A reader asked me this question recently. Here’s what I told him:
- Yes, but it feels different in grad school than earlier in your student career.
- It’s about being able to focus intensely on what matters — mastering the parts of your field most relevant to your research — and not getting bogged down by everything else.
- It’s about being able say: “I worked hard on something that matters this afternoon, now I’m done, let’s go find some good beer.”
- It’s about being able to fall off the radar of people handing out time-consuming busy work, then popping back up suddenly and saying: “I just did something important. Again.”
- Grad school done right is hard work, but also quite Zen — not in a sitting back and relaxing sort of way, but in a minimalist, focused, Shaolin Monk, living life with crystal clear clarity and few complications sort of way.