Dec 1, 2010
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Hello, I'm not looking for anyone to give me a hard time with this one, so please try to be understanding.

I just started a clinical Ph.D. program this fall, and I'm not at all happy with this career choice. I know it seems premature to say so, but I should have taken more time to decide where I wanted my life to go from here.

I guess I just jumped the gun on this whole clinical psychology thing.

I'm telling you all this because I'm wondering, where do I go from here to make the transition as painless as possible for my advisor and program. I guess I could finish the masters, but I would be miserable and I would only be spending stipend money that another student could be using, a student that wants to be here.

Any and all advice would be appreciated, but please, be civil, I'm not here to bother anybody or start any arguments.

This has been very distressing to me.
 
Jul 7, 2010
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Hello, I'm not looking for anyone to give me a hard time with this one, so please try to be understanding.

I just started a clinical Ph.D. program this fall, and I'm not at all happy with this career choice. I know it seems premature to say so, but I should have taken more time to decide where I wanted my life to go from here.

I guess I just jumped the gun on this whole clinical psychology thing.

I'm telling you all this because I'm wondering, where do I go from here to make the transition as painless as possible for my advisor and program. I guess I could finish the masters, but I would be miserable and I would only be spending stipend money that another student could be using, a student that wants to be here.

Any and all advice would be appreciated, but please, be civil, I'm not here to bother anybody or start any arguments.

This has been very distressing to me.
I don't have too much advice, besides for this: I personally couldn't imagine spending 5 years doing something that I don't love.

I am more shocked than anything that you did not know that this was the wrong path for you before starting the program. I really don't mean this is a negative/judgemental way. I am assuming that in order to get into a PhD program, you must have had some experience (research and/or clinical), considering the extremely competitive nature of these programs. But hey, I guess sometimes it takes some time to figure it out
 

thewesternsky

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Jan 30, 2007
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If you've decided (really decided, for sure), you should tell your advisor first, and then let them help you break the news to other professors. The end of this first semester is probably a good time to break the news, before you begin classes next term.
 

bunderj

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Oct 15, 2010
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Another thing you might consider is that most doctoral programs allow for a one-year leave of absence. It wouldn't hurt to explore that option (I'm sure it is outlined in the doctoral student handbook in your department). That way you could be away from the program for up to a year, and if at the end of the year you still feel this is the wrong path for you, then at least you can leave knowing that you really weighed your options. You most likely wouldn't be eligible for a stipend during that year anyway, so you don't have to feel guilty about taking resources away from someone else who would rather be there. I would just hate for you to change your mind again (I know people who have gone through this) and then have it be too late. Getting back in is a lot harder if you've already left a program. Just my two-cents. Good luck to you.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
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Hello, I'm not looking for anyone to give me a hard time with this one, so please try to be understanding.

I just started a clinical Ph.D. program this fall, and I'm not at all happy with this career choice. I know it seems premature to say so, but I should have taken more time to decide where I wanted my life to go from here.

I guess I just jumped the gun on this whole clinical psychology thing.

I'm telling you all this because I'm wondering, where do I go from here to make the transition as painless as possible for my advisor and program. I guess I could finish the masters, but I would be miserable and I would only be spending stipend money that another student could be using, a student that wants to be here.

Any and all advice would be appreciated, but please, be civil, I'm not here to bother anybody or start any arguments.

This has been very distressing to me.
I know that at our program, the first year is absolutely brutal and nothing less than miserable. I understand your doubts, but the LAST thing you should be worried about is who you are taking a position from (while that sounds noble and all.) No student (not in recent history) in my program was anything less than overwhelmed and shell shocked by the amount of work to get done (perhaps there is one in every cohort, but for the most part it's a trial by fire).

I would encourage you to stick it out until you completed your masters UNLESS you are COMPLETELY SURE that you want out. If you are anything less than 100% sure that you want to do something else, then that could be the right answer. I would say that UNTIL you know what you want to do instead, that you ride it out.

