|12-27-2010, 02:41 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
quitting grad school
I am 25 and am contemplating quitting grad school. I've finished my first semester in one of the top Ph.D. programs in my field, but I'm starting to wonder if I should even be here. I originally decided to go to grad school because I loved research, and I wanted to get more credentials so that I could have a high-power job afterward. I also got lots of encouragement from my parents and undergrad professors. I always thought I would be cut out for grad school and would earn a Ph.D, especially since I was always at top student in school, so being the "smart" kid was part of my identity.
I don't hate what I'm doing, but I don't like it, either. I'm just going through the motions. The classes I took last semester were so boring that I had trouble staying awake, and I have found the departmental seminars equally dull. I find myself constantly questioning the value of m work (and the work of everyone around me). I feel like I don't fit in because my colleagues all went straight from undergrad and have never been outside academia (I took several years before going back to school).
My parents are trying to convince me to stay, but I'm tempted to chuck all of this and do something completely different. I'm tempted to rebel against my parents, which I realize is immature. I never rebelled against them as a teen, since I was living under their roof, and they weren't domineering or unreasonable. I was the one who pushed myself so hard to tow the line and be a perfect kid, not them.
I'm afraid to make the wrong decision. What if I leave graduate school and regret it? Or I hate the job that I take instead? It's impossible to know what I will end up regretting later down the road. I don't want to be one of those middle-aged people who is bitter and angry because they are full of regrets and didn't do what they really wanted to do with their lives. I don't want to live my life for other people, because if I just do what I "should" do, I allow others to live their opinions through me, which I will surely resent later. I have a lot to offer, and I love to serve others, but I don't know how to go about doing it!
Any advice? Have any of you left a grad program and have any experiences to share?
Last edited by paratroopa; 12-27-2010 at 03:11 PM.
|12-27-2010, 05:44 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2008
Perhaps it's only the grad school, nut the goal of attaining the degree that's not right for you. Schools can vary, perhaps you should visit a similar programm at another school and see if it woud work better for you before you give up this path completely. Changing university was what made all the difference for me.
|12-28-2010, 11:48 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
An article that Steve wrote rose to mind. Instead of weighing pros and cons, think about what you want to experience.
Making Decisions That Stick
Last edited by SmellyOrc; 12-28-2010 at 11:51 PM.
|12-31-2010, 02:21 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2010
I'm a bit biased in my response. I was in grad school. Got my Master of Science degree and chose not to continue on to do my PhD despite my love for science and an offer from my advisor to stay on with him.
Best decision for me, ever.
It took me 3 years after leaving grad school to get my "dream job", or rather my "right now dream job" but I'm making more money than I did in grad school and I still work in science, even though it's not exactly the same as what I was doing in grad school. (After finishing my master's I stayed on in the lab as a lab tech/research coordinator, so I don't quite count that as the real world, but it still paid more than grad school).
My friends are my age (30ish) and only now are they wrapping up their PhDs (and starting families and trying to live the rest of their lives, and they are burnt out).
I think sometimes it's hard to see the world outside of grad school if you haven't ever really left academia. I was blown away when I got my first "real job". My first real job supervisor was 2 years younger than me but had been at it for 4 years longer -- I learned so much from her and she "only had a B.Sc". She's one of the smartest people I know.
I'm gonna stop my rant but I think you know which direction I'm leaning. I'm also reminded of a saying something like this -- when the mind and body are in conflict, the body is always right. Take some time for reflection and meditation and see what comes up. No mater which decision you make, you will still be okay.
|12-31-2010, 10:34 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Have you decided what you would like to do instead of research? If not, find out an alternative first, try to imagine yourself following that alternative and see if it fits. There is nothing wrong in leaving PhD, but you should make sure that it's not a spur of moment decision.
I did PhD + few years of research when I felt that it was getting boring. I quit and now I feel that PhD was not the greatest thing that I accomplished.
|12-31-2010, 01:06 PM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Paratroopa, whatever choice you make, it must feel empowering to you, otherwise you will regret it. Where do you feel your power lies, in quitting the academia or in staying there? Which way gives you more options?
I have committed to writing a PhD and I am very clear about why I am doing it and where I want to get. I also work full time and I have accepted that it might take a bit longer to finish my dissertation and that I might be late with starting a family. I have thought about these aspects and now fully accept them and I can say that whatever comes, it was my choice.
I have a friend who told me that all women who do PhD look old and unhappy and I just want to prove the contrary
|12-31-2010, 06:32 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Paratroopa, There are lots of ways to serve people without a PhD. Maybe you could do some light volunteer work in an area that interests you. You may be re-energized to do your PhD, or you may realize that, holy cow, you are in the totally wrong field. I'm currently in an MBA program, but I'm in my 40's. If I had gotten the MSW in my 20's, like I had seriously contemplated, I would be so miserable now. I cannot imagine anything worse than being highly trained in a field one is just not interested in. "I'm the world's greatest nuclear submarine physicist. Great, except that I hate the water and physics as well. Ugh." Don't let that be you. CD
|01-03-2011, 11:07 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
The fact that you're not feeling school right now tells me you should postpone it. You can always go back. I dropped out of college this semester in my fourth year. My grades were fine, everything was good, my heart just wasn't in it.
I discovered that I don't care about having a degree, and I didn't enjoy classes. They were boring and far too structured. I could learn more from books in a far shorter time. I think I made the right decision. The moment it feels wrong, I'll go back to school. Easy 'nuff.
I recommend you do the same.
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