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Thread: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

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  1. #1
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    If so, I'd like to hear your reasons and whether you ever regretted it. Just your stories in general.

    Just, um, curious.
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  2. #2
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Thought about it at least once a week during my 2nd year of law school.

    There's probably a long list of people who wish they could go back in time and push me to actually having done it.
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Thought about it at least once a week during my 2nd year of law school.
    Interesting. Generally once you get to second year, most people's thoughts of quitting have subsided unless their first year grades had pretty much guaranteed that they weren't going to be able to do what they had in mind when they went to law school. What was it that made you want to quit after getting through first year?

    And I agree, there have been many times that I wished I had never decided that taking the LSAT would be a good idea.

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    Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Left during my second year of grad school at UC. I couldn't be happier with how everything has transpired. I truly think I would have ruined my life if I hadn't made the decision to leave right when I did.

    Now I am back finishing part time just because I don't want to waste the credits. I love my job and I don't think I'll be leaving this agency anytime soon.

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    Interesting. Generally once you get to second year, most people's thoughts of quitting have subsided unless their first year grades had pretty much guaranteed that they weren't going to be able to do what they had in mind when they went to law school. What was it that made you want to quit after getting through first year?

    And I agree, there have been many times that I wished I had never decided that taking the LSAT would be a good idea.
    I spent an entire year getting letters back from firms telling me that they weren't interested. Best I managed was a phone interview with Dinsmore in Cincinnati that led to nothing (not even a follow up letter telling me to shove off).

    That kinda put a wet blanket over my career aspirations -- which, at the time, were to make as much money as possible in as short amount a time as possible.
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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Thought about it at least once a week during my 2nd year of law school.
    I thought about quitting Duke Law School often during my first year, and I am not sure I would have returned for a second year had not I so enjoyed clerking at a law firm the summer between my first and second year.
    The other motives I had to stick it out were that I couldn't do all that much with just a A.B. in political science and I couldn't stand the idea of going back home feeling defeated and a failure if I quit.
    I'm glad that I didn't quit, even though my law career has developed in ways that I didn't expect or intend when I started out.
    Last edited by RedsBaron; 01-09-2011 at 12:37 PM.
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    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    I quit grad school in Cleveland because I did not want to pursue the career my program was leading me towards. Seven years later I obtained a graduate degree from Xavier in another field and I couldn't be happier.

  8. #8
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    If so, I'd like to hear your reasons and whether you ever regretted it. Just your stories in general.

    Just, um, curious.
    Whether you'd regret quitting depends upon why you're considering quitting.
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  9. #9
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Whether you'd regret quitting depends upon why you're considering quitting.
    In a word: jobs. I decided to get a terminal degree because I wanted to teach at the college level; grad school has confirmed that the ONLY thing I want to do with this degree is teach at the college level. Then I read stuff like this and kind of want to throw myself off a bridge. The jobs barely exist and are getting slashed even more every day.

    I *like* school just fine, though I don't seem to be as enamored of it as a lot of my classmates, or rather, they seem more willing to completely give their entire lives over to it than I am. I absolutely love teaching. I think I am good at it. But I don't think I love it enough to take on random adjunct positions here and there, supplement it with jobs I don't care about, worry about insurance, not qualify for public service loan forgiveness (you need to be employed full-time by a non-profit), and worry about job security every six months. It just looks very bleak at this time and I don't know that the investment is worth it.

    My program is only two years and I'm definitely finishing one year. I think it makes the most sense to stick it out, but I still wonder. I started this topic on a night when I was up half the night choreographing a movement piece to consonants in a Shakespeare monologue for my Saturday 9 am class. With a chest cold. Those don't tend to be my finest moments.

    It's interesting to hear people's take on things...those of you who did quit, did you feel that the financial investment you had put in was a waste? It's also interesting to hear of Yachtzee not considering himself an academic and being pulled in directions he didn't want to be, which is something I deal with too.
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  10. #10
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    In a word: jobs. I decided to get a terminal degree because I wanted to teach at the college level; grad school has confirmed that the ONLY thing I want to do with this degree is teach at the college level. Then I read stuff like this and kind of want to throw myself off a bridge. The jobs barely exist and are getting slashed even more every day.

    I *like* school just fine, though I don't seem to be as enamored of it as a lot of my classmates, or rather, they seem more willing to completely give their entire lives over to it than I am. I absolutely love teaching. I think I am good at it. But I don't think I love it enough to take on random adjunct positions here and there, supplement it with jobs I don't care about, worry about insurance, not qualify for public service loan forgiveness (you need to be employed full-time by a non-profit), and worry about job security every six months. It just looks very bleak at this time and I don't know that the investment is worth it.

    My program is only two years and I'm definitely finishing one year. I think it makes the most sense to stick it out, but I still wonder. I started this topic on a night when I was up half the night choreographing a movement piece to consonants in a Shakespeare monologue for my Saturday 9 am class. With a chest cold. Those don't tend to be my finest moments.

    It's interesting to hear people's take on things...those of you who did quit, did you feel that the financial investment you had put in was a waste? It's also interesting to hear of Yachtzee not considering himself an academic and being pulled in directions he didn't want to be, which is something I deal with too.
    Well, if you enjoy teaching, but don't necessarily want to be an "academic" and don't want to get stuck in the "adjunct teaching part-time at (insert local community college/ITT Tech) role," You could always consider teaching overseas. My brother and his wife both got masters degrees in education, tried finding jobs in various school districts here, but then decided to try teaching overseas, first in China, then Oman. They get their housing taken care of, premium pay and benefits, and end up with enough money to spend all their vacation time traveling.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    In a word: jobs. I decided to get a terminal degree because I wanted to teach at the college level; grad school has confirmed that the ONLY thing I want to do with this degree is teach at the college level. Then I read stuff like this and kind of want to throw myself off a bridge. The jobs barely exist and are getting slashed even more every day.

