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#1 of 23 Old 05-15-2008, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to post my description from a thread from the decluttering forum, to save time. I will add my burnout woes at the bottom.
I am in college. I have three school aged boys and a husband who is also in college full time and working part time.
My husband and I are doing really well in school. I am on track to go to grad school. I am applying to some of the top schools for my major. My husband's grades are solid and he just started a bike club on his campus to promote bike commuting and he has gotten really active in the environmental and sustainable movement at his school.
My house is a mess. I just got back from a conference in another town and my smells. We can't seem to keep up with laundry at all. We have two baskets for folding right now, there is dirty laundry all over my boys' room and they are having trouble finding clean clothes to wear.

My boys each are having issues at school. My oldest has Asperger Syndrome and just getting him to dress and be ready in the morning is horrible.
My middle boy is suffering from serious attention problems.
My youngest is being tested for attention issues and impulse control. I have a very hard time staying on top of all their homework and all the extras. I want to put them into some camps over the summer but I have to fill out the paperwork for financial aid and the process is overwhelming.

So, that is the synopsis. Now, I am junior and have to study for my GRE. That is consuming my life right now. Then over the summer I will be working on a few projects for teachers. Then I will be taking a fulltime class, plus maybe stats (I might be able to wait a bit on the stats) and applying to grad schools. Then we will have to move.
I am planning to go for my PhD, and I am totally feeling burnout and want to quit after bachelors.
Here are my big issues:
PhD means a move, and my family loves where we are.
I will have to do TA'ing and studying and all that good stuff, which is so overwhelming
My house is a constant mess and I want time to clean it, but it never happens.
My dh and I very rarely see each other without a million other things going on, and I am lonely for him
I miss my kids and can't focus on them because I have my own school work and what not.

But:
I am getting a bachelors from a LAC and it will not get me much of a job, especially since I have no work experience
I love the field I want to get into (sociology) and I think I can make some awesome contributions to that field
I don't want to take time off and go back later, because I am afraid I will never go back. I am already 37. It took me 15 years just to get my bachelors.
I am pretty sure I will need a masters anyway, so it makes sense for me to go through a program that will take a few more years and will be fully funded, instead of going into debt.
I think I will really regret it and may feel resentful if I don't go through with it.

ANy words of wisdom of BTDTs would be awesome at this time./ hugs are nice too
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#2 of 23 Old 05-15-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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I have no advice but wanted to give you a . You will make decisions that are best for you and your family.

(I decided not to go the law school route for many of the same reasons. Every once in awhile I regret it but I have a lawyer friend that has a 9 month old and is gone several weeks a month, I couldn't do it.)

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#3 of 23 Old 05-15-2008, 01:44 PM
 
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HUGS and more HUGS

I wonder if you and your husband could stagger your activities, so each took a day where laundry was caught up. If that's actually a priority for you.

The next thing I would do is ask the school if your children qualify for any extra services. Especially summer school services. Camps are nice, but if they only last a week it is hard to keep up with 3 children and weeklong camps, the other option would be a good private school with a summer school program.

I wouldn't really care about the messy house all that much, but if the children need something different, that's where I'd focus my attention.
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#4 of 23 Old 05-16-2008, 12:08 AM
 
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I haven't been there but I did choose not to go enter a masters program because we were about to become foster parents and I just had no idea how I could swing f/t work, f/t school and a baby, I am sometimes sad I didn't find a way to do it but know it was the right decision for me/us. I think you need to follow your gut feeling about what to do and it will be the right decision.

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#5 of 23 Old 05-16-2008, 08:59 AM
 
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Good luck to you!
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#6 of 23 Old 05-16-2008, 10:37 AM
 
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Ignore this if you don't want advice on the 'management' end rather than the 'decision making' end but...

I am not sure you can make this decision in your current state of chaos. And I'm suspecting that the chaos at home MAY contribute to your sons' attention issues. (Then again, it may not!) I wonder if you and your husband could plan for a week off where you just attacked your home, chores, etc., got your house up to snuff, and then devised a workable schedule for that stuff? Because if so, you might find there isn't quite such a barrier to your getting a PhD.