That's my 2 cents, it's worth what you paid for it (absolutely nothing.) Personally, I see nothing wrong with at least getting your masters degree and re-evaluating. You will contribute to your lab and you will have something to take away, they picked you and you picked them for a reason and perhaps that would become more clear with a little more time.

Mark
 
OP
E
Dec 1, 2010
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In response to Student4Life0, I completely agree with what you are saying about how it's odd I didn't realize this before starting the program. To go into more detail, when choosing whether or not to accept, I was feeling unsure. While I was feeling this way, I also knew that I've always been a chronic worrier who overthinks absolutely everything in life.

So basically, I figured I was overthinking things like I always do, and accepted the offer. I'm starting to think my doubts were real.


Thank you so much to everybody for the advice. I'm just trying to focus on finishing this semester strong now, and I'll start trying to figure the rest of my life out after that. I'd like to finish my masters, and seeing as how I'm not entirely sure what I should be doing at this point, that's my plan.
 

cara susanna

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One of my professors in my first year advised us not to consider quitting the program in November or December. He said wait until break and think it over then because the last part of the semester is extremely brutal and makes most people want to quit.
 
Jul 13, 2009
610
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I will second Marp's suggestion to complete your masters. A colleague in my department did just that last year. She is applying to law schools for next year, and will probably have at least a bit stronger application for competitive law programs thanks to her completed masters degree. You would likely have at least a small step-up in many jobs/positions/etc. with a completed masters degree as compared to just one semester of graduate courses.

I know that at our program, the first year is absolutely brutal and nothing less than miserable. I understand your doubts, but the LAST thing you should be worried about is who you are taking a position from (while that sounds noble and all.) No student (not in recent history) in my program was anything less than overwhelmed and shell shocked by the amount of work to get done (perhaps there is one in every cohort, but for the most part it's a trial by fire).

I would encourage you to stick it out until you completed your masters UNLESS you are COMPLETELY SURE that you want out. If you are anything less than 100% sure that you want to do something else, then that could be the right answer. I would say that UNTIL you know what you want to do instead, that you ride it out.

That's my 2 cents, it's worth what you paid for it (absolutely nothing.) Personally, I see nothing wrong with at least getting your masters degree and re-evaluating. You will contribute to your lab and you will have something to take away, they picked you and you picked them for a reason and perhaps that would become more clear with a little more time.

Mark
 
Apr 30, 2010
447
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Stick with it. It is hard for a reason, and unfortunately most purely academic programs are so out of touch with the reality of clinical practice that it will drive you mad. However, this makes you a better person, practitioner and hopefully doctor.
 

Existenz

Clinical Neuropsychologist
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Nov 6, 2010
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get your masters and get out :)
 
Jul 29, 2010
630
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I have to echo what has already been suggested. There are 2 potential worst case scenarios- 1) you suffer for years for a degree you are ambivalent about and work in a field you hate or 2) you leave prematurely and regret it down the road. As someone else already pointed out, it is much harder to get admitted back into a program once you have d/c one before.

Giving yourself time to get through your master's or taking a leave of absence are your best bets. I would lean toward continuing for the master's b/c you will have a product at the end.

Good luck! :luck:
 

AcronymAllergy

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In response to Student4Life0, I completely agree with what you are saying about how it's odd I didn't realize this before starting the program. To go into more detail, when choosing whether or not to accept, I was feeling unsure. While I was feeling this way, I also knew that I've always been a chronic worrier who overthinks absolutely everything in life.

So basically, I figured I was overthinking things like I always do, and accepted the offer. I'm starting to think my doubts were real.


Thank you so much to everybody for the advice. I'm just trying to focus on finishing this semester strong now, and I'll start trying to figure the rest of my life out after that. I'd like to finish my masters, and seeing as how I'm not entirely sure what I should be doing at this point, that's my plan.
Finishing your masters is definitely the best option at this point. As others have said, it'll give you something tangible in return for your time and efforts in the program, and will also allow you additional time to truly determine if clinical psychology isn't your thing.
 
