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I'm so frustrated with my program that I think that I want to leave. How do I know if leaving is the right decision?
Most of us, at one point or another, have seriously considered giving up on the academic dream. Here are some of the more memorable (and easy to find in the archives!) posts about quitting.

Rochelle points about that dreaming of quitting happens in nonacademic jobs as well: The quitting fantasy by Rochelle.

Frustrated by advisor comments, Todd wonders if he could have chosen an easier path: Is there an easier way to make a living? by Todd.

Eliza's emotional post about her late night decision to leave her Ph.D. program prompted much support and advice from other Phinishers: I'm pretty sure I have to quit by Eliza.

Tom offers some advice to Sarah, who is thinking about quitting, on how to manage and even indulge the quitting fantasy, all while plodding on and eventually phinishing: Totally normal! (longish) by Tom.

Littleowl asks for and receives some good advice: Thinking about Quitting: Would Like Some Perspective/Ideas (long!) by littleowl.

My family/spouse/SO doesn't understand me/the Ph.D. process, etc. What can I do about this?
Two great questions by Saundra started a long discussion about juggling relationships with significant others with the dissertation and the job search: 2 questions by Saundra.

Tom's advice to a poster whose husband is giving her trouble about school: Carol and Rochelle are nice. by Tom.

I really want to work on my dissertation, but instead I turn on the TV/clean the house/wash the dog, etc.
Kathleen asks for, and receives, advice on dealing with procrastination. Kimt faces the same problem.

I'm feeling down and hopeless. Sometimes I feel like I can't go on. Is this normal?
Graduate student life is certainly stressful and almost everyone feels lonely and down at times. Most PhinisheD participants have experienced these feelings occasionally. Feeling depressed and hopeless for an extended period of time, however, can indicate something more than the typical grad student blues. Please take the National Mental Health Association's online depression screening test, and follow up with a local professional if the results indicate that you would benefit from additional help. Start here for more information on depression. The first steps to get help are the hardest--but baby steps will get you there, and your phriends at PhinisheD will be cheering you on.

Fantasies of quitting the thesis are pretty common, and sometimes involve imagining car wrecks or heart attacks so that we are "not at fault" for giving up. But if you feel you can't cope with life, or are thinking about harming or killing yourself, tell someone now. Find out more about suicidal feelings here.

Crisis Hotlines:
  • Email for help or find a local hotline through Befriender's International (International; non-religious)
  • Call the US/Canada National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to be connected to a local crisis hotline, or find it yourself.
  • Phone, email, or talk in-person to counselors from The Samaritans (local rate 08457 90 90 90 UK; local rate 1850 60 90 90 Republic of Ireland; non-religious)
If you are experiencing extreme stress or despair as a graduate student, the National Graduate Student Crisis Line at 1-877-GRAD-HLP is a 24-hour toll-free crisis line for graduate students in the US and Canada. The accredited, confidential counseling is provided through Girls and Boys Town National Hotline (non-sectarian).

Update: Thanks to a stronger European, Australian, and Asian contingent, there are now usually people on the boards 24/7. We are by no means professionals, but we are dealing with the same stresses you are, and are willing to give you any support possible over the boards. Typically, people will post about depression on the OT board. It is not archived, and veteran PhinisheD members may post anonymously if need be. Please reach out--there is almost always someone online.


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