Also, I applaud your husband's involvement in things but your home is your environment too, as is supervising your kids' days so that they go smoothly, finding time to get them a camp environment, etc. Is there any way he could step back from the extra curriculars a little bit to address the homefront, at least during this time so that you can have some time and space to make the decision that is right for you and your family?

Good luck!

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#7 of 23 Old 05-16-2008, 11:11 AM
 
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I've been having a rough time in academia and would not recommend doctoral studies to anyone who wanted to maintain a balance in their life. I don't think it's a healthy place in general unless you are truly driven for the sake of a topic and are willing to set aside other priorities. I would look carefully into MA programs that have a good chance of a job afterwards. Also, talk with your career counselor at your college - he/she may have some great ideas.
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#8 of 23 Old 05-16-2008, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone.
I am taking the weekend to clean and declutter. I am going to pack away about 1/2 of our clothes, to make it more manageable.
I am going to talk to my dh about it as well,and see what we want to cut out. I do not want to give up the phd idea. I think it is the right path for me. If my kids were smaller, I would rethink it, but they are all in elementary school, and my oldest will be in middle school.
After getting the house cleaned, I will feel more centered
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#9 of 23 Old 05-16-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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I started my bachelor's degree when dd was two. I completed a four year program in 2 1/2years. I worked part time and travelled 60 miles one way to school five days/week. It was crazy but I am so happy that I did it. I think it was easier because it was just me and her..... not sure how I would have done if I had more than one child.

Kim, proud CPS mom to Marnie and my 4 legged kids, Jess, Zander, Oliver, Stumpy and Eddie.
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#10 of 23 Old 05-17-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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Boyrus - I wanted to chime in here for a couple of reasons. 1) I remember feeling as you are feeling as the time was coming nearer that I would graduate and move on to a PhD program. It was extraordinarily stressful and I second-guessed myself at every step. 2) I am in a PhD program (as a single mama and I did have to move us). It is hard, it is stressful, my house is a mess, the balance is amazingly tricky. But I feel as if it is doable. I mean, I am a few weeks from finishing my first year - the year that by all accounts is supposed to be THE hardest. My girls are still healthy, happy (I think - they're teenagers so sometimes its hard to tell), and learning and growing. I am making new friends and getting along (I'm actually procrastinating not One but Two papers I'm supposed to write this weekend). My point is that it is possible. A pp said something about management and I think that is really key. If your husband is on board and supportive, then the two of you can figure out how to manage life through the changes. Yes grad school is difficult, but I find that it is the most flexible "job" I've ever had. And that really helps with the girls.

Anyway, I'm here - feel free to pm me.
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#11 of 23 Old 05-22-2008, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well, to further complicate things: I am seeing that my boys would really do best if we stayed in the town where we are. They are thriving in their schools and love the consistency of knowing people and not being the new guys.
DH can do his last two years at a good state school online. Since we are in the state capital, he would have a lot of good internship possibilities while he is going.
If we stay here, I could commute to Seattle for school. It is just over an hour. That will suck.
I am also struggling with not knowing exactly what I want to do. I talked with a faculty member at UW last week, and she really stressed how much quantitative work there is in their program. I hate quant work. I am not sure if it is a paying my dues to get where I want thing, or will it be a number-crunching grind the whole time? Maybe I would want to do something else, like Women's Studies, or Anthropology. How do people narrow down their discipline enough to know that this is what they want to devote the next 5-7 years of their life to it>
And then is the question, if I didn't go to grad school, what would I do instead? My interest is in studying people. How does that translate to anything outside of an ivory tower?
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#12 of 23 Old 05-23-2008, 11:33 AM
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And then is the question, if I didn't go to grad school, what would I do instead? My interest is in studying people. How does that translate to anything outside of an ivory tower?
Have you looked into Applied Anthropology? Applied (or practicing - there are nuanced differences but they're not that important at this stage) anthropology is "anthropology in use" - studying people with a specific goal in mind and then doing something useful with the knowledge you gain. Many applied or practicing anthropologists work partially or completely outside of the academy.