Dec 1, 2010
13
0
Midwest
Status
Psychology Student
Sorry to hear that you're considering leaving, but you do want to remain authentic to yourself and others in the future.

My limited advice to you would be this: after thoughtful consideration, do you what you know and feel to be right for you. Others have mentioned obtaining the Master's so as not to leave empy-handed. As a means for some security, that would be a valid point. But it seems that you don't really like this career path at all, so a Master's in Clin. Psych. would be marketable, but would it be what you wanted?

I encourage you to really ponder this over the break before any hard and fast decisions. The best thing you could do was mentioned - seeing if you could take a year off. Good luck.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
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Sorry to hear that you're considering leaving, but you do want to remain authentic to yourself and others in the future.

My limited advice to you would be this: after thoughtful consideration, do you what you know and feel to be right for you. Others have mentioned obtaining the Master's so as not to leave empy-handed. As a means for some security, that would be a valid point. But it seems that you don't really like this career path at all, so a Master's in Clin. Psych. would be marketable, but would it be what you wanted?

I encourage you to really ponder this over the break before any hard and fast decisions. The best thing you could do was mentioned - seeing if you could take a year off. Good luck.
A Masters in psychology is useful outside the realm of psychology (e.g. Human Resources, Organizational Management, and a whole host of other areas.) The degree isn't the career path, career paths can have tremendous diversity with two people with the same training.

Mark
 
Jan 22, 2010
235
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A Masters in psychology is useful outside the realm of psychology (e.g. Human Resources, Organizational Management, and a whole host of other areas.) The degree isn't the career path, career paths can have tremendous diversity with two people with the same training.

Mark
Agreed! Additionally, with a master's degree, many jobs at colleges and universities open up to you that you would not be considered for with only a bachelor's degree.
 
Aug 5, 2010
12
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Pre-Psychology
What initially attracted you to pursuing this program? What changed your opinion on the program/field?
 
OP
E
Dec 1, 2010
19
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So, as many of you probably saw in my previous post, I want to leave my clinical Ph.D. program. I have my meeting with my advisor this week, which will go over my performance. My advisor will then go to a faculty meeting where they discuss my performance.

The anxiety I've experienced this semester has had profound effect on my performance (3.0 GPA, 2 C's). Now you all probably figure, "Wow, 2 C's, relax buddy...) but it's pretty frowned upon here.

I'm wondering, do I tell my advisor about the doubts I've been having in this field, or do I keep quiet about it for now? It's killing me being silent about it, but I don't want to tell my advisor if it will create a bad relationship between us (considering it's been one semester). My advisor wants me to start a serious project, which has been abandoned once by another student who left. I'm going to feel awful bringing this up, but I don't want to be here. I kind of want to try to finish the masters, but these feelings are driving me insane.

Thanks for any input, and sorry for the extremely long post.
 
OP
E
Dec 1, 2010
19
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What initially attracted you to pursuing this program? What changed your opinion on the program/field?
A desire to help people mostly, and I found the work of psychologists to be very inspirational. I mean no disrespect to the field (please no fights here), but I think I'd rather be in a field more directly related to the medical field. I've done three years of neuroscience research involving things like conducting brain surgery on rats, and loved the science of it.

I wanted to help people though, but also wanted to work with the brain. I decided to pursue neuropsychology, but the assessments so far, I can't stand it. I feel so incapable of actual helping someone with a neuropsychological assessment, not to mention it feels boring and unfulfilling.

That's it primarily, and I hope no one took offense. I have great respect for psychologists and find their genuine care for others to be very admirable. It's just not for me.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
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I wanted to help people though, but also wanted to work with the brain. I decided to pursue neuropsychology, but the assessments so far, I can't stand it. I feel so incapable of actual helping someone with a neuropsychological assessment, not to mention it feels boring and unfulfilling.
I would just mention that perhaps you are more of a div 22 neuro person, as opposed to a div 40 person. Have you had any exposure to cog rehab? I find it sad that so many people that are trained in neuropsychology seldom have exposure to the intervention and follow-up portion of the field.

