Friday, November 2

Nablopomo: Day Two

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel that I should let everybody know that I quit my Ph.D. program. This happened a few months ago, but it is one of those things that one really has to come to terms with oneself before announcing it to the world. I don't know if I have really come to terms with it, but I am least ready to let people know. Here are my reasons for this decision:

  1. I was so far behind in my studies. I don't feel badly about this because I have lots of good reasons for not being right on track with my program. Getting engaged, getting married, going through infertility treatments, and having a baby are all little snags that slowed me other words, life happened to me while I was trying to pursue a Ph.D., and I was not willing to put life on hold until after my doctorate came through.
  2. I lost my fellowship. Well, I didn't lose it, it just expired (see number one). It's a lot harder to go to school when you actually have to pay for it. Especially when you just had a baby and your husband is supporting the whole family. Plus, without a fellowship I am no longer teaching, and teaching is my one big motivation to do this job. Without it, I have completely lost my passion for my studies.
  3. I already have the degree that I need to do the job I want to do. I have always wanted to teach at the community college level. My passion is for teaching, not for scholarship, and if I got a job at the university level my teaching would be considered secondary. I have only ever wanted to teach at a CC where I don't have the pressure of being published and can put all of my energy into being the best teacher I can be. I only need an M.A. for that. I only ever went into the Ph.D. program to make myself more marketable and to raise my earning potential. At this point, I just want to get hired and start teaching full time. I'm sick of being a student.
  4. I am pessimistic about the job market. My experience with going on the job market last year was pretty miserable, and I hear the same sort of stories from folks who HAVE their Ph.D. If someone could guarantee that if I finished up my doctorate I would have a job waiting for me, I would absolutely do it. However, I would feel doubly miserable if I put all that time and energy and money into completing my program and then be no better off than I am now.
  5. There are many women who can raise a baby and complete a dissertation at the same time. I am not one of those women. Shit, I can't even keep this damn blog up to date.
Although all of the above reasons are pretty good ones, and my advisor agrees with me and feels I'm making the right decision, I still feel pretty miserable about it. Obviously, I feel like a HUGE failure, and that the fact that I am half a doctor will hang over my head for the rest of my life, not to mention a fuckload of student loan debt. Also, I feel so stupid for ever leaving Southern California--the only reason we moved to Reno is so that I could get this degree, and now we're kind of stuck here. It's times like this that you just have to believe that things happen for a reason. I really do miss my teaching terribly, though, and would give anything to be back in the classroom again.


Dan said...

I did a (second) degree during and after the birth of Amy, and that was hard enough so I dread to think what a PHD would be like.

It sounds like you did the right thing to me.

BellWookie said...

sometimes the decisions that make the most sense and are best for ourselves and our families just don't feel good. been feeling that way since I moved to CT. really good for the boy but not so much for me. good for you making the tough decision. can I tell you about my second master's that ended after about 15 credits?! :P