I am basically thinking of moving out to my university accommodation as soon as I start my Phd. I am currently working part-time and have been offered a full funding from my university, so financially, it should be ok. However, coming from a conservative Muslim background, this move won't happen smoothly (i.e. women are not allowed to live by themselves) and once it will take place, my whole family might decide to stop contacting me, allowing me to visit them, etc.
I want to get my own place to be able to travel, and no longer be subject to the many restrictions existing at home. I think if I stay at home and study, I might not be able to fully exploit the opportunities that could come my way. For instance: I shared with my father my desire to go and submit an abstract for a conference that will take place abroad. He refused I go on my own and said I could go if I allowed him to come with me and paid for his fare!!!! He is also dead against me staying overnight anywhere, a huge problem for me as many conferences in my field take place outside of my city and I would have to spend at least a night away from home to allow for travel etc.
I am in a huge dilemma: about to embark on a very difficult academic journey and also about to move out, which would severe the ties with my family. I don't know what to do and if it is reasonable, or if I should stick with my family, for after all, family ties are sacred. My parents suffer from ill health and are facing many issues at the moment as well, so I am not sure if my actions would worsen their conditions.
So if a Phd do-able if one is facing many personal issues? I am a very emotional person, so I will keep thinking about my problems at every moment of my research.
Please advise. Thanks.
Hi Satc, I can't advise you on whether to move out, or how to deal with your family. But I think you can still do the phd in either case, if you want to. People have all kinds of problems and stresses during their phds, it's just normal life, so it really depends on what you think you can manage. If you are worried, maybe you could settle into your phd first, then decide whether or how to move out of home, rather than facing so many new and stressful things at once? Also, going to a lot of conferences might not matter that much from an academic perspective, and many people find it hard to travel for all kinds of reasons, eg caring for young children, ill relatives, etc. Someone said to me recently, that there is a difference between people who finish their phds and those that don't- it's not what happens in their lives, because life happens to all of them. But some of them decide to carry on and get their phds anyway.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.
Statistically, moving house is one of the most stressfull life events you will ever do plus phds are stressful and expensive. Whilst you may feel you have more opportunity to travel living away from home, could you honestly cope with being cut off from family and your community? Which would have the most negative impact on you completing your Phd, not going to conferences or missing your family? Living at home has its benefits too. You could get your Phd behind you before making another dramatic life change? I hope I don't sound too negative but from someone who has over 20 years work experience behind me I can see that prospects of a new career are exciting but and this is a big but, no career is ever more fulfilling than having a great family bond :-) If you really feel the need to break away from family then that's fine too but just be prepared that change isn't always good, although it could be fantastic. It is a dilema. Good luck with your choice.
I can't tell you if you should stay or go but do not stay if it's just for guilt that will not bring peace with yourself and family. Have you spoken to your family, are you sure they will stop contact with you? Could the university accomodation arrange a chaperone e.g room sharing with a likeminded student, would your family feel happier with that? Could you speak to the University and ask them what other students have done in similar situations (I assume they come across this quite regularly) and if they have any guidance/support etc they might have some literature to give your family that they can read through that will bring assurances about what your life there will be like? Is there a muslim student group who can give you advice about the transition and how to approach things with your family?
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