That said, you are correct, assessment can get boring and tedious. However, I do find the more neuroscience-oriented neuropsych students in our program are real suckers for process stuff and talk endlessly about how that person misperceived the block design stimulus and how they built their model, etc. I never quite got it. Interesting? Yes. Do I get all Edith Kaplan excited about? No. :)
 
OP
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Dec 1, 2010
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Thanks for the input erg, I'll look into div22.

I really appreciate everyone being so supportive in all of this, it's been very hard on me this semester.
 

erg923

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I would not be silent about your discontent, but i would not say in definite terms that you want to leave the program. This will do two things: 1.) will help explain your less than stellar performance so you don't get pegged as a slacker or "bad seed." 2.) will let you get some things off your chest without making any irreversible decisions that you may later regret.

Is this your first semester? If so, keep in mind you may still be relatively naive to what clinical work and the field will generally be like. Express you discontent to your advisor and talk through what it is about the work that you are not liking. A good advisor will understand (I would bet that at one point every grad student gets disillusioned, is unhappy with the work and questions if they made the right decision) and give appropriate counsel about changes that could be made and/or correct any mis-perceptions. Maybe even guide you into alternate foci that would make you fill moire fulfilled. For example, is their experimental program at your school that you could slide into?

Some will say that you should never stay in something that you are unhappy doing. While I agree, if this is your first semester, you will want to be very cautious about making this decision, as you actually have little exposure to field as of yet.
 
Last edited:
Dec 6, 2009
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So, as many of you probably saw in my previous post, I want to leave my clinical Ph.D. program. I have my meeting with my advisor this week, which will go over my performance. My advisor will then go to a faculty meeting where they discuss my performance.

The anxiety I've experienced this semester has had profound effect on my performance (3.0 GPA, 2 C's). Now you all probably figure, "Wow, 2 C's, relax buddy...) but it's pretty frowned upon here.

I'm wondering, do I tell my advisor about the doubts I've been having in this field, or do I keep quiet about it for now? It's killing me being silent about it, but I don't want to tell my advisor if it will create a bad relationship between us (considering it's been one semester). My advisor wants me to start a serious project, which has been abandoned once by another student who left. I'm going to feel awful bringing this up, but I don't want to be here. I kind of want to try to finish the masters, but these feelings are driving me insane.

Thanks for any input, and sorry for the extremely long post.
If it is not the case perhaps you should consider getting treatment for your anxiety?
 
Jan 25, 2010
106
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I wanted to help people though, but also wanted to work with the brain. I decided to pursue neuropsychology, but the assessments so far, I can't stand it. I feel so incapable of actual helping someone with a neuropsychological assessment, not to mention it feels boring and unfulfilling.
Hit it on the nail for me, though I'm not at that extreme. I'm also in my first year and am discovering I'm definitely more of a "22" than a "40" person as well (though I pretty much knew this going into it). Don't know if I could do assessments full-time- I'm hoping for a significant cog./psych. rehab. component in my career. So, Eamuscatuli, you're not alone!
 
Dec 8, 2010
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I have two examples: I'm in a "research 1" clinical PhD program. I entered with a very very small class. One of my classmates was completely unhappy with her decision to enter the PhD program and it tormented her - she was miserable. Her advisor convinced her to take a year of leave during her second year and to think about it during that time. In the end, she did not come back and I know she is happy with that decision.

The second example was a woman who was a 3rd year when I entered. She was extremely smart and talented (and already had another professional degree). She was so overwhelmed and stressed that she had to take a year of leave because she had basically made herself ill. Yet, she was convinced she could finish the program. After 6 years, she left with her master's. Her advice would be to figure this out earlier. She is also much happier now - the thinking about leaving was much more stressful than the actual leaving.

