Educated - A Memoir
Tara Westover


Sharon Fleming

Chapter 38

In this chapter, Westover explains that she was failing her Ph.D and was contemplating how to tell her lecturer supervisor, Dr. Runciman. Thought Dr. Runciman was willing to help her secure more funding and also petition the department for more time, Westover failed to explain the reasons why she was experiencing these difficulties in her studies. She had only visited Dr. Runciman’s office to inform him that she was quitting her Ph.D. The supervisor understood and told her that a Ph.D. is demanding and one is free to quit if overwhelmed (Westover 314). She recalls leaving his office “full of fury at myself” (Westover 314). While she knew that was the best decision she could make at the moment, she was angry that she was not resilient enough to persevere through the rest of her Ph.D.


At this juncture, Westover had managed to attain high levels of education, and her decision to quit her Ph.D. because of a variety of problems seemed to hinder her progress. Many people would have held the expectations that she could try her best to ensure that she completed her Ph.D. Westover’s courage in deciding to end her Ph.D. is impressive in and of itself as it is obvious that it is an agonizing choice for her and that she is clearly saddened by her decision to stop studying.

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