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Giving up a PhD ...

(13 Posts)
FeetTired Mon 21-Jul-14 14:39:51

I am currently on maternity leave and in the middle of doing a funded PhD. My plans were to go back to the PhD as soon as maternity leave was over.

However, since then our family financial situation has changed and we can no longer afford to pay for childcare. We could have got by (just about) on a nursery place for DS but I can't find any suitable nurseries in the area. Other forms of childcare are too expensive for us (I've looked into all the options).

My DH has a very demanding job (long hours) and DS is also very demanding so I wouldn't be able to juggle both looking after him and a part time PhD.

I don't mind giving up my PhD for DS but I worry that I'll end up regretting it. I've put a lot of effort into it, and I feel like I'll be really letting my supervisor down, who believed in me, and has helped me and paid for my training etc. (I feel hugely guilty about that!). I'm also a bit worried that when I do go back to work when DS starts school, I'll be at the bottom of the ladder again, and will have to start over.

I've taken the maximum maternity leave possible so I don't think I can extend further. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice or been through something similar?

NickyEds Mon 21-Jul-14 14:56:25

Sorry op- sounds rubbish. I'm not in exactly the same position but I can't really afford childcare to return to my own businesssad. Have you had a look into the Athena Swan website? (It does assume you're doing a science based Phd)

callamia Mon 21-Jul-14 15:05:07

Can you interrupt for a year while you sort yourself out?
Do you really want to continue, and will you be devastated if you can't, or will you be ok? How much is it going to impact your career plans?

Can your student union help at all? I guess there's no nursery at university? Sorry for all of the questions.

FeetTired Mon 21-Jul-14 20:31:46

Thank you to you both.

I won't be devastated but more disappointed. I think I'm worried about the practicality of what follows later - starting all over again despite having worked very hard both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

FeetTired Mon 21-Jul-14 20:32:33

NickyEds, I have had a look at the website but its for departments,not individuals.

weatherall Mon 21-Jul-14 20:36:01

What is it about the nurseries that is unsuitable?

Are there any childminders?

At one point I was a half hour drive from childcare so cast your net wide.

Nanny share?

Could you move?

Combine a au pair with pt nursery?

Have you asked the Uni welfare department about it?

How supportive is DP?

jeee Mon 21-Jul-14 20:36:47

I gave up on my PhD (sister seriously ill, supervisor died, next supervisor left the country, morning sickness, baby no.1, morning sickness..... I gave up when I was pregnant with DC2). It is still a niggle, 11 or 12 years on. Is there any way that you can defer?

ItsDinah Mon 21-Jul-14 21:19:13

What Weatherall said. Do anything except give up the PhD. In the current job market it is going to be more than just a niggle. It will not look good on your CV. Any chance of renting a room out to other students or moving to a cheaper to rent/run/commute from property? Friends of mine coped financially in similar circumstances by moving themselves and child into one room in their house as a bedsit and letting out the other rooms. Another couple camped in their attic for two years. It might be worth trying the uni accommodation office. An academic on sabbatical or off for a post retirement gap year might do you a good deal on housesitting. Any chance of tutoring in the evenings?

JabberJabberJay Mon 21-Jul-14 21:25:03

How far you into your PhD? It makes a difference. If you're more than 18 months in (so halfway there) I would think really really carefully before you drop out.

Have you considered all childcare options locally and further afield? Is there a nursery on campus? Have you approached your uni about a hardship bursary?

My PhD was a major slog and a logistical hassle but I'm glad I didn't ditch it.

JabberJabberJay Mon 21-Jul-14 21:30:15

Also, are there any penalties if you do drop out? I vaguely recall that in the small print of my PhD funding, there was a clause that I had to repay some of the money if I dropped out.

Check your funding papetwork carefully before you decide.

FeetTired Tue 22-Jul-14 10:40:17

There aren't any penalties as far as I'm aware but I will look into it. I need to find a way but nothing seems feasible yet. Maybe I'll see if there may be an option of deferring but I doubt it. Thanks everyone thanks

crazymum53 Wed 23-Jul-14 16:49:53

Just a thought, but would you have enough material to write up the work for a lower qualification such as a MSc or MPhil instead of a PhD? That way you will still obtain a qualification and perhaps your supervisor would support this too?
Do you have any ideas on what type of career you may wish to do at a later date? Unless your planning on staying in research it may not be necessary to complete it.

systemsaddict Wed 23-Jul-14 17:01:36

The university should be able to allow you to intercalate citing financial pressures, though I'm not sure whether your funding body would allow that too. The university might also have hardship grants to help pay for childcare. Your ds will be less demanding as he gets older and after a while some free nursery time will kick in. I am also wondering why nurseries in the area aren't suitable?

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