Wednesday, March 22, 2006

i'm on my housewife rotation

why, oh why, hasn't my dean responded to the email i sent her yesterday? it was honest, it was straightforward, and it was pretty blunt (i quote: "i think i want to leave my program.")

as i wrote to one of my post-doc-mentoring-type-people:

"so as you probably have guessed from my absence, i am still dealing with all of the stuff i told you about on monday. i think -- actually i know -- the right decision is to leave my phd. i wanted so much to love what i was doing, and to be as interested in science as you are (and others like gsmg (my former grad student mentor, while i was on rotation) that i admire so much) but i'm not. i don't think that interest can be 'made', it has to just be there."

and it isn't.

so i've thought about this. i've ruminated. and now i need help to take action.

BUT my dean -- a nice, smart, and thoughtful person -- has not replied. does she know how much i'm writhing in agony over here? does she KNOW that i'm, like, paralyzed work-wise right now (because, uh, this 'prelim' is probably not going to ever actually, like, HAPPEN?), and does she know that TRANSITIONS LIKE THIS MAKE ME CRAZY??? does she have some sort of passive-aggressive streak i don't know about? is she using fancy psychiatrist 'tricks' on me?

or did she just not check her email? unlikely, but i suppose possible.

and so, you ask, 'what exactly are you DOING then, if you're not writing your prelim, not talking to your dean, and not in lab?'

and i would have to answer:

- reading the archives of a new blog i am currently obsessed with (
- assembling extremely belated christmas presents for my friends
- agonizing
- nothing of value to society (except the friends who will get aforementioned presents)
- feeling very guilty about that fact

i can't believe all of this is happening. but it needs to and it is.


  1. sarah - remember that when it comes down to you, you're the only one who can make that decision. and when i was struggling with it last year and again briefly this year, every single person i talked to had different advice for me ("it will definitely help you get a fellowship" to "for what you want to do, a phd is completely unnecessary", from "well, you've already put so much time in" to "who cares? if you don't want it, then leave!"). if you honestly feel that leaving now is the best decision, know that you have plenty of friends who will support you through your entire transition back to clinical medicine or whatever you choose to do. much love, cara

  2. I so sympathize with you. I haven't reached the point of actually telling anyone important how I feel, but that's mostly because I am a chicken. Props to you for being strong enough to tell people how you feel. Good luck with everything, and keep talking about how you are progressing in your decision--it's helping me sort through things too :)