My official end date for my Masters is supposed to be August 2011, given that I started in September 2009. You're allocated 2 years to complete your thesis, from which you can decide to defend or transfer to do you PhD, at my university.
I switched supervisors in April 2010, and so have been working on my project for roughly 9 months. When I switched, they informed me that my start date would remain the same, which I was ok with, because I planned on transferring.
However, as of late, my plans to transfer have changed, and I made inquiries as to my end date. My project is has great breadth, and can definitely extend into a PhD. I also had to switch from bench work, where you could do multiple experiments in a day, to animal work. My project started from scratch and none of the techniques I learnt before applied in my new lab. So really, having a year and 5 months to complete this thesis is not the best situation!
Today, I officially found out that if I am unable to finish in August, I will have to petition my grad program to extend my Masters, have my committee agree upon it (which I don't see any reason why they wouldn't), and then pay an extra year of tuition. That's $6000+!! Also, I doubt I would receive a stipend. How am I going to pay my tuition, my rent, and everything else? Thank goodness I have savings, but they are now going to take such a hard hit!!!!! I could move back home to my parents...but then I'd have to commute, and I am a bitch when I commute.
They don't even have reduced tuition anymore for people in my circumstances...I guess because not many grad students decide to switch supervisors.
I really want to finish by August, but my project switched direction in October, and I only recently optimised the core experiment. These types of situations just fill me with doubts in my abilities, and it's so easy to imagine the worse case scenario. Guess my not-so-vibrant social life is going to take a further hit!
Sometimes I wonder if it's a waste of my youth to be stuck in the lab, in a dark room for hours, hoping to make an experiment work, when I could be enjoying myself...or at least getting more job satisfaction for the effort put in. Sadly, I think I already know the answer to that!