Grad student/parents

Anne Savitt asavitt at
Mon Jan 24 17:30:58 EST 1994

In article <lwalsh.759210345 at> Laura L. Walsh,
lwalsh at writes:
>The "bad" part is that I am still not sure I
>will actually be able to finish.  I am not that good at "original
>research", although I seem to be good at explaining things and organizing
>them in a way people can understand.  I used to be a teacher and I guess
>I am still drawn to that.  So I have reached the end of my allowed
>time and I still don't have "enough" research that qualifies.  And
>I am up in the air about career goals. 


I must say that I find your posting very disturbing.  First of all, it is
my understanding that it is up to your advisor to make sure that you have
!enough research! that qualifies for your thesis.  That is your advisor!s
job.  Sometimes (and I, too, have been guilty of this), if you don!t push
your advisor and remind him/her that you exist, they get wrapped up in
their work and kind of forget about you.  But that brings us to point two
- why have you spent so many years in graduate school to end up !in the
air! about your career goals?  Especially since what you would really
like to do requires the Ph.D.  It sounds to me like your goals are in
place but you are not sure if you can obtain the credentials to follow
them through.  

Without getting on a soap box, this is the sort of thing which I would
categorize as !subtle discrimination! - they haven!t hassled you about
your children, but you have suffered professionally because you couldn!t
juggle well enough.  You end up with a hopeless feeling that no matter
what you do, it won!t get you through and so you start adjusting your
goals to make them more !realistic! and so, well, maybe you don!t really
need the Ph.D., you can always do something else.  The question is, do
you want to do something else?  Or do you really really want that degree?
(Do I sound like I!ve been there?)

If your answer is yes, you need to go talk to your advisor, your
department, your graduate director and maybe the graduate school, and
tell them !I!m not leaving here without my degree so what do I have to do
to get it?!  You have worked hard, against the odds, and if you leave
without your degree, it should be your choice, not your only choice.

Good luck!

Anne Savitt
Department of Microbiology
SUNY at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY   11794-5222
email:  asavitt at

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