Hi guys! Sorry it’s been a while. Things have been pretty hectic over here. As the title suggests, I am now in a position where I need to quit one of my obligations.

Long story short, I am working what are essentially three unpaid internships in my doctoral program on top of dissertation and coursework. I know this sounds crazy, but it is actually pretty common in my program. Well - turns out I can’t do it, because I’ve been slowly falling into a terrible depression I can’t get out of. This week, I had a day where my every thought was, “I want to die.” This is especially not good if you’re a therapist - questions of ethics and competency and all that.

So I need to drop SOMETHING. And it makes sense to drop the practicum that doesn’t like me. I’m not meeting expectations (probably because I am stressed the hell out), my supervisor oscillates between being nice and nasty, the environment isn’t totally supportive, etc. I love my other placements - my supervisors love me (and it’s mutual) and the environment is generally supportive even if it’s not 100% perfect.

I contacted the point person at my program for this sort of thing and he wasn’t as angry about it as I thought he would be. What I am doing is NOT GOOD for the program. The program wants all its practicums to have the best possible experience with their students so the practicum will take more students in the future. I totally get that.

But, he actually seemed concerned about my health. I was shocked! I think it helped that I said, totally genuinely, “I’m not going to make it to the end of the year.” He wants me to think about trying to get them to downgrade me to a day. The thing is, I didn’t emphasize that the supervisor can be a piece of work sometimes - just that I’m over-extended and my mental health is suffering. Because bitching about supervisors doesn’t look good. But yeah, I don’t think I can mentally survive working with that supervisor. If it was just a matter of two practicums, I would suck it up and deal with her. But three and her? Even with an extra day off? No. I want to die. Anyway, it’s good to know that I technically have permission to quit from my program even if it’s clearly not their preference. (Because me going on psychiatric leave and therefore quitting 3 practicums would, I think, be worse.)

Advertisement

So, at some point in the next week, I need to have a conversation with the supervisor who terrifies me. Where I’m never given the benefit of the doubt and the worst is always assumed about me. The conversation needs to be done in a respectful fashion so that I don’t completely burn my bridges, although they are already smoldering at this point. Unfortunately, I’ve never been in this position before...I’ve never really quit anything. So I have no idea what to do or say.

So...advice? Anyone ever been in a similar situation?

Also...

ETA: This is a better thank-you pic!

Advertisement

ETA2: I totally feel like shit about this and the shame and guilt is real but I still feel it’s what I need to do. :(