Tell me how to leave graduate school and still be successful
October 7, 2012 9:12 PM Subscribe
I am current a first semester history MA student at a highly ranked public university, and I cannot stand it. I'm planning on contacting the department secretary soon to tell her that I'm leaving the program. What can I do now?
posted by oxfordcomma to Education (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
some more detail:
I've only attended this school for a month, but it's become very clear to me that I am not compatible with my department and that they care very, very little about their MA students. I have not been granted an adviser yet, and the only professor who taught in my area of interest was either fired or left over the summer. Therefore, I am stuck taking completely irrelevant classes, that may or may not even count toward a degree. In addition - and perhaps the most alarming point to me - is the terrible culture of the department. I feel like any dissent in regard to political, religious, or historical views is quickly stomped out, and I had a professor mock me and others (in class) for interpretations of documents. This leaves myself and my cohort are absolutely miserable. The university itself is a red tape disaster, i.e. it has taken Student Accounts one month (and counting) to rectify their mistake as charging me as an international student. I'm more stressed than I've ever been in my entire life, causing terrible panic attacks and DAYS without sleep. I've visited the campus counselling center, but so far, they've been very unhelpful. So, clearly, I need to leave this university as quickly as possible. I've given thought to joining another department at a different school.. would it look bad if I abandoned a masters degree? I'm not even sure if I hate my department, or if I hate the discipline of history at a graduate level. I just have nothing to compare it to other than my current school, and I'm very, very fearful of finding myself in a similar situation.
tl;dr: my current university is terrible.
But here is where my thought process ends. I don't know what comes after this. If I do abandon history, I will probably enter community college to pick up a trade (most likely, respiratory therapy or veterinary technology) or a post-graduate certificate. I'm not quite sure what I would enroll in, but main goal is is a bright future/ employment prospects. I would LOVE to work at some place like a community college or at a local government level. I've also given a fair amount of thought to respiratory tech and vet. tech for both their employment prospects and my interests in both fields.
I did take a year off between my undergraduate degree and graduate school, but with my history BA and a fair amount of work experience (retail, public outreach, management, etc.) I only managed to get a call center job and a temporary test scoring management position. I'm afraid that jumping back into the job market immediately would yield similar results. I have a background in history, economics (which I loved), and chemistry.
Has anyone ever made a career u-turn like this? What can I do to brighten my career prospects? What would be the best degree (post-grad certificate or community college AAS) to gain employment?