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Rethinking being a PhD candidate: whether, when, how, why, & what next?

I am a doctoral candidate and have become increasingly convinced that I no longer want an academic job, and possibly not a PhD either. When/how do I tell my supervisor? (Particulars inside, and apologies in advance about the length.) [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 10, 2014 - 15 answers

Exiting Academia

I just finished up my third semester of a PhD program in information studies. There are parts I like, but as I get deeper into it I'm beginning to realize that those aren't in the majority to the parts I dislike. I have a masters in Library and Information Science and have been keeping an eye on job openings and it seems like there are a number that I would be a great fit for. I'm remembering how much I liked the job when I was in it, and I'd like to exit academia before sinking too much time into it. However, my GAship is providing a steady salary and health benefits. How do I do this in a way that works out well for both me and my adviser? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 2, 2014 - 7 answers

Transitioning from academia back to a former job

I'm coming to think that, while I don't hate academia, I'm beginning to like it less and less and have apprehensions about continuing through to my dissertation. I'm in my second year of the PhD program, and have a masters with practical application in the field that I was working in before deciding to continue on to my PhD. The place where I was working, a public library, is now hiring for a position similar to the one that I was in before I left. Typically my master's degree would command a higher salary, and I think I would probably need a little bit more than what they're offering to live comfortably and start paying down my extant debt accrued during my masters (I'm not taking on any new loans, thankfully). I left on great terms, and feel like a really strong candidate for the job with the skills I've gained in the interim, but would only be able to take it with slightly higher salary than they offer now. I loved this job, and it's looking more and more appealing compared to my current experience in academia. What steps should I take to contact the HR department of the library system to a) let them know that I'm interested and suss out how interested they might be in me, and b) talk about flexibility in salary? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 28, 2013 - 2 answers

My PhD lab is still paying me post-graduation-Should my CV say postdoc?

I graduated with a biochem PhD a month or so ago. As is common practice at my institution - my thesis advisor offered me a few months of additional funding to finish up some papers while I hunt for industry jobs. Formally, I now have a post-doc appointment and salary, but I'm not actually taking on any new projects or doing any new science, nor do I have funding to stay her for more than another month or two. How should this look on my resume? I'm only applying to industry positions, not to academic positions or proper post-docs. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 9, 2013 - 11 answers

What kind of help should I expect from my dissertation chair?

My social sciences dissertation proposal defense went pretty badly, and it makes me think that I need more help than my dissertation chair will provide. Are my expectations for feedback reasonable, or not? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 2, 2013 - 11 answers

New baby + diss defense, can this math work?

Wrapping up a pregnancy and a dissertation at the same time. Given the inherent badness of this idea, when is the least ill-advised time to schedule my defense? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 28, 2013 - 15 answers

another PhD drop out thread

Considering dropping out of 1st year humanities PhD program. Terrified of starving on the streets. Help? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 12, 2013 - 21 answers

PhD thesis woes - what do I tell my supervisor?

I am in the final year of my PhD. I suffered from many months of depression and an inability to get my writing done in a timely fashion. I am now playing catch-up. I have a telephone appointment with my supervisor next week, and wonder if and how I should disclose the difficulty I faced, and am still facing. I don't want to burden her with my personal issues. How do I, or should I, discuss this? How do I regain her faith in me? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 28, 2013 - 11 answers

PhD dropout

I'm dropping out of a PhD program in a social science with only a masters degree. I need a real job. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 17, 2013 - 15 answers

Research career post-PhD?

Defending and depositing my engineering dissertation by end of April. Strained relations with advisor and distant relations with committee. What next, and how? Please advise. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 22, 2013 - 10 answers

Can a federal scientists become a lawyer?

Are there ways for a federal research scientist to attend law school and remain a government employee after graduating? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 2, 2013 - 9 answers

What are my options for doing a PhD long distance?

What are my options for doing a PhD long distance? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 17, 2012 - 11 answers

PhD vs ME

So, I just started my PhD program. Are my feelings normal? I'm worried that I'm not working enough and that my ideas are bad. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 4, 2012 - 21 answers

You mean *I* get a say in salary talk? Wha?

