According to an editorial published by Nature, the mental health of graduate students around the world is worsening.
Fewer people than in the past are choosing this career, and a higher percentage of graduate students declares to be generally unsatisfied with their experience of research.
What are the reasons? The need to publish at all costs, as success and performance is measured also by the number of columns and posts; the lack of freedom in the choice of the topic and the research; the number of working hours, far more than expected; colleagues or bosses’ bad behavior (harassment and discrimination); the lack of work-life balance.
As a result, 36% of graduate students declare to have sought help for anxiety and depression caused by their PhD studies and 30% of students affirm that they prefer the industry and non-profit business world to the academic one.
When the academic world picture and the students’ one don’t match, like it seems for now, it is highly probable we have to face devastating consequences for one side (or both?)
I believe that performance measurement in schools have to change, and I believe that this change means creating a new concept of success and performance throughout society.
Besides, if the present performance measurement systems makes the students anxious, depressed and ill (and I am not talking about the sole academic world, because it happens also in lower school grades)… you answered your own question.