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ConfWea
Friday, 14 February 2020 at 7:27pm
Monday, 17 February 2020 at 11:27pm
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Thread: Thinking about quitting my PhD

posted
17-Feb-20, 23:37
edited about 21 seconds later
by ConfWea
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posted about 2 months ago
Finally approved - any thoughts?

I talked to a PostDoc today (that is sort of second in hierachy to the professor) about my unhappiness regarding the tasks as a research assistant but there's essentially nothing I can do about it.

Thread: Thinking about quitting my PhD

posted
14-Feb-20, 22:21
edited about 12 seconds later
by ConfWea
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posted about 2 months ago
Even though there's a lot I dislike about my current situation and it's preventing me from sleeping at night, the things that I really like are reading papers, thinking of new ways to solve a problem and discussing them with my peers. This freedom to try out new things is probably something I won't find (easily) in industry. And I'm not sure if I can do it as a "hobby" besides a full-time job.

Then again right now I completely lack direction or even a real project/topic and I'm also unhappy about the "pressure to publish" which (from what I've seen) results in some "quick" papers that still somehow get accepted in conferences. While I get that it's unlikely that I might do something ground-breaking in my PhD it's still frustrating. This is also a huge factor that drains my motivation.

Currently I'm debating with myself whether I should just apply for an industry job. A few weeks ago I was actually quite sure that I want to quit but I have the fear that I might regret that decision afterwards or maybe in a few years.

My current "plan" is to apply for a job and when I have an actual offer try to discuss it with my supervisor although I highly doubt the situation will change. I'm just feeling a little bit lost overall.

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Thread: Thinking about quitting my PhD

posted
14-Feb-20, 22:21
edited about 20 seconds later
by ConfWea
Avatar for ConfWea
posted about 2 months ago
Hey everyone. I've read through countless other "quit my phd"-threads but yet I feel like I want to share my own story and ask for advice.

About me: I started a PhD 6 months ago in the field of Machine Learning in Germany in combination with a fully paid job as research assistant in my department.

Within the last three months I started becoming less and less motivated to go to work as I dislike most of the tasks I have to do as a research assistant. Most of it is administration tasks or work on government funded research projects which are not really interesting or sometimes even frustrating (but need to be done, it's the way we get our money). I have the feeling that I waste a lot of time doing "nothing" and I don't get any useful or interesting work done. This takes up about 75% of my time on average. The current specialization area of my research group also becomes less and less interesting to me the more I read into it. Even though it might be possible to go in a more general machine learning direction.

I pretty much already concluded they I don't want to stay in academia if I were to finish the degree. But this brings another (maybe irational?) fear to me that I might have a hard time finding an industry job since I won't necessarily learn any practical skills during the time as a researcher. For some reason, this is a very persistent thought that keeps floating in my head. I'm not sure if I want to become a "Data Scientist" in the end - which seems to be a common career step for ML PhD students. That's why I currently look into do practical-oriented online courses in my freetime even though they won't replace proper work experience.

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