I am currently in my first year at a funded Ph.D. program. I have a graduate teaching assistantship in the form of teaching three introductory biology labs (1 credit per) plus the other responsibilities of being an instructor. I also have a six credit (tuition waiver) course load and a stipend.
Prior to coming to this program, I declined an offer from another funded program. It was due to financial reasons such as making a big move to the city and whatnot. I was a fresh undergraduate out of college and I was not ready for that move. I am in the position to make this move now and the offer is much better than my current program.
I have many different quarrels with this current program. There is a lack of structure and much of what I expected at a Ph.D. level course/program was not met. I dislike the current field I am in and I don’t believe I would be happy doing this for the next 4 years. I did not have intentions of leaving prior to starting here, but as I mentioned things here are not as what I expected. Through discussion with the head of the department I declined, I was able to get my declined admission deferred to next fall. In February, I will hear if I receive funding again.
Now my issue is that I am currently in a lab rotation with my prospective advisor and I have not told anyone that I will be leaving. I am afraid that if I tell anyone that I plan to leave after the year, I will be looked down upon and it would affect my courses for the year. I want to withdraw from the lab rotation because the program I will be going to does not have any use for such a course. However, I am worried that if I tell my advisor why I am withdrawing, it will impact me negatively. In the off chance I do not receive funding, I will most likely be staying in this program and if they know I wanted to leave and didn’t because of funding, I fear I will be looked down upon.
- How unethical is it to continue this year and finish up without mentioning any of my intentions to leave the program for another?
- If I do withdraw from the lab rotation, should I mention why I am doing so or just mention that I was not expecting the course work to be so intense (which is true due to my teaching taking up so much time, I am behind).
- How unethical is it to use my 6 credit tuition waiver to take courses in the spring that would hopefully transfer to my other program?
My contract runs 9 months so I can’t just leave.