I second the others' advice: 1.) wait till the end of the first year - it is brutal 2.) talk to your advisor and see what your options are. 3.) Consider a year of leave. I think the year away may help to make the decision obvious and to you and you will be able to stop second-guessing yourself.

Best of luck in whatever you choose to do!!
 
Jul 31, 2009
78
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A desire to help people mostly, and I found the work of psychologists to be very inspirational. I mean no disrespect to the field (please no fights here), but I think I'd rather be in a field more directly related to the medical field. I've done three years of neuroscience research involving things like conducting brain surgery on rats, and loved the science of it.

I wanted to help people though, but also wanted to work with the brain. I decided to pursue neuropsychology, but the assessments so far, I can't stand it. I feel so incapable of actual helping someone with a neuropsychological assessment, not to mention it feels boring and unfulfilling.

That's it primarily, and I hope no one took offense. I have great respect for psychologists and find their genuine care for others to be very admirable. It's just not for me.
I can so relate to this! I was going to go for clinical neuropsychology as well but after I worked as a neuropsych intern for a summer and learned more about it I learned it wasn't for me for some of the very same reasons you mentioned!

Although instead of medical school, I pursued neuroscience academia.

Best of luck in whatever you do, being happy in what you're doing is really all that matters :)
 

terpskins10

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One of my professors in my first year advised us not to consider quitting the program in November or December. He said wait until break and think it over then because the last part of the semester is extremely brutal and makes most people want to quit.
This sounds like some pretty solid advice. Stick it out and see what happens, you might wind up liking it more than you think!
 

futurepsydoc

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I agree with both of the posters in this case.

Based on my own experience, conversations with my cohort, and discussions with other peers, has lead me to believe that your first year in graduate school tends to be filled with prerequisites, pressures, and performance anxiety. No more, no less. Stress relating to each will be elevated in the first semester and "relatively" subside over time. The prerequisites are completed soon enough and your performance anxiety will go down, either via mastery of the domain and self-efficacy or sheer habituation. I think most advanced students would agree with this point. Gaining perspective from those who have been through this process and who also know your situation more intimately, can provide a more nuanced perspective. I think asking for feedback on this site is a good first step, but reaching out those in a better position to help will be more beneficial.

Your advisor will know the program, its policies, political issues, and the range of opportunities available for altering your program of study so as to make it more manageable. His/Her guidance may prove invaluable in this regard.

As Erg points out, you have not been exposed entirely to the field yet either. Becoming a psychologist encompasses many different roles, such as teacher/professor, researcher/scientist, and clinician/supervisor. With time, you may find out that one or more are your speed, while the rest are not. Giving the program more time will help you in this regard, so as to ensure you made a fully informed decision.

Last, I think getting some perspective from someone detached from your school environment could also be helpful. A therapist, unconnected to your program, could be help you address the anxiety your are experiencing and perhaps help you come to a more informed choice about leaving your program as well. Remember, they have been through this process however long ago it may have been, and as such, bring to bear a special knowledge of the graduate school process and the effect it has on those moving through it. Besides, most programs encourage students to see a therapist as part of their training, at the very least just to see what its like to be on the other side of things. Think of this as addressing multiple aspects of your personal and professional development all in one swoop, which in turn, will be to your advantage in a number of ways.
 

roubs

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I'm curious as to why/how your program had you doing neuropsych assessments straight away first semester. Did they throw you in and have you start trying to do them independently right away?

There is so much more to clinical psych than neuropsych, I would step back, breathe and start thinking about other options. I'd also try to identify all the reasons it felt wrong, was there anything besides "neuropsych assessment bores me" ? and the reasons why you ended up with grades you weren't happy with.
 
Jul 8, 2010
8
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Hello, clarabell.

As a high school student, I obviously can't give you any real advice on this particular issue. However, I do recall coming across a very similar thread by another SDN member; indeed, he seemed to be in a predicament very similar to yours. Perhaps this thread may give you some insight: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=779199&highlight=leave+my+program

Good luck. And I apologize if you've already seen the aforementioned thread.
 
