Look, it seems amazing, but there is an actual way to get free money from science. It will take a little bit of effort, but not nearly as much effort as killing your rich uncle and making it look like a natural death. By following my simple guide you’ll be a cool $60k better off – imagine all the shit that you could convince yourself you need with that amount of money!
First, you’ll need to find a field of science that you feel like you can lie about being passionate about. If you choose something about kids with cancer, or cute animals who aren’t very good at fucking, it’ll be much easier to convince your family that you’ve just given up three years of your life to make the world a better place.
Next, find an academic supervisor who is in the field of study that you have chosen. This choice is going to be the first crucial decision you need to make. The perfect primary supervisor is someone who has the right combination of just wanting to be loved and someone who makes you/people feel uncomfortable – think racist grandparent with an MDMA addiction. This person should regularly say outrageous things like “who’s the brown one in the lab?” and “I thought it was the little Indian fella…”.
This is now were you earn your money – don’t worry it’s as easy as Facebook stalking someone. Collect as much information about this person as humanly possible. You need to find something from their past that they are ashamed of. Something dark. Something they’ll want to keep secret. Because you chose the best “gurning granddad” in the last step, this will be very easy. Everyone has a dark secret, mine is that my first ever music purchase was the Spice Girls – I spent the next few years of my life throwing the peace symbol around and the saying “girl power”, creating the perfect virginity force field.
Once you have found their dark secret. We are ready for the next step.
Approach your prospective PhD supervisor and say that you want to work for them. Use buzz words/phrases that no self respecting PhD supervisor could ignore. Examples include “I live to work” and “I can’t remember the last time I took a day off” and “papers” – you’ll have their undivided attention and the contract will be winging its way to you in no time at all. Sign the contract and ignore all of its contents – it doesn’t apply to you anyway.
Start your PhD. Do it for six months. Don’t worry, nothing will be expected of you, print off some peer-reviewed papers and scatter them all around your desk. Nothing says “I’m busy doing science” like a literature review and coffee stained teeth.
Here comes the fun part: after six months, stop turning up to the lab/office. Do not answer emails. Your goal is to be out of contact long enough that the glassware in the lab – the stuff with your name on it – has collected a thick layer of dust. Because science is so slow, it’ll take about three months before people actually realise that you aren’t there – this is the benefit of the new concept of “hot desks” in wanky open planned offices.
At this point your supervisor will be really mad. Answer their calls and to reveal what you know about them – that in 1986 they smoked crack, put all of their fingers in their friends bum, individually, and set a man on fire. Your supervisor will quickly back off and you shall continue to receive your PhD scholarship whilst traveling around Europe and posting the pictures on Facebook. Be sure to drop secret hints to your supervisor in the photos that you post:
Enjoy your ~$60k and spend it wisely. It’ll only last for three years (the length of a PhD scholarship) and you won’t actually get a PhD at the end. Apparently, quitting isn’t such a bad thing anyway!
Support Andy Matter and feel good without having to clean yourself up.