Monday, August 29, 2011

Good Luck!

Today is the first day of classes at Grad U for the fall semester. I assume that for many of you who are reading here who are still in academia, this week (or perhaps next) is the start of your semester as well.

I just wanted to put up a quick post today wishing you all good luck with the start of the new semester ... as well as to remind you that if you continue being unhappy or dissatisfied with your academic life as the semester goes on, you are not alone. In the last 24 hours alone, several people have found this blog through searches for "I'm unhappy in graduate school," "hate grad school," and "tired of grad school want to leave."

If everyone around you seems bright-eyed and bushy-tailed but you can't muster up similar enthusiasm, it's okay. You're not the only one feeling this way, even if no one around you is admitting to it.

Just get through each day, and keep in mind that you have options. You can choose to leave if you want. Academia is a job ... nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't own you, and the fact that you started down this path doesn't mean that you can't change courses and careers if you want to or need to.

I'm not the least bit upset that I'm not teaching or going to research meetings this week. My current job may not be groundbreakingly interesting, but I'm honestly just thrilled that today is just another average work day for me ... and that after 5pm, my evenings are free for me to do whatever I choose with.

There will always be opportunities to teach a class or to do some independent research if I so choose. But being outside of the academic machine feels great. If you feel like you need to leave, get the process started.

And it seems like as good of a time as any to mention that if you're a grad student who is feeling really hopeless and desperate, or who is having thoughts of suicide ... there is a dedicated hotline out there for graduate students who need help. Call 1-800-GRADHLP anytime to speak to someone who understands what you're going through and wants to help.

Good luck with the new semester!

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