May 12, 2009
43
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Psychology Student
I am sorry you are going through this, it seems very frustrating. No one can say they are exactly in your situation and no one can make this decision except for you. With that said, I can of course give you my opinion. Something that might help you make a decision is to change your language from obligation, "have to", "responsible for", "have to" and must to words like I prefer. As you might already know, changing your language to prefer and choose can make you realize that if you decide to stay in the program it is not bc you feel obligated to your cohort or who/whatever, but bc you decide/chose/prefer to stick it out and accept the challenges, or decide/chose/prefer to try something else.
Also, I am in two graduate programs (both MA only) and I am applying for doctoral programs, volunteering, research, family/friends, working and whatever else. Things have become very overwhelming and have come to hate one of the programs I am in. I have made a decision to finish what I started and enjoy my summer. I will also be taking a few one or two day vacations throughout the semester to give myself a break. Scalp massages, working out, basically little healthy self indulgent things make it better for me. If I could suggest doing anything, I think it would be to take care of yourself. No matter what you decide, it sounds like you might be in a bit of a self-emergency state and taking care of yourself might remedy that a bit. I am sure you know a lot more about taking care of yourself (being in a doc program and all), but I just thought I might suggest it anyways. Whatever you decide will be just fine. In the reality of things, your career should be filled with enjoyment and passion, but there are always challenges. This is a time for self care, reflection and possibly even questioning yourself. I apologize if this is not really what you were asking for and if I am not understanding what you're asking for. Best of luck and please pm me if you want to discuss more.
 
Dec 20, 2010
18
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Psychology Student
Sorry to hear that you are having some struggles. I think that everyone goes through this somewhat. I think you have to be crazy not to have a moment of sheer terror that you made the wrong choice. I have them quite frequently, as do most of my class mates.

Some questions:
Do you have leeway to do the research that you want? (e.g., are you held back by what your advisers wants/what is available to you?) A lot of the time I find myself struggling because the resources that I need aren't there or my adviser and I have conflicting ideas and thus I get rather stressed with frustrated with research. I too came in thinking I wouldn't like research that much, but given some support, and really looking into what I want to do on my OWN, I have really come to enjoy it.

Also- are you doing research projects that can be run by RAs? My project is completely RA run, and thus I am able to just think about the research, write grants, work on my dissertation ideas etc. If you choose to stay, try to find ways of making your research more you-friendly, and I assure you you would like it more.

In terms of clients, I have not yet had a very positive client experience. I hear that it is not until you find the right client that you realize it is for you. Remember, as students, we can't really CHOOSE who our clients are. As professionals, we will have a little more say in what we do (e.g., if a client does not come in frequently, we can tell them that they aren't ready and to call when they are). We are the low men on the totem pole. If this is something you REALLY want and have wanted, why not try to stick it out and find ways to improve the situation? There are always remedies to every situation. Perhaps you should tell your friends of your struggles, and as fellow psychology students, perhaps they could help you brainstorm ways that they have and you could change your situation.

In the end its up to you. There are two sides to this. You could quit with your masters, but what can you really ever do with just a masters? It will limit your career potentials, and one day you may really regret your decision after you put so much work into it. The other is try to find ways to make it more bearable, and remember that this is only 4-7 years of your life, and that eventually you could do SO many things with this degree.
 

JockNerd

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Hi all,

I'm writing in search of advice. I'm a 2nd year student in a clinical psych PhD program and am practically consumed by thoughts of dropping out at the end of this year.

While I have good friends in my program and everyone in my program is pretty supportive and kind, I have found myself to be quite unhappy. I came in to the program lying about wanting to do research - I have never had any intention of entering academia and truly wanted to be a clinician. Being in such a stressful, competitive academic environment has been extremely trying on me - I find myself being anxious almost ALL the time. Research is a chore I loathe and though we've started clinical work, I'm not happy with that either.

I went straight from undergrad to grad school and I'm having major doubts over whether this is the right choice. I have worked SO hard to get where I am, and I thought this is what I wanted to do. I'm so conflicted - on the one hand, I feel like I would be letting down all my colleagues and myself.