    I *like* school just fine, though I don't seem to be as enamored of it as a lot of my classmates, or rather, they seem more willing to completely give their entire lives over to it than I am. I absolutely love teaching. I think I am good at it. But I don't think I love it enough to take on random adjunct positions here and there, supplement it with jobs I don't care about, worry about insurance, not qualify for public service loan forgiveness (you need to be employed full-time by a non-profit), and worry about job security every six months. It just looks very bleak at this time and I don't know that the investment is worth it.

    My program is only two years and I'm definitely finishing one year. I think it makes the most sense to stick it out, but I still wonder. I started this topic on a night when I was up half the night choreographing a movement piece to consonants in a Shakespeare monologue for my Saturday 9 am class. With a chest cold. Those don't tend to be my finest moments.

    It's interesting to hear people's take on things...those of you who did quit, did you feel that the financial investment you had put in was a waste? It's also interesting to hear of Yachtzee not considering himself an academic and being pulled in directions he didn't want to be, which is something I deal with too.
    A few thoughts, which may or may not help you:

    *Despite what you may hear in the news, the unemployment rate for those with master's degrees is ridiculously low (~2%). A master's degree doesn't guarantee employment or a great job, but it does provide some measure of financial insulation and meaningful stability over the course of one's career.

    *Re: the risk/reward tradeoff for eduction, I recommend taking the broader, long-term perspective. Networking with your fellow graduate school cohort and professors may yield far more dividends than the actual "education" provides. For instance, my sister got an MFA in theatre, and managed to get a job teaching a few college courses at her alma mater with a big helping hand from an old drama professor.

    *Hopefully you are on an MA track rather than in a PhD program. The Economist had a report on PhD candidates a few months ago, and it was particularly troubling for those in the humanities, who work for pennies on the dollar. PhD candidates face a trap of working merciless hours during school, interminably long durations in completing thesis requirements, and poor career prospects after graduation.

    *If you are on a strict 2-year MA program as opposed to the PhD route, I think you're more likely than not to walk away with something valuable from the experience, regardless of the field of study (arts, humanities, etc.).

    *If you love teaching but don't enjoy the other stuff that comes with post-graduate education, then I recommend pursuing the teaching opportunities with a laser focus and scale back your effort on the rest of the graduation requirements. There are lots of ways to get caught up graduate school activities that "you should be doing" but are irrelevant in the bigger scheme of life and career. And if you successfully focus on the teaching, you'll probably carve out a more enjoyable educational experience in the end.

    There are lots of other considerations in these big life decisions--what are your realistic career alternatives, sunk costs, how does this affect family or other important relationships, as well as your long-term financial commitments.

  12. #12
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    I quit grad school way back when. I signed up because I got a fellowship to live in Austria for a year. I had just gotten back from there and was itching to return, so I jumped on it. Spent my year there and two in Bowling Green, Ohio, trying to finish up a dual degree in German and Political Science. Got jammed up writing my thesis because I had to get approval from both the German and Political Science departments, each wanting to pull me in a different direction. I got fed up with the interoffice politics and knew I wasn't going to go on to be an academic anyway (which is what they geared you toward) and kicked off my career as a computer programmer and web designer.

    Went to law school years later and stuck it out because I realized I really enjoyed working with the law. So look at your expected outcome and where you want to go with it. If I really wanted to continue on the track of becoming a teacher or university professor, I might have fought harder to finish my thesis and get my Masters. But really my heart just wasn't in it.
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  13. #13
    Member Reds4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    I was having a similar discussion with a friend of mine, and it doesn’t apply directly to your situation VP (different fields), but some of it is the same. The friend of mine is a division CFO with a tool company, who has a graduate degree, and I was asking him for advice, if I should pursue an MBA, specifically.

    I figured he would say yes, without a doubt, so his advice startled me a little. He said in the current job market, he didn’t feel like it was worth the investment. Jobs that used to pay a premium for those with graduate degrees no longer do so. A $100k job a few years ago is now an $80k job, if you’re lucky. He said the only way he’d recommend it right now if you are employed, and your employer has a fairly substantial tuition reimbursement program. If you are paying 100% out of pocket, it’s probably not worth it right now. He also added it has the potential to scare off some employers, if you don't have enough practical expierence. They might look at your education level and figure that you're too expensive, and at the moment most companies aren't looking to add high dollar positions.

    Again, I know you are in a non-business graduate program, so it might be different in your field. Still something to think about. It would suck to spend all that money, only find out it’s worthless to employers.
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    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    Did I ever want to think about quitting grad school?

    All the time. For both programs.

    But I stuck them out. Now no one can ever take away my grad degrees from me, and they allow me to check a lot of boxes on applications that others can't.

    Remember - things are cyclical. At some point, the Boomers will retire en masse. There's going to be a vacuum when they do. Jobs will appear. Funding will return for the arts. If you have the credentials and some experience under your belt when they do, you'll be in good shape.

    Both grad programs I did blew me away with how completely consumed people let themselves get with the program. Keeping a healthy balance and some perpsective about things is the way to go. You'll stand a much better chance of keeping your sanity and living a fulfilling life if you can keep from having a stroke over whatever the daily drama (pun intended ) is in the department.

  15. #15
    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    Re: Has anybody here ever quit grad school?

    " I started this topic on a night when I was up half the night choreographing a movement piece to consonants in a Shakespeare monologue for my Saturday 9 am class"

    No offense but If I were you, I'd opt for jumping off the bridge.


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