Here's the Society for Applied Anthropology. Their journal is called Human Organization - you can probably access it through your university, and browsing will give you a good idea of what applied anthropologists do. And, of course, anthropologists are really sociologists who can't do math.

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#13 of 23 Old 06-05-2008, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I have been doing a lot of soul searching and observing.
I think I am going to drop the PhD idea. Last summer I had spent a lot of time with a career counselor and realized I want to work in adult education, probably in a community college. I would love to teach ESL classes, basic ed classes, work in transition advising (helping people who are just starting in colelge, and maybe working as a TRIO counselor), stuff like that, eventually I would be happy to a be a dean of transitions. This uses a lot of talents and speaks to my passions. My only hold backs were that I want a prestigious career and I an concerned about the income potential.
I talked to my teacher at the end of the first quarter this year and she put the bug in my ear that I could be a sociologist. I found out I could go straight into the PhD program, and I got excited. I could do research and get published and life would be fabulous! So, I have spent most of the past two quarters thinking this would be my career, and trying to figure out what it would look like. Suddenly I don't like the look of it.
If I do a phd, I will be in school for almost the entirety of my youngest ds' school career. I was thinking about how nice it would be to be able to help them with homework when they get home, and to be fully present with them. If I do the adult education master's, it will only be a few more years. Also, not nearly as much of a grind as a phd. I know that a large percentage of people never finish their phd. There is also the salary. I will be stuck at grad school wages for 5-10 years if I do phd. If I go to work, I will probably start out making more, and if I can get a dean's position, I could do pretty well. Also, it is hands on helping people, which don't feel when I am doing sociology work.
My family doesn't want to move, adn I need to respect and listen to that. We have moved a lot, and every time my kids were happy and excited. Now we are finally settled. We have been here five years, we love our community, and our boys are in school. My middle guy cried when I told him we might move.
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#14 of 23 Old 06-05-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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My only hold backs were that I want a prestigious career and I an concerned about the income potential.
FWIW I can't how prestigious it is but my dh is a professor of sociology and the income is okay but not great. Public school teachers with only a BA make more money.
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#15 of 23 Old 06-05-2008, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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FWIW I can't how prestigious it is but my dh is a professor of sociology and the income is okay but not great. Public school teachers with only a BA make more money.
Thank you for that. It makes me feel better. I also know that just getting those jobs is tough. And that prestige is relative.
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#16 of 23 Old 06-06-2008, 07:39 PM
 
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I'm in that same place and have made the same decision. Only I've made it after two stressful years in a doctoral program. During my PhD time, I really had to put academics first above my family or anything else and I hated doing that.
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#17 of 23 Old 06-08-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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Again another PhD mama - I would not recommend it unless you KNOW what you want to do and you LOVE your research. Even with that, there are ups and downs. A baby in the PhD mix has changed my life and my priorities forever. Like you are talking - as a professor, even though I might get to travel for conferences or research, publish papers, and other exciting ventures comes with it pressure to find money, publish, maintain an active research agenda and you can see how easily the job becomes year-round and more than full-time. And then your teaching is always suffering. I think you are wise seeing that now than 6 years into your graduate studies like me.

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#18 of 23 Old 06-08-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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I'm in that same place and have made the same decision. Only I've made it after two stressful years in a doctoral program. During my PhD time, I really had to put academics first above my family or anything else and I hated doing that.
Are you definitely leaving? I know you'd posted a couple of times about considering it.

I left grad school after a year. I didn't have children, but I didn't think at the time that the field was what I expected/wanted once I got to graduate schoool. Now I'm sometimes sad that I didn't stay because I'd be done now, but I doubt I'd have (or be planning to have) children. My parents desperately wanted me to go to law school and work at a high-powered firm. They still are upset that I didn't, but I have the same reasoning. When I see the people I know who did take that route, they're either childless or barely see their children. For me, that would mean I'd be childless because I wouldn't be willing to be away for 12-14 hours a day regularly.