I was recently contacted by a recruiter and in the last month have been through several interviews, the last taking place today. Now, the recruiter's called to ask if I am ready to take the next step and has asked about my salary expectations. What? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 3, 2012 - 15 answers

Presidential Managment Fellowship for STEM graduates

What does the Presidential Management Fellowship entail? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 2, 2012 - 6 answers

Good starting points for learning how to do empirical research?

Good starting points for learning how to do empirical research? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 21, 2012 - 9 answers

Make me less of an academic island!

I'm a PhD student, and I'd like to do more academic networking over email. How does this work, and what should the emails sound like? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 16, 2012 - 14 answers

How to come to terms with long cycle of failure and move on?

After years of escapism, how to anchor life to meaning (or vice versa?) when almost four years of research hasn't amounted to anything? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 10, 2012 - 21 answers

How can I graduate and find a job when I'm struggling?

I am in my 7th year of a science Ph.D. at MIT and I need to graduate. I have invested an incredible amount of time and energy in this process, and I definitely have a Ph.D. level of skills and knowledge by now. 7 years is not outside the norm for my department. The problem is that a number of circumstances occurring in a row have lead to a bad/toxic relationship with my advisor and slow performance on my part. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 7, 2012 - 11 answers

Leaving PhD program without burning bridges?

I am currently working on a Ph.D. but may have an opportunity to enter my field early. Is there a way I can drop out without burning bridges? When should I speak with my adviser about it? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 2, 2012 - 12 answers

I’m looking for advice on how to handle an unexpected separation from my husband.

I’m looking for advice on how to handle an unexpected separation from my husband. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 27, 2012 - 52 answers

How to Say "Thanks"

Do people give their graduate advisors presents following a successful defense? What would qualify? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 4, 2012 - 16 answers

Just how common are abusive situations in academia? How do you survive and is it even worth it?

My girlfriend is 5 years in to a PhD program with an abusive (verbal, emotional, and mental) PI/lab. This seems to be a common theme in academia, just how common is it? How do you go about graduating if they seem to be working against you (assuming no fault on your part)? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 13, 2012 - 12 answers

Qualifying exams: I laughed, I cried, I cried, I cried...

Grad school filter: I need a reality check on my qualifying exams. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 11, 2012 - 20 answers

Guide me; maybe I'm just lazy

The truth is that in 50 years or so, I'll be on my deathbed, and I can guarantee you that I won't be spending the experience ruminating about my time at the office. What kind of job should I get? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 6, 2011 - 18 answers

I don't want to be a professor, I just want to be a lab tech who reads a lot.

Help me quit grad school. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 3, 2011 - 21 answers

Do I leave my PhD program?

I might not be smart enough for my PhD program; it is obvious from my classes that I lack certain skills or aptitudes the average student in my field has. Do I quit now? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 - 32 answers

Evaluating a professor

I am an advanced PhD student in an engineering discipline. I have been sent a presumably routine email from the department chair asking for comments on my research advisor's interaction with me to be submitted as an email, as a part of a multi-faceted evaluation. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 19, 2011 - 14 answers

Just because you're paranoid don't mean your advisor ain't out to get you

I suspect that my PhD thesis advisor may be writing me poor letters of reference for postdoctoral positions. What can I do to get some sort, any sort, of job? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 4, 2011 - 18 answers

Career for someone with a background in earth sciences?

Looking for advice on possible careers post-grad school with earth sciences training. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 9, 2011 - 6 answers

Seeking mental health professional in Brooklyn or lower Manhattan

Seeking recommendations for a mental health therapist in North Brooklyn/lower Manhattan. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 1, 2011 - 1 answer

Graduate school woes.

Help me overcome my emotional immaturity which has crippled my academic course. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 24, 2011 - 6 answers

Don't want a post-doc! Want a Porsche!

