As Jeremie Harris pointed out in his (not so recent) Medium article, the term Ph.D. dropout holds a certain cachet.
It shows you were smart and conventional enough to get into graduate school, but edgy enough to decide to leave and go it on your own.
Nevermind that I left graduate school for health reasons and left with a master's degree more than dropping out.
The point of this post is: it's refreshing to find a reason that leaving graduate school without the Ph.D. actually has an upside. It helps me feel better about not having those venerated next to my name.
Granted, being able to focus on improving my health was an upside, but sometimes you want something that the world would recognize as laudable or, in this case, nerdy buy mildly rebellious.
I'd like to say I'm above worrying about how the world sees me and that I recognize myself for my own intrinsic value, but honestly, I'm not at that level.
What labels do you wish you had achieved? And does it help to think of yourself as a dropout from that goal?