Should You Quit Your PhD?

Earlier this year I published “It’s OK to quit your PhD” on my University Affairs blog; it was later reposted on the Shit Academics Say blog and shared thousands of times on social media. This post struck a chord with many people.

To quit or not to quit a PhD is a fraught topic, heavy with all kinds of baggage of different sorts. People can have strong opinions about the right answer, and have let me know what they think. My own opinion remains what it was months ago: You do you.

There is nothing inherently good or bad about completing a PhD. It’s only a good move for you if it is a good move for you. While individuals who depart sans degree will come to their own personal conclusions about their decisions, the wide world rarely cares.

If leaving before you graduate is right for you, awesome; if not, great. If you’re struggling with the decision, investigate what’s going on but then trust what you learn and act on it.

Over the years since I started working as a coach, I’ve worked with a few clients who’ve navigated the “should I quit” question. They come to me at different stages of the decision process, and it takes time for them to sort out what’s right. That’s as it should be. What they get from speaking with me about the issue(s) is an empathetic, curious listener who wants what’s best for them. Yes, I did finish my PhD, but I can easily imagine not having done so. (If only I’d hired a coach years before I did!) I don’t regret my path, but . . . well, there might have been a better way.

Are you struggling with the to quit or not decision these days?

Join me next Wednesday for a conversation and group coaching session on this topic. I’ll start us off with a few words about my own journey and what I’ve learned along the way from my clients and others. Then, we’ll have a structured discussion around a few important talking points and your own questions and concerns. We’ll end by coming up with next steps you can take to either continue your thinking, determine your exit strategy, or refocus on your studies, whatever’s right for you.

Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Time: 1pm – 2:30pm ET
Cost: CA $20 (+ applicable tax) / approx US $15 per participant, paid via PayPal
Location: Online, via Zoom (I’ll provide you with a link)




Anyone is welcome to join us, and you can do so anonymously/silently if you prefer. Only I will know your contact details, and I won’t tell anyone.

This will be a live-only event — the idea is for us to gather together in a safe space for an open discussion with me and each other. This is also a test for me,  and I’ve priced it accordingly — I’ve not done something quite like this in the past. We’ll see how it goes.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *