Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quitting Graduate School

Recently, fabio from orgtheory posted Grad School Rulz #21 on a topic of interest to 99% of all graduate students: quitting graduate school. It provides a good look at reasons to stay or quit the Academy.

I know this is of interest to my readers as it's probably the #3 reason search string that brings people to this site. For example, I get these a lot (insert various spelling errors): "graduate school cult" or "quitting graduate school". Even a good friend of mine (T-2 days from his defense) just posted on his FB that, following his advisor's criticisms at the 11th hour, he was planning to drop out.

Clearly, it's too late for me to drop out. BUT YOU MIGHT STILL HAVE A CHANCE!

Graduate school and the academy are quite cultish and as such, frank discussions about "quitting" are few and far between. Just this weekend I attended the National Postdoctoral Association annual meeting in Houston. For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, be sure to check out their website but do keep in mind the fact that the organization is heavily geared toward biomedical/science postdocs. Anywho, this meeting did a wonderful job presenting career development, networking, goal-setting, and job-landing opportunities OUTSIDE the Ivory Tower. My favorite part is when a group of recruiters from the [INSERT BIG FEDERAL RESEARCH INSTITUTION HERE] asked, "Why on earth do you people do this to yourselves? For Christ's sake, I pay my secretary more than you make!"

The meeting was great and I encourage you all to look into it. Let me know if you want more info on it, and I'll be happy to share some of the things I learned. Basically, I was newly inspired, filled with big thoughts and dreams, until I got back to my cube on Monday, and I realized I don't know how to do anything else.

What do you guys think about the re-entering the "Real World?" Worth it? Not? What about telling your mentor? (Now that would not be a discussion I would look forward to!)

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