Selling out successfully Few months away from finishing PhD, & no interest in staying in science. Can I use my fancy credentials to try and get a high-paying big-city job? Help me chart a course. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 11, 2011 - 8 answers

Hothead wondering whether university faculty or reputation.

Should an incipient PhD student shoot for the adviser or the program? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 26, 2011 - 28 answers

Life after PhD?

Is doing a neuroscience PhD useful to enhance my job prospects generally, not just in research? If I choose to leave science after graduating, what would a PhD get me? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 27, 2011 - 12 answers

How do I be the parent and scientist I want to be?

Can I take 2 or 3 years off after getting my PhD to be a parent full-time without seriously reducing my ability to be a researcher (not necessarily a professor) in the hard sciences? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 23, 2011 - 15 answers

PhD committee blues.

I had a rough PhD candidacy exam with a provisional pass. I have three months to "make things more specific and do an experiment." Some of my committee comments were constructive, but something seems off. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 9, 2011 - 11 answers

PhD Failure - What next?

Where next after failing my UK PhD at the viva stage? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 5, 2011 - 11 answers

What are the financial implications of my girlfriend's career path (loan-funded PhD, then law school)?

What are the financial implications of my girlfriend's career path (loan-funded PhD, then law school)? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 31, 2011 - 51 answers

Can I let myself be happy now or should I guard my heart?

Four days ago, my partner got an email from her #1 grad school choice that sounded good. How excited should we be? I know there are many variables at work here that neither you nor we can know at this time, but I want to know if I can be excited and happy or if I should try to calm myself down. I know many people here are phD's from the hard sciences as well and I am hoping you can provide some perspective. Here are the details: [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 22, 2011 - 27 answers

How should I best use my time to transition out of academia? (I'm in math.)

How should I best use my time to transition out of academia? (I'm in math.) [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 17, 2011 - 12 answers

How to lose my apathy and get a PhD

How to Be Awesome and Finish a PhD? I'm in my first term of an engineering PhD (post-bachelors and 2yrs working in industry). My work is sucking: I don't do enough homework or research. How do I get back the drive I felt in high school when I was a clueless single guy who felt he had to prove he was brilliant? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 20, 2010 - 8 answers

Is there a doctor present?

My SO's PhD defense is coming up. Can you help me find small doctor-related presents/music? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 6, 2010 - 12 answers

Transferring PhD programs

I just started my first year of graduate school, and I'm disappointed with my PhD program. What now? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 16, 2010 - 12 answers

If not a PhD, then what?

If not a PhD, then what? Am I an idiot for wanting to pursue a PhD? If I don't do that, then what would a good alternative be? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 18, 2010 - 13 answers

I feel totally aimless and adviser-less in this, my last year of Ph.D. coursework. How did this happen? How do I fix it? Sorry if this is a bit long.

I feel totally aimless and adviser-less in this, my last year of Ph.D. coursework. How did this happen? How do I fix it? Sorry if this is a bit long. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 1, 2010 - 6 answers

should a historian become an archivist? details inside

should a historian become an archivist? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 24, 2010 - 5 answers

Was it attempted plagiarism?

A couple of years ago I was an undergrad looking for part-time research work, and a friend-of-a-friend connected me to a PhD candidate who needed help with her thesis. I spoke to her and her request set off plagiarism alarm bells for me, so I declined the project. I always doubted whether I handled it correctly, though, and I just found out that the friend-of-a-friend who referred me is still a little ticked at me for asking the PhD student these questions and then declining the work. Did I handle this alright, or was I being a jerk? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 20, 2010 - 30 answers

To MD or not to MD?

CrossroadsFilter. PhD or MD? I could invest an extra year into attending a one-year special master's degree program that, upon success, would pretty much guarantee admission into medical school. I'd be a 28-year-old first-year medical student. But what about babies? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 - 17 answers

Should I, an ABD, do an MA in Methods while waiting for job market horizons to open?

Would it be better to publish or to get an MA in methods while I am ABD? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 10, 2010 - 6 answers

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