A Prospective Grad Student Says “No Thanks”


I am not sure what I expected when I applied to PhD programs. But when April rolled around, I began to ask myself what kind of future I was signing up for, and how different it would be from numerous other paths. After all, horror stories abound about the process of getting a PhD, and the terrible job market afterward. At best, I could hope to be turning 40, with a 9-year-old daughter and whatever other children we may have, still making less than I was at age 30, and with no job security…

I want a great career for myself — one where I will make a real impact with my ideas and my words. However, I can’t in good conscience subject my family to the kind of risks involved with an academy that is basically crumbling, and would continue to do so under our feet. I decided that I would not build a house on loose sand.

That’s Mike Sturm, a married father of one with a job in industrial distribution, writing about his decision to not pursue a PhD in philosophy, in “Why I Chose To Give up on Academia.”

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