I chose to do a PhD because I had a dream. A dream that probably every PhD student has when they start – to change the world by doing great science. And for a while I truly believed that I could do that. In the few years of work that the PhD requires, I thought I could change the world.
Nothing wrong with that. After all, greater the goal higher the motivation!
The bubble did not last very long. Reality hit me. Changing the world is a very difficult task indeed. Many have come and perished. Those few who did change the world had greater ability and a lot more luck. And at that moment of realisation, as all graduate students do, I entered a phase of depression. Falling prey to the imposter syndrome (everyone else is way better than me) is very easy.
What the cartoon above is missing is a red line, which I believe should be inversely related to the blue line and it should denote the rising level of ambition in non-research careers.