Everett Rummel is a data analyst who works for City University. He always knew that he was going to go to graduate school. He wanted to earn his doctorate degree and sped up the process by earning his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the age of 22. His goal was to complete his doctoral degree in two years. The average person takes eight years to complete their doctoral degree.
Everett eventually dropped out of the program. He stated that the stress of the doctoral program is what caused him to drop out. He also stated that he wasn’t getting much sleep and had little time for a social life. Furthermore, the payoff for the stress may not be worth it.
A 2014 study showed that 40 percent of students who earn a doctorate degree do not have a job at the time of graduation. Thirteen percent of students have more than $70,000 in debt. Additionally, many of the people with doctoral degrees still live at or below the poverty line.
Studies have also shown that many graduate students struggle with mental health issues One study involved 500 students who were earning a PHD in economics. Eighteen percent of these students had mental health struggles. Ten percent of the students stated that they had suicidal thoughts.
The study concluded that the students’ mental health struggles were caused or exacerbated by the stress of graduate school. Lucy Johnson is an assistant professor of digital literacies who works at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She stated that graduate students face a lot of financial and professional pressure. Many students also feel isolated by their work. Furthermore, students often feel that the work they do is not beneficial to society.
Even though many graduate students have mental health issues, few of them get help for it. In fact, many feel that their mental health is better than average. The researchers stated that these students feel that poor mental health is a part of the graduate school life.