|10-25-2011, 03:16 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2011
thinking about quitting/taking a break from grad school...advice needed!!
I'm thinking to either take a break or quit grad school. I feel completely burn out from studying and being a student. I went from undergrad straight to Master's, and now right after my Master's to Ph.D. (no brakes).
The main reason why I went to do Ph.D. is because I could not find a job. Plus, I wanted to stay in the US instead of going back home. I'm doing my Ph.D. in Art History and I like reading and writing, and I like art, but staying in grad school seems almost like settling for a guy I don't really like but don't have other options... Also, I can't see myself doing the same old thing for the next number of years, being broke for so long... and at the end of the day, I'm not sure at all I wanna teach! I'm tired of academy and don't want to be a perpetual student. I just feel like something inside me is going numb... I don't like that at all! I'm either just tired and need a brake, or I'm just not cut out for being in grad school.
So instead of settling for the only option I have, I decided to create some options... I thought about going to teach English in Asia or South America, but now I'm not sure I'm ready for such a massive cultural shock and I'm not a native English speaker. Now I'm thinking to just go home for a while and maybe finding a job there. I'm not going to burn bridges with grad school and will probably take a leave of absence for a year... but most likely this won't happen until the end of Spring semester (it will be the end of my first year of Ph.D.). I'm in contract for an apartment which I don't see a way to break... But I thought this year will help me figure out what to do next. But, the thing is I need to do something during this year.
I'm contemplating whether I'm doing to do the right thing by taking a break from school... I'm 25 and I feel guilty that I don't have at least that (my professional life) figured out - at least knowing what I want to do... But, I feel like I need this break at least to maintain my mental well-being...
Guys, do you know what people usually do when they take a break from grad school? What are the possible options? What is a possible way to spend this year? What do you think about my situation?
Please please share your thoughts!
|10-26-2011, 01:41 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Madison, WI
I know what you are going through. It took me six years to get my bachelors I just cannot even consider stepping foot into another school again! I am so glad you realized you might not like teaching. I know of someone who went for a masters in teaching and then worked at a teaching job for two weeks and realized they hated teaching.
My daughter had asked me if she should go straight into a masters program in chemistry and I convinced her to take a year off.
I actually think teaching English overseas is a great idea! I lived in Southeast Asia for many years and taught english at a school. There are many foreigners and groups that get together and hang out so you don't have to feel so isolated. You should try China. I heard there a lot of opportunities there.
Its good that you realize you are getting burned out. I say go for it!!!
|10-26-2011, 11:37 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2009
You seem to be assuming that after a PhD you have no choice but teaching? Just wondering about that?
I don't know how tightly programmed your days are (first year PhD in the US carries a reasonable 'taught' load I believe) but maybe you can give yourself a day off a week (other than weekends) to do something completely different which may help you get through the first year - maybe some kind of voluntary work perhaps even in a gallery or bringing art to kids or something, or even assisting teaching English to new immigrants to the US so you can begin to get a feel for what that involves?
Maybe you could find an angle into art history which allows you to, I dunno, hit Florence or some kind of 'indigenous' something and combine research with a change of pace and scenery?
What is it about art history that you enjoy - maybe you could find some non-academic means of bringing more of this into your life right now without it becoming an academic exercise?
(On a similar note, I write a blog about Egypt but heck, now and then I want to just enjoy some visit or other thing without feeling obliged to write it up! Remembering when I was a kid and every time my intellectual parents took us on a visit anywhere we had to write a report afterwards, or read a book - write a report about it afterwards - not allowed just to have FUN!!! I have to stop myself from doing this 'work' sometimes because it's so inbred into me)
And yes, you can take a break from your studies, you will need to check your university's regulations. At the Uni where I did my PhD, there was a maximum cap of 10 years between registering and completing. Some people took 8 years! Also depends on your funding. I was funded by a research council so there were issues around that which would have made taking a lot of time out awkward. But if you are self-funding, then it would be to some extent up to you! When my grant ran out, I hadn't written up and had to resume (very) full-time employment so I basically didn't touch it for the first 6 months back into work, just messed around with chapter headings. BUT I got back on it eventually.
I used to think PhDs were about being brainy and brilliant back when I was doing a BSc. Then over the years, I met a few and also a few brainy types who never finished. I can safely vouch that if you have a masters, you have the brains, no question. But what you need in spades to finish a PhD is 99% persistance. The ability to put it down when you need to and, more importantly, pick it back up again!
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