Even though I’m in an interdisciplinary program, my “home” department is the chemistry department at MyU. So I’m surrounded by people who do organic synthesis, materials science, and so forth.
This is quite depressing because I’ve hit the end of my third year and still have no publications of any sort (or any on the horizon, I might add)…whereas quite a few of my peers who started at the same time have one or more publications. In fact, one guy who started with me is planning to graduate next year!
Dr. Hand-Waver tells me that my progress is about what she’d expect (whatever that means!) and I shouldn’t get too discouraged. But it’s hard for me to know for sure, because there are so few people at MyU doing what I do.
Luckily, that is not the case here on board our research vessel. So one day at lunch I asked some of my fellow oceanography grad students (and a post-doc) how long it took for them to get their first publication out. Answer: if you’re lucky, just four years, though five is not uncommon. “An oceanography Ph.D. is a six-year deal,” one said while the others nodded.
Well, shoot. That’s a long time…and I started late. Oh well, I’ll tough it out somehow.