I still want to be a counselor, but in a structured setting such as a school or community health center. I think I would be much happier in such a setting. Would I be letting myself down if I just escaped with a masters and didn't follow through with the PhD?

Obviously I am getting desperate since I'm writing in at 2:30am to this forum, hoping that strangers who are also in PhD programs can commiserate and also offer some kind of advice. :)

Can anyone help me with this decision?? I would GREATLY appreciate ANY input. Many many thanks.
Do you get a masters in course at your program? Are you almost there/can you be?

It would be WAY better for everyone, you and the program, to leave after you get a masters. That is a natural break point and something that many people do for a variety of reasons. And, if you intend to practice, you might even be able to just leave with that and be a masters-level therapist, or at least you will have the masters when you apply to another PhD/PsyD program down the line.

I also agree with Eye that it might be beneficial to look at why you aren't enjoying the research, or even tolerating it enough to suffer through. Have you/Can you talk about this with your academic adviser?
 
Jan 17, 2011
15
0
Status
Psychology Student
After reading this forum for years, I decided it's time to come out.

I'm struggling with a very similar sentiment: I want to leave my program, but not because I don't want to pursue a degree in psych; because I can't seem to adjust where I am living. I moved away from home to get a PhD in clinical psych. I'm only in my first year, but I'm already miserable. The workload is doable, my grades are excellent, and I'm getting a lot of good experiences, but I have very little social support and I've been constantly yearning to move back home.

I enjoy my program. If I were to leave, I would try to get a degree in clinical or a related field (school, developmental), but I know that leaving and reapplying isn't easy. I'd probably work here until I got my master's and then leave.

I'm not sure how feasible it is to leave one program and go into another. Has anyone done this before? There's no "transfer program" that I know of where you can just get into another program in another state right away, right? ;P
 

cara susanna

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I think it'd be a shame to leave a program that you like and in which you excel just because you don't have a lot of social support in the area. Assuming that you mean friendship, do you not get along with people in your cohort? If that's the case, is it possible to join a club or outside group? Meet people outside of your department? Take some outside non-related-to-psychology-or-academia class?

Remember that it's your first year and it may take time to make some really good connections.
 
Jan 17, 2011
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I think it'd be a shame to leave a program that you like and in which you excel just because you don't have a lot of social support in the area. Assuming that you mean friendship, do you not get along with people in your cohort? If that's the case, is it possible to join a club or outside group? Meet people outside of your department? Take some outside non-related-to-psychology-or-academia class?

Remember that it's your first year and it may take time to make some really good connections.
Thanks for this advice. I'm definitely not going to be making any rash decisions and I have and will continue to give myself time to think on this.

I've done a lot of what you suggested: joined clubs, am currently taking an undergrad language class for fun, made a few non-psych friends. However, it's been hard to be happy here while missing my friends and significant other back home. I love this field, but I don't think I'm psychologically (ha!) ready to take this leap.
 
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Finish the Masters (it won't look good on your CV if you don't), and then DEFINITELY get out. This field obviously isn't for you, and, given the economics of Clinical Psychology (requires more school and then pays less than almost any profession), it may not be a good idea for many people. We've managed, through our passivity and support of diploma mills, to make ourselves disposable. :(
 

cara susanna

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Ohh, you have a significant other back home? That makes it even more difficult. Any way that person could join you in your new location?
 
Jan 17, 2011
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Finish the Masters (it won't look good on your CV if you don't), and then DEFINITELY get out. This field obviously isn't for you, and, given the economics of Clinical Psychology (requires more school and then pays less than almost any profession), it may not be a good idea for many people. We've managed, through our passivity and support of diploma mills, to make ourselves disposable. :(
Haha, thanks for the support. Yeah, the clinical field isn't exactly the most glorious or economical. That's another reason I'm leaning toward school psych, where there is a PLETHORA of jobs available, or a non-applied degree in an area more focused on my research.
 
