remember one Pathologist who told me that he was a "plodder", and while not particularly brilliant, he trudged his way through medical school, residency, the boards, and so on. And a PhD, at least for me, was much like that -- putting one foot in front of the other, honoring the formalities of academia, listening to your academic chair and committee, understanding what 'academic rigor' is and isn't.
For anyone curious -- there's an area of economics that studies what is known as anticipated regret, that is, regret that we feel we might have if we make certain decisions, which influences those decisions and usually makes us risk-averse. There are frameworks and mathematics and heuristics involved. Then there's an area of medicine that studies what is known as decision (or treatment) regret, that is, regret we feel after we make a decidedly bad medical treatment decision or have a bad outcome; this can lead to depression, a loss of quality of life, and distrust of medical authorities. There are studies of frequencies and demographics and procedures. Are the two related? I thought they might be. Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate who basically wrote the book on pre-decisional rationale (known as Prospect Theory), had his doubts, but outside of the lab not much research had been done. My dissertation demonstrated that the mathematics of anticipated regret could be applied to medical decision regret, and they quite conclusively showed that something I called 'longitudinal decision instability', which is based on stochastic (random) processes evaluated using those mathematics, corresponded to areas of significant decision regret in localized prostate cancer patients (who have among the highest of all decision regret scores in patients with cancer). There's more to it than that, but that's my elevator speech.
Anyways, I was visiting and noticed I hadn't updated my profile. I thought I'd give the few of you who are still around a little insight into what my experience was, and what sort of work you might expect doing a PhD. If you've contemplated it seriously... I say go for it.