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deciding *against* a Ph.D.

Diqui LaPenta diqui at pathogen.med.umn.edu
Thu Dec 17 13:11:39 EST 1992

I'm facing a serious decision regarding the direction of my scientific career.
I am in the 4th year of my Ph.D. program in microbiology, and I have battled
a terrible lack of motivation for the last 1 1/2 years.  It has been bad enough
for my adviser to threaten to discontinue financial support if my productivity
did not improve.  My problem is not my adviser or even my project.  My problem
is that the very thought of getting my Ph.D. only to devote my lilfe to sitting
at a lab bench and wrestling for  grant funding has become truly depressing. I
have discovered, at this late juncture, that I am not well-suited to bench work. During a long, soul-searching discussion with my adviser, we devised a short 
term plan.  For the next academic quarter, I will somehow devote all my energies to my research.  At the end of that time, I can continue in the Ph.D. program
if: 1)I have demonstrated increased productiviy and motivation and
    2)there's funding for my project

If not, I can write up what I've got for a Master's Degree or take a leave of absence.  I'm comfortable with these options, but I'm left wondering what to do
with myself in *any* of these situations.  I'm posting here in the hope that
someone either has had a similar experience or can offer some suggestions on howto creatively use a B.S. in Biology and an MS in Microbiology (or Ph.D. in
Micro, if  I make it that far).

I suppose it would be beneficial to any others with the same dilemma to post
responses, but you can also reply to me via e-mail at:

			diqui at lenti.med.umn.edu

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and feedback,

Diqui La Penta

?       diqui at lenti.med.umn.edu  |        "I got me some birds outside        ? 
?                                |         what sit on my windowsill          ?
?     University of Minnesota    |         some birds won't, you know,        ?

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