Jan 17, 2011
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Ohh, you have a significant other back home? That makes it even more difficult. Any way that person could join you in your new location?
It does indeed make things more difficult. I never thought I'd prioritize him over my goals, but his being far away makes my goals nearly pointless. He just scored a great job, so our plan for him to move closer isn't going to work out anymore. Neither of us want to give up our dreams, but I can't reach mine when I'm so unhappy.
 

cara susanna

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That's really tough. I know I'd be unhappy being apart from my boyfriend.
 

StudentBsMs11

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It does indeed make things more difficult. I never thought I'd prioritize him over my goals, but his being far away makes my goals nearly pointless. He just scored a great job, so our plan for him to move closer isn't going to work out anymore. Neither of us want to give up our dreams, but I can't reach mine when I'm so unhappy.
I've faced this dilemma for years myself, so believe me when I say I have the utmost sympathy for you. However, I would advise you to never give up your dreams for another person. You will most likely grow to resent that other person in time, and your relationship will face trouble. If the resentment is enough to kill the relationship, then you're left with nothing to show for your sacrifice. I know that you've said that you're unhappy and probably lonely, but I would try to address those problems in other ways first, especially since it sounds like things are going well for you in your program otherwise. As other posters have said, it's just your first year. I think that if you stick it out, you'll find that it becomes a lot easier to bear as time goes on and you learn to adjust. Remember that this situation you're in now is not permanent, and don't lose hope!
 
Jan 17, 2011
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I've faced this dilemma for years myself, so believe me when I say I have the utmost sympathy for you. However, I would advise you to never give up your dreams for another person. You will most likely grow to resent that other person in time, and your relationship will face trouble. If the resentment is enough to kill the relationship, then you're left with nothing to show for your sacrifice. I know that you've said that you're unhappy and probably lonely, but I would try to address those problems in other ways first, especially since it sounds like things are going well for you in your program otherwise. As other posters have said, it's just your first year. I think that if you stick it out, you'll find that it becomes a lot easier to bear as time goes on and you learn to adjust. Remember that this situation you're in now is not permanent, and don't lose hope!
Thanks for the refreshing advice. It would be absolutely foolish for me to give up my dream of getting a PhD because of someone else.

However, I still have goals of working toward that dream while I'm surrounded by the people whom I love. I realize it won't be easy getting into another program, but I'm willing to work hard to do it. Plus, I'd be changing my focus to something more suited to my interests.
 

StudentBsMs11

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Thanks for the refreshing advice. It would be absolutely foolish for me to give up my dream of getting a PhD because of someone else.

However, I still have goals of working toward that dream while I'm surrounded by the people whom I love. I realize it won't be easy getting into another program, but I'm willing to work hard to do it. Plus, I'd be changing my focus to something more suited to my interests.
Well, if that's the case, let me shift focus and attempt to help answer your original question. I think that entering another clinical psych doc program closer to home is probably going to be an uphill battle; programs are going to be leery of admitting a student that they aren't sure can see it through to the end, unless you happen to have a potential mentor who already knows you and is willing to take you. School psych would probably be easier, in no small part because it allows you to put the focus on your interests and allows you to frame it as "I realized that school psych was more appropriate for my research interests and what I would like to do when I am finished with my degree." That being said, it HAS happened that students have moved from one clinical psych doc program to another; I've heard of one student who has done it successfully. In his case, my guess is that it was more about being able to work with one particular mentor more than anything else, but it's not totally impossible.

Also, full disclosure: If I sound like I'm being hard on you, I apologize. It's because I'm currently undergoing the harrowing process of trying to get into a clinical psych doc program myself, and I have a rather hard time trying to fathom anyone giving up one of the coveted few slots available! (I'm halfway tempted to say, 'go for it, as long as I can have your spot when you're gone!' :laugh:) It sounds like you're taking your time with this problem and being thoughtful about the challenges involved in what you want to do, however, so I'm sure it'll work out just fine.