To PhD or Not to PhD… That is the Question.


It’s been a super crazy week here in Meggan-land. Actually, it’s been a crazy couple of months.

Other people do personal posts really well–they’re poignant or funny or simply deeply honest.

I’m not certain I’m that person. I think my personal posts are… whiny. Which, since I listen to an absurd amount of whining, just makes me go ugh.

So, consider yourself warned.

After a really long week of dealing with bullshit, getting drooled on, being insulted (twice!), being told, essentially, that I’m useless, I’ve come to following conclusions.

I love my job.

I hate all the bullshit. (And Lord, there’s so much of it)

So that got me to thinking: what do I want to do with myself?

I have a couple of options: I could ask to switch locations (don’t want to do that, not really. It’s the same everywhere, and at least now my commute is short). I could look for another job (meh). I could get a PhD.

Uh, what? A PhD?

And the more I thought about it, the more I was like: Yeah! Let’s do that.

Now, if I have one virtue (and I’m pretty sure I only have one), it’s that I am very self-aware. Painfully self-aware. I understand my own motives, even if I think they’re less than honorable. I get me. I’ve learned, over time, that not everyone has this particular skill set.

My reasons for wanting the PhD are multifold:

1. I always wanted a PhD, but it took me about five years to get over my Master’s thesis. And then I had a baby. And then I had another one. And now I have debt.

2. I like academia. No really. I love the research, I liked designing my own study, and I have a bunch of questions I can’t find the answers to.

3. I think it might be fun to teach adults.

(Husband’s question on this point: Do you really think you could teach something you’re really passionate about to a bunch of adults who don’t give a shit?

Me: Sure. Not sure how that’s different from what I’m doing now.)

4. People in my field respect the PhD in a way they don’t respect the MS.

5. I really like being right. I like it even better when people respect my rightness (Like that sentence? Me too). Because, in this country, teachers get very little respect. You know the old adage: Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach. The adage is complete crap, by the way. You can’t teach it if you can’t do it.

6. Oh, and the timing is good. Or, to put it better, it’s the best it’s ever going to be, at least until M can retire.

(Like I said, not all my reasons are honorable).

But I have to weigh my reasons for wanting to get more education against the cons. So here they are:

1. Money

2. Time

3. I don’t want to completely remove myself from the clinical side of things. I actually like the kids. I like the puzzle of figuring out what’s going on with them. It’s my favorite part.

4. I seriously just paid off the Master’s degree last year. Can I really do that to myself again?

5. Money

6. Time.

I’m already super busy with the full-time job, the kids and their various activities, and the writing gig. I know something will have to give. I don’t know what. It can’t be family, because I’m not completely driven by my career. I like it, but I’d give it up in a flat second and work at (Insert local burger joint here) for them if I had to.

The job I need to pay the bills. I have two little mouths to feed. I can’t afford to spend a fortune in loans. I’ll never retire if that’s the case, and God knows I’d retire tomorrow if I could get away with it. With a Master’s degree, I can work just about anywhere (except in academia). We could afford the cost of my tuition if I was working full time–it’s not so different from day care, actually. But I don’t know if I can work full-time and get the PhD. I rather suspect I can’t.

Also:  I don’t need a PhD. I want a PhD.

I want something new and different.

If I had my druthers, I’d be a full-time writer. Alas, there’s a lot that needs to happen for me to be able to do that. For instance, I need to write a book that actually brings in money after I’ve paid for all my stinking advertising.

So, until I am making Stephanie Meyer money, I guess I’ll have to settle for the day job.

I wonder, am I in the middle of a midlife crisis? I think this means I need a Ferrari and a boob job.

Oh, wait, the way my luck operates, if I went in for a boob job, I’d come out with testicles.

I guess I’ll have to continue to contemplate the PhD.

MCC

However, I am taking donations for a Ferrari if someone’s buying. Oh, and would you mind paying the student loans? That’d be great.

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7 thoughts on “To PhD or Not to PhD… That is the Question.”

  1. It’s so funny that I should come across your blog, because I had this conversation with a friend of mine the other day. She’s a Ph.D drop-out, or rather, I should say, she’s a Ph.D relocator – she relocated to law school.

    Her advice to me was to pursue the Ph.D if I can vision myself immersed in academia and scholarly pursues. So I’m going to throw her questions onto you. Can you see yourself attending conferences and reading your papers at conferences? Do you see yourself in a role beyond the classroom and engaged in research, research grants and the politics associated with the ‘ivory tower’?

    Her questions made me realize it’s not for me. But if it is something you feel fits you, you should go for it! Plus, the funding is there, so you’ll make it work.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sherrie.

      Those are good questions. I’ve done research before, and I loved it. Well, most of it. I’ve written grants and presented at conferences. Not my favorite thing to do, but I managed, which is quite the feat, considering I was once so shy I couldn’t order at McDonald’s for fear of making a mistake.

      It’s the politics that scare the crap out of me. That’s the part I don’t know about.

      Your questions gave me a lot to consider. I guess I’ll have to keep thinking about it!

    1. That’s true. I just worry about all the things I would be giving up to go back to school. The income. The time with kids–right now, I work at their school, and I can get them to their activities. More than likely, the writing would at least be put on hold until breaks.

      But I always thought I’d go back and get a PhD. I know other people found it doable with kids, so maybe it’s not as bad as I think it is. Maybe I can go on the five year plan and still work, and then I don’t have to lose as much income. If I go to work in a medical facility, the increased hourly wage might offset the loss of full time status. Maybe I can do that a couple of days a week.

      It’s a lot to think about.

  2. If that’s what you really want to do, then do it. I know there are a lot of things to consider and it’s tough going to school while working, but it is possible. Take a little more time to get your PhD so you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You’re a strong woman with a lot going for you, and I have all the faith in the world that you will be successful whatever you choose.

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