My old post on how a PhD program is similar to a marathon with a sprint at the ending has stood the test of time. Moreover, I realized that my PhD meant different things to different people. Let me explain.
After laboring for ages (more ,like 5 years) in the PhD program at Penn State . I was still short by a few weeks when it came to defending my dissertation. I had to postpone my final defense by a few weeks to accommodate the revisions suggested by my chair. Therefore, I officially graduate in 5.5 years, instead of five. However, in the Jurassic timescales of the research program these five years passed by in the blink of an eye. It is almost funny that I had "originally" planned to finish it in four. My original I-20 says the average is 6 years. So it means that I came in thinking it will be six, thought I could do it in four, settled for five and finally manged 5.5.
Now, talking about expectations - Radhika thinks I took "forever". I tend to agree with her on this, as usual! Now, moving from time to aspirations - my mother thinks I am a bigshot professor, which is kind of nice! My friends back from b-school think I must be crazy to give up a corporate life for a teaching job (I never told them it is a research job - neither do they seem to care).
The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that my PhD has a different meaning for different people. However, for me it is fun!