…AND I FEEL GREAT! If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably heard the rumours . I officially withdrew from my PhD last week!
(Here is how happy am I about this decision!)
I know that I’ve talked a lot about how mental health issues in no way prevent us from being good enough and smart enough and dedicated enough to complete a PhD. I still believe this. I really do. But I also think that right now, at this time in my life, this project in this department is not for me. I hope you’ll all understand and support me in this decision. I want to talk about it here because I want other students in my position to know that it is totally OK to leave a PhD. There is nothing shameful in walking away from a situation which is not good for you or your health. I am refusing to slink away from this with tail between my legs. I am happy with this decision and I am proud of myself for making it.
I came to this realisation during our annual student residential which, ironically, was meant to help me get back into my PhD! I had a great time at the residential, helped no end by the hotel upgrading my room to the fanciest suite ever!
So I had a lot of fun catching up with my PhD pals, hanging out in the jacuzzi, participating in discussions about student-supervisor relationships and discovering that I am almost entirely wrong about my own personality type. However, looking around the room at my friends and colleagues, many of whom are in the final year of their PhDs, I realised that they all looked kind of knackered. Much of our talk centred around the all-consuming nature of a PhD and I suddenly realised that I didn’t believe it was worth it. For this project, right now, I don’t believe it’s worth making myself ill over.
Of course I’m sad to be leaving my PhD and yes, at times I feel like a complete and utter failure and I realise how much self confidence and self belief I have lost over the last year and a half and actually how damaging some of the issues around my time off have been. However, my overwhelming feeling is relief. It’s definitely a scary feeling to have no idea what I’m going to do next but I’m feeling pretty hopeful. I can do anything I want to do now!
I wish I had the words to say how supportive you have all been and how thankful I am for every single person who has read this blog, contributed a post, sent me a message on twitter. You’re all amazing. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the blog, but it’s going to come with me on a wonderful adventure into unemployment and I hope you’ll all come along. There will be one more PhD advice related post because it has some contributions from other people in it and I don’t want their hard work to go to waste. I have lots of ideas for posts about how to hide that you are mad as a bag of cats in an interview (and what to wear), how to make it sound like quitting a PhD is a good thing and updates on Adventures in Mindfulness. In the meantime, please do check out PhDisabled and The New Academic for all your academic mental health needs!
Well gang, I hope you’ll all wish me well in my undefined and frankly terrifying future. If you happen to know anyone who is looking for a genetics/teaching assistant/public engagement/science communication/communication assistant or intern, please do keep me in mind.
Love all y’all!