So about that dissertation …

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.


2 thoughts on “So about that dissertation …

  1. Good for you for figuring out what you need to do for your family. I’ve thought about going back and getting a Master’s in the past. I was even seriously looking at the course catalog before I got pregnant with Sophie. That pregnancy was probably the final nail in the coffin of that idea. But even before then I was thinking about how the time commitment would impact our young family. The cost/benefits of it just didn’t work in favor of going back to school.

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