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UC Irvine, Michigan and second thoughts on doing a Ph.D.


danubecities
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I'm currently in my first year of a fully funded Ph.D. program at UC Irvine. I haven't been completely happy with the research guidance I've been getting from the faculty nor with living in Irvine.

I'm considering transferring to U Michigan (also fully funded, with an advisor who seems good), but it would mean spending an additional 1-2 years getting the Ph.D. U Michigan has a better reputation, but the program I'd transfer to is more or less equivalent to the one I'm in at Irvine. Ann Arbor seems like a nice town, but a bit small. I don't know if I could spend 4-5 years there.

I should be happy with these options, but the thought of spending so much time in school is getting me down. I want to finish things up now. By the time I'm done I'll be in my mid-30s. Part of me wants to quit, move back to the East coast and take the cushy tech job I used to have. Advice on what to do? Anyone else having second thoughts about the Ph.D.?

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I think if you've started the PhD. you might as well finish it...but you have to think seriously about how much additional income you will be able to earn with this degree versus your old job. In your field it might make a huge difference, or it might not. As far as the living situation goes, Ann Arbor is great and so much better than Irvine. Orange County is the place where culture goes to die. You'll have a great time at Michigan, I'm sure.

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First, determine if the PhD is right for you. You'll be spending a LOT more time on it if you continue it and weigh this against simply working again. Some folks realize AFTER they are in school, the PhD was a mistake. The sooner you can determine this, the better.

Once you're there, do you really think Michigan will be better? A PhD is mostly self-directed, anyway, and I wouldn't necessarily think different advisers would significantly impact your research outcomes.

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