How to Quit Graduate School
Well, somebody’s been coming to Post Academic by looking for this phrase, and we’re here to help. I quit grad school a long time ago, and I’ll be happy to share some tips with you. This advice may also help you should you decide to quit a Hamster World job in the future.
Deliver an Up Yours only if you are serious you won’t need anyone’s help later. I’m not against a good up-yours, Half Baked job departure, but chances are you like at least a few people in school, and you don’t want to alienate them.
Stay in touch with old friends and advisors. A good advisor, particularly one who understands how hard it is to get a job in the academy, will serve as a reference for you no matter what. In fact, they may be thrilled you’re becoming a Hamster because all they’ll have to do is field a reference phone call or two instead of writing lengthy recommendation letters. Less work for them, more sanity for you. Win-win.
Finish your work before you go. The temptation to let other people clean up your mess will be strong. You won’t be around next semester, so what? Well, if you want those friends and advisors to remember you fondly, tie up as many loose ends as possible or at least spend some time training people to handle your work.
More after the jump! Comic book cover image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Smile and nod at guilt trips. Academics are experts at guilt-tripping each other. With all the competition, you’d think there would be rejoicing at your departure, but a few people–maybe even your advisors–will try to pull interventions as if there is something wrong with you. The truth is, justifying staying in academia to you helps them justify it to themselves. Those who are secure in their decisions will congratulate you and wish you well.
Fight back against the “quitter” talk. The cretins in your cohort will call you a quitter. As for them, feel free to unleash all your Up Yours feelings. They probably weren’t your friends, anyway, and they could probably stand to learn a lesson that there is a life and jobs beyond the ivory tower.