Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (FSU), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics and audio design and edited by Rajan Patel, and rights reserved to us and this show.

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. We have got so many positive feedbacks and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.


Anxiety, depression, isolation, taking care of yourself, and seeking help.

    1. What is stress, why it is important that we manage it, and what are some methods of how we can manage it.
      1. Isolation, depression, anxiety are all things we can experience in graduate school and our lives. These can be somewhat magnified in a graduate school setting since this is (in general) a high-stress time where you are living a life that is generally accepted as unsustainable (low income, long hours, etc).
      2. Stress is what the WHO is now calling the epidemic of the 21st century. It impacts much more than just our mental health - it impacts our physical well-being (including our digestion!), longevity, relationships, and more. Because of how widespread stress is in our lives, and how damaging it can be - we want to unpack what it looks like, how does it show up in our bodies...in our work… more generally - in our lives 
    2. As a graduate student (or a professional of any age) there are a variety of external pressures in our lives. For example - deadlines for exams, papers, data your adviser wants, etc. It is a culture in many grad school programs that priority ONE is school and your research, and basic human needs like healthy food, relationships, and community are put on the back burner. While prioritizing research above all else may give some immediate success - let’s consider longevity and your overall health. If your goal is to become a strong researcher/scientist, then, school is the beginning of a long career filled with pressure, deadlines, deliverables and supervisers asking for more and more things. If you want to continue contributing to your field, learning, growing, then you need to look at the bigger picture - you need to first be healthy.
      1. Productivity begets productivity. 
      2. Being ‘one dimensional’ can feel ‘hollow’ and meaningless, but hobbies can help us feel more ‘well-rounded’ and balanced so that our minds get exercise away from the text books and papers.
      3. Physical activity can impact our mental and emotional well-being significantly, which we can easily forget when our priorities are centered around our educational pursuits. However, physical activity can help us regulate emotions, get better sleep, feel better so that we can perform better in our studies/research. 
      4. Community is something we all seek, but, in the face of stress we can lose connection to community. Why is community so important? How can social interaction be uplifting/positive for all of us? 
      5. Hobbies 
      6. Physical activity
      7. Social interaction


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