Academia: staying (or leaving) for the right reasons

Beth Godbee, in her article in Inside Higher Ed talks about leaving – or staying – in academia for the right reasons. While she has now decided, post-tenure, to leave academia, she talks also about how and why it can be good to stay:

I remember conversations with an amazing counselor who really understood the trauma of graduate education and worked primarily with doctoral students. When I shared that I was thinking of leaving graduate school since my back pain was indicative of too much stress, she encouraged me to keep open the decision of whether to stay or go. As long as I felt I could grow, contribute and heal in my discipline, I had reasons to stay, which she had me itemize. If or when I felt that I couldn’t be myself, then I could consider how to leave and for what.

A Christian might put her words slightly differently: as long as one can serve God faithfully – by loving others, contributing to the world, and growing, including desiring to know and love God more fully – then staying in grad school is good. But if that is not true, then leaving is a good thing; but leaving ought to be towards something, something that is more good and more faithful to who God has formed us to be and uses the gifts, talents, and experiences God has given us in order to be a blessing to others and the world around us.


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