Yeah, about that.
I met with my advisor when I was about 20 weeks in — before that point, he didn’t even know I was pregnant. We talked for a while, and what it came down to was this:
- I don’t have, after a year, a defined topic that I am really invested in.
- I have not found any subject that can be coordinated with my full time job.
- The department that I am in does not focus on my primary area of skill/interest/career advancement
- I got a whole lot of value out of the doctoral level classes, but independent research is not a huge interest of mine (and honestly, my work experience has included enough research that I know how to go about the process once I have a defined problem to deal with)
- My career prospects are not greatly enhanced by having a PhD. I’m not planning on going into academia — this would only be a technical “plus” to my resume.
- I’m having a second child. I already don’t have any time to work on this now, much less when I add another baby into the mix.
So at the end of our conversation, we both agreed that it’s best for me to become an “inactive” student in the department. Basically, I walk away — and since I have always relied on my employers to pay my tuition, I’m out at no cost (minus the year I still owe my current job). If a topic happens to fall in my lap, or I find something that can work with my job, I can reapply to the department and pick up where I left off.
I would love to say that I’m torn about the decision to quit, but really I’m not. Would I love to have the third diploma and the letters after my name? Sure. But I’m not willing to sacrifice what I would have to give up, namely time with my family, in order to get there. It’s the right decision for me and for our family.
So there you go — that’s how you quit a Ph.D. program, if you ever need to make the decision.