Grad school is *not* what I was hoping it would be. I wanted to study GR and was fortunate enough to get accepted in a program with an advisor who is a gravity theorist. I have the best fellowship awarded to grad students at my school. I passed all my prelims on my first try. My grades aren't a problem. But I spent three miserable years grinding through courses recovering what I covered in undergrad (which I would have liked if I'd actually learned anything but I didn't), taking electives I detested because they were the only options that year (small program), teaching labs that take up a lot more of my time than you'd think (partly because of how they are scheduled), and didn't even get to take GR until the end of my third year. I'm starting my fourth year and don't even have a thesis topic (there are vague ideas of what sort of things I might research but they are vague). The only things I've actually enjoyed during my time here are taking GR and helping somebody with some programming over the Summer (my undergrad was half-CS). Every year for the past several years "I'm just about to start research" but nothing happens. It's partly my fault for feeling burned out but also, like I said, I couldn't even take a class in GR, the thing I came to grad school to study, until the past Spring semester. My personal life has turned to absolute crap, I've been seeing a psychiatrist and a counselor off and on since last Spring. I'm aware that my current misery is *partly* to do with my personal life and not grad school per se but these things in my life would *not* have happened if I hadn't come to grad school in the first place. IF YOU SKIPPED ALL OF THAT, START READING HERE: So I'm considering dropping out of grad school, I have a background in CS, and I'm not sure how to weigh my options. I thought of maybe applying for some jobs or reaching out to recruiters and seeing what happens, but I don't know if this is a good idea. I was reminded this Summer how much I love programming, and would love to get a job in software engineering, especially something that uses physics. I still love physics and still want to study GR as a hobby if I drop out. Has anybody dropped out of a PhD program (when they were in good standing in the program) and had success along these lines?