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When to quit a PhD programme? Would taking a break help?

Are you thinking of quitting your PhD programme?  Is it too stressing for you to handle? Don’t take a harsh decision, and first try to take a leave of absence. This break would help you to try and put your life back on the track, and explore options and opportunities you see outside the academia.  The break can be as long as one year to help you take a firm and calculated decision of whether you want to come back, or you are happy outside the world of doctoral studies.  If you decide to apply for leave of absence, ensure these few things:

  1. Never leave on a sour note and burn bridges with your supervisor or the university. You must always leave on convincing personal issues as a reason which have not much to do with the institute or your course
  2. Study the guidelines of the university thoroughly so that your absence from the course falls within the norms
  3. Utilise the break to evaluate your decision in a pragmatic way. Do not come back to the course half-heartedly. Come back only if you know it is your calling in life.

It is natural and expected to have ups and downs in the PhD programme, and one should be prepared for it. But, if you have some serious concerns, then it should be surely a decision to quit and not let your research life take over your personal success

  1. If you feel that you are becoming a victim of a psychological disorder that is going out of control, and lasting over a few weeks. There is no point to let things go out of control. It is always better to call it quits
  1. The demands from the programme, in context to finances, time and resources are challenging for you, and the kind of returns you see it bringing for you is not very exciting
  1. There are health issues that are increasing affecting your wellbeing. No achievement is worth enough to compromise with health, surely.

If you have so decided to quit the programme, make it your own individual decision and not something that is under the influence of n your family or friends. If you do so, again you would be dissatisfied, and feel difficulty accepting the life then after. So, be careful when you make your decision.

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