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QuittyMcQuitface
Monday, 28 March 2016 at 1:58am
Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 10:03pm
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Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
14-Apr-16, 22:32
edited about 22 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
Again thanks for the replies! I forgot to say this earlier but I hope things are looking up for those of you also having a bit of a hard time! I find just talking about it here and receiving advice/support has lifted the gloom somewhat and helped me sort out my thoughts :)

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
14-Apr-16, 22:28
edited about 9 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
I know I should probably go and speak to some form of student support services...I'm not the sort of guy who likes talking about this stuff however so I might just stick to this forum in the mean time. Annoyingly the "go to" postgraduate adviser knows my supervisor so I wouldn't feel comfortable talking to him. Maybe I should stop being a tit and go talk to a councilor but I'll have to work on that.
HuntAnthem, it gives me some hope that someone else has changed their project that many times! In my positive moments I hope I can come up with a well structured research question with enough scope for a PhD...I just have to decide if the whole PhD route is the correct one for me first.

PhDReallyRight124: I'm sorry to hear you're going through some similar stuff. I will make sure to read your post and will try my best to offer any useful advice!
I feel exactly the same wrt " quitting and 'finally getting started'". As I said in my post, I feel like I've achieved ~1% of the content needed for a PhD and I feel like if I don't get my research question sorted soon then it'll be too late (that or it'll take me like 6 years to complete which I don't fancy doing). That's assuming I'll actually enjoy doing the PhD even with a solid research question :/ Your view on finding a job is quite motivational and makes me feel a bit more hopeful about things if I do quit. I somewhat agree on the "counting the happy days" strategy...I do feel however, that even if I had more shitty days than good ones, if the end product felt like it was going to be worth it then I'd stick it out. Atm I think a big part of them problem is feeling like what I'm doing is no use to anyone and at the same time having not passion for it.

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
14-Apr-16, 22:03
Avatar for QuittyMcQuitface
posted about 3 years ago
First of all let me apolgise for the delay with my reply (been trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life haha).


Secondly, a really big thank you to you all for taking the time to read my post and for replying! I really do appreciate it and the advice/support given helps more than you probably realise. So again, thank you.

TreeofLife: thank you for answering my questions! I can't promise not to quit without having something lined up and I'm not quite as confident about finding a job easily (I have friends with 1st class engineering degrees who are struggling) but I do appreciate your advice and honest answers!

Seegi: First of all, thank you for your thoughtful reply! I don't like to hear that someone else is having/had similar problems to me but I have to say there is some solace in knowing I am not the only one going through them.I think your two cents are pretty spot on to be honest. Working on something which a) I don't enjoy (is quite a distance from what I thought I would be doing) and b) can't see leading anywhere/seems insignificant within (or outside) the field has drained any original passion I had.
I definitely do need to figure out if it's just this PhD project I am hating or if it would be ANY PhD project...something I'm still struggling with I'm afraid :/

Seegi/HuntAnthem: I plan on meeting my supervisor next week. This is something I've known I should do tbh and have just been putting it off as I'm kind of dreading it. My supervisor is a nice guy but I still don't know how he's going to take it. My plan is to ask for a leave of absence, I'm thinking at least 6 months for me to decide what to do i.e. come up with a proper research question or quit. Cont...

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
29-Mar-16, 17:47
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for QuittyMcQuitface
posted about 3 years ago
So the questions I have to any of you kind people out there willing to offer my moany ass advice are as follows:
-Has anybody been/is going through anything similar to this?
-If I quit now and considering my university grades, what chance would I have of starting a different PhD in the future?
-With my academic background and quitting a PhD, I am worried I will struggle to land a job. Any advice for someone with my grades for landing a job?
-For research based jobs which state a PhD as a requirement, is there routes into these jobs which don’t require getting a PhD (I realise this sounds really stupid but I’m asking anyway)?
-Would anyone recommend a leave of absence over straight out quitting considering what I’ve written above?
-Has anyone quit a PhD without anything lined up? I feel like the logical thing would be to look for something before quitting but I just want out tbh.

Once again, if you read all of that then I’d like to give you a BIG thank you! It is really appreciated! [5/5]

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
29-Mar-16, 17:47
Avatar for QuittyMcQuitface
posted about 3 years ago
I know people who have a 2:2 are not usually considered so I know I am very lucky (which makes me feel like an even shittier human being).
-I think I could be good at research. At this point I think it’s clear I’m not some genius science boffin (obviously hah!), but I would like to think I am also not a complete dumbass. I know I have a better grasp of some things compared to other people in my group and have had good feedback for the few things I have done. I feel like if I had a clear research question in something I have some passion for that I could be a decent researcher and possibly gain a PhD.
-I’m worried the effect of quitting would have on applying for jobs.
-Shitty jobs. I have worked part-time in various places since high school, through out university, and up until starting my PhD. I really really dread having to go back to these sort of jobs and becoming stuck there.
-Not knowing what to do. I don’t know exactly what career I want to go into if I quit. Annoyingly the sorts of jobs that interest me when I am looking are research based industry jobs, nearly all of which state a PhD as a requirement  These are not the only jobs however, I just don’t have an exact role/career pinned down. [4/5]

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
29-Mar-16, 17:46
edited a moment later
Avatar for QuittyMcQuitface
posted about 3 years ago
Another point, and I don’t know if this is a fair point to judge my supervisor on, but it has me a bit worried; his previous student received major corrections and I know of another student who has ran out of funding and is struggling...would this worry other people? There has been a couple of things my supervisor has asked me to work on but the content is so far away from what I wanted/thought I’d be doing that I have no passion for it. Aaaannd my third reason…
-Passion. Or rather the lack of it. I no longer have any passion for what I am doing. Each day I struggle to find any sort of shits to give. Often zero shits is how many I end up finding. Pretty sure this PhD has given me existential depression and can’t really see any light at the end of the tunnel at the moment (fucked if I leave and fucked if I stay is what it feels like).
-Mini-viva. I’m ashamed to say it but for the last few months I’ve all but given up. I would go to university and come back and have achieved exactly the sqrt[fuckall]. So at this point even if I did decide to stick with it I have my doubts about being able to pass my oral exam to progress to the next year.
-I hate the system. Rather than really understand something (i.e. results, a process, a particular bit of theory) it seems to be the norm to understand it to a point where it is good enough to publish (i.e. sounds good) and stop there. I hate this.
-Lastly, I don’t want to stay in academia. I know this for sure. I feel like this strengthens the argument for leaving.
Reasons that are holding me back:
-I’m lucky to be doing a funded PhD. [3/5]

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
29-Mar-16, 17:44
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for QuittyMcQuitface
posted about 3 years ago
The reasons I want to leave are as follows:
-My research question: I don’t really have one (ish). After investigating the initial research question/topic, it became clear there was very little scope for me to do a PhD on it. I have since spent time pursuing various different routes within a broad topic, all of which feel unimportant and have all led to nothing so far. As a consequence I’ve not even presented