Anyway, I'm glad you've come to peace with some sort of decision. One of the things I've tried to work hard to remember is that life is longer than we think. When I was in grad school before, we had people in their 50s and 60s in the program - mostly because they'd had some other career and wanted a change (but didn't need money!). My mom's going back to school in a nurse practitioner program in the fall because my sister's in college now. I look at her and realize that she's still got a lot of time left (I hope) for that field. There's no point when you can't ever change your mind.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#19 of 23 Old 06-08-2008, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Again another PhD mama - I would not recommend it unless you KNOW what you want to do and you LOVE your research. Even with that, there are ups and downs. A baby in the PhD mix has changed my life and my priorities forever. Like you are talking - as a professor, even though I might get to travel for conferences or research, publish papers, and other exciting ventures comes with it pressure to find money, publish, maintain an active research agenda and you can see how easily the job becomes year-round and more than full-time. And then your teaching is always suffering. I think you are wise seeing that now than 6 years into your graduate studies like me.
I love the topics of my research, but I think the daily grind of it might kill me dead anyway. I am an ideas person, yk? My teacher raved about how my ethnographies were some of the most detailed she had ever seen and I was pretty excited about that, but when I looks hard and admit it to myself, I can't stand the tedium of typing them up!
And yes travel is cool, but when it is to conferences, it really messes up our routine and my family and I miss each other. My husband and oldest ds have Asperger's and really need a solid routine, my youngest has ADHD and thrives on consistency as well
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#20 of 23 Old 06-08-2008, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you definitely leaving? I know you'd posted a couple of times about considering it.

I left grad school after a year. I didn't have children, but I didn't think at the time that the field was what I expected/wanted once I got to graduate schoool. Now I'm sometimes sad that I didn't stay because I'd be done now, but I doubt I'd have (or be planning to have) children. My parents desperately wanted me to go to law school and work at a high-powered firm. They still are upset that I didn't, but I have the same reasoning. When I see the people I know who did take that route, they're either childless or barely see their children. For me, that would mean I'd be childless because I wouldn't be willing to be away for 12-14 hours a day regularly.

Anyway, I'm glad you've come to peace with some sort of decision. One of the things I've tried to work hard to remember is that life is longer than we think. When I was in grad school before, we had people in their 50s and 60s in the program - mostly because they'd had some other career and wanted a change (but didn't need money!). My mom's going back to school in a nurse practitioner program in the fall because my sister's in college now. I look at her and realize that she's still got a lot of time left (I hope) for that field. There's no point when you can't ever change your mind.
That is so true. the school will always be ther but my children will not always be young
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#21 of 23 Old 06-08-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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Are you definitely leaving? I know you'd posted a couple of times about considering it.
Yep, I've officially withdrawn. I liked the subject, but there were so many reasons that made me feel like I couldn't do it any longer. I was tired of feeling constantly guilty and stressed, my advisor was a nutcase, the students were pretty competitive and the faculty were downright cutthroat. Plus, in the end... I saw my colleagues trying unsuccessfully to get jobs and it just didn't make sense for me to suffer for little reason. I tried for a graceful exit but it didn't go down very well ... so I'm slinking away and trying to re-group and focus on my priorities.
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#22 of 23 Old 06-09-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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I'm in my last year of a sociology PhD program. It sounds like you're leaning away from doing a PhD, but if you have any lingering doubts, PM me and I'm happy to talk about the whole process.
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#23 of 23 Old 09-05-2008, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another update!
I tried to make myself turn away from sociology, but in the end I couldn't give it up. I am going to pursue it. If it means moving, I will wait two years for my hubby to finish his school and then we will go. If I can get in to UW, I will commute and start next year,
My boys are on board with it too!
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