Partly because the dissertation is a completely new experience that is much larger and more independent than your previous academic work.
To this point, being a graduate student has been, more or less, an extension of your earlier life as a student.
Many, many people lead happy, fulfilling lives, build lucrative and rewarding careers, make important contributions to knowledge, share interesting ideas with others, and generally get along just fine without three letters after their names. It also does not mean that you have wasted the time and money that you invested in the degree up to the ABD stage.
It may simply mean that after considering your own personal motivations and goals, you decided this career choice wasn’t for you—and that you plan to use the skills you honed as a graduate student in other ways that are more suited to you. Unlike the elaborate study strategies you developed in order to pass your comprehensive exams, writing the dissertation will enable you to start developing a set of valuable research and writing skills.
University counseling services may prove helpful as well.
They regularly talk with students about just this issue. does not mean that you have “quit” or that others who remain in the program are smarter, more driven, or more virtuous than you are.
The dissertation, on the other hand, is a new kind of academic project, unlike anything else you’ve done.
It is the academic project that marks your transition from student to scholar.
The doctoral dissertation and related research are the most significant and extensive part of a doctoral degree.
The University of Helsinki does not measure dissertations in credits, but their scope has been calculated to correspond to approximately 200 credits.