Thinking of quitting grad school and changing direction….need some support!

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 2
50 posts
Worker bee

View original reply
paigerino : I’ve had experience with almost quitting school, and I pushed through. I’m so thankful I didn’t give up. I was unsure (even after I eventually graduated) that the career was what I wanted to do, so I did other things for 3 years after I graduated. Things I liked, but I wasn’t satisified.  I ended up sucking it up and applied for a job at 26 in the field that I graduated in, and I’m very happy! Most of all, I’m stable. Do I love my job every day? Heck no. But, I’m content and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

I’d say 90% of the people I know who quit college, regret it. I had an ex who quit school. He climbed his way up the ladder in retail management since he didn’t have a degree. He makes great money, but he hates his job. 

It’s really up to you. My advice would be to continue with the Master’s. Yes, the loans will suck. However, there are plenty of payment plans you can get. Income-driven payments are awesome!

Post # 4
2749 posts
Sugar bee

Fellow grad student here. Personally I think I’d wait it out for the full first year at least to and see how you feel after that. I think it’s super normal to wonder if you should quit at some point — literally every grad student I know has had these thoughts — which is why I’d wait it out a bit and see if you still feel this way in six months. Or at least see whether you could take a leave instead of deciding to totally drop out of the program. If you finish the first year, summer break may be a good time to mull things, and also perhaps to try finishing that teacher-training certification in your free time and doing some research into what your career would be like as a fitness trainer and whether you think it’s sustainable for you. 

ETA: Just wanted to add, I do not know ANYONE who comes home “energized” rather than drained. Even those working jobs they love. I think your other concerns are valid, but this one I think is unrealistic to expect. 

Post # 5
2570 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

View original reply
paigerino :  how much longer do you have? One more semester? Three? Five? It makes a big difference on my opinion.

I just finished my third semester of grad school getting a masters in education and I have one more to go. It is super time consuming and also feels pointless at times since I’m getting more from my real experiences as a teacher than I am in my theory classes on education. But it will benefit me so much in the long term that I decided to bite the bullet and get my MA now to help set me up for the future. 

Post # 8
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Can’t you explore a career in “fitness” after graduation?

Post # 10
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

But then you’d have a degree that would be very useful, should you need it.  “Fitness”, as such is a broad term & not easily defined as a career. Are you passing on getting formal education about the aspects of fitness that interest you? 

Post # 12
2304 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

View original reply
paigerino :  I’m going to go against the grain here.


I have a good friend who is a LCSW. She cares about what she does, but after 5 years in practice, she left to go work in an administrative role. She felt drained physically and emotionally, and ultimately couldn’t keep doing it. 


I myself had intended to go to med school and decided against it after realizing it would have made my daughter a stranger. I was young enough that I knew I could decide to go back later if I changed my mind. I don’t have an especially prestigious job, but I do really care about what I do. I don’t make as much money as I could, but my position will allow me to work from home soon, and provides me a freedom I consider extremely valuable to my mental and emotional health.


I have about 4x the amount of student debt you cite, and still have never regretted not going to grad school. Especially after seeing how all consuming both school and the resulting career were for my friends that carried on. 


If you have a gig that pays the bills, I think that’s the perfect opportunity to take a run at doing something that excites you. 


Taking on more debt and finishing an advanced degree don’t always result in a more satisfying or prosperous outcome. 


Additionally, you know that the burnout rate in social work is really high. Taking on another 30k in debt to do something that almost certainly has a limited potential for longevity seems like it might not be in your best interest. 


If you try to launch a fitness/life coach business and it doesn’t pan out, you can always change your mind and go back to get your masters later. 


However, you can’t get back the investment in years and money for a degree you don’t decide to use. 


The stakes in your life will probably never be lower. As you take on additional responsibilities like a mortgage, or children, taking risks like this only become harder and harder. If this idea feels like something that calls your heart, it will probably never get any easier than right now to make it happen. 


Finally, there will always be opportunities to make more money. There is no way to make more time. When weighing one against the other, choose the more precious of the two, and you’ll be much happier in the long run. 

Post # 13
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2020 - La Jolla, CA

I am with teamroro. When I went through my masters program (MFT), we started with 20 people in my cohort. We finished with 8. Between people not passing classes, and quitting during, I say if you know NOW that your heart isn’t in it, stop. Save yourself the time, money, and effort. Seriously, one semester of debt isn’t nearly as bad as 4 semesters, especially when you already have a different career path in mind. Screw what your family thinks-If your passion is fitness, follow it!!

Post # 14
635 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
paigerino :  I’ve had a job that was a lot more fun and exciting than my current position, but it was unstable and I struggled to make ends meet.  My current job is high stress, but my lifestyle overall is dramatically improved due to my high salary.  I don’t have to hesitate about whether or not to take my kids to the dr because the copay isn’t a big deal.  My son who needs therapy can go for extra sessions when he struggles and it doesn’t impact our budget.  We live in a highly rated city with nationally rated schools because of my career choice (and my husband’s.)  I’ve stayed out of management to limit my hours and stress, but being very comfortable financially eliminates so much stress.  There’s a sweet spot between career satisfaction and financial stability and I’m not sure fitness will help you find that.  Taking a position once you have your masters with a 2-3 day a week schedule leaving you plenty of time to teach a yoga class or two seems to be much more reasonable. 

Post # 15
4010 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I agree with the last few posters. If you still have 2 years left of this program and you know you’ll be unsatisfied in this career long term, then I would probably forgo that particular degree. In saying that, are there any classes that you’ve taken that would cross over to another degree program? If a master’s is still important to you, maybe you can look into getting one that will open more doors for you in the areas you’re interested in like nutrition or something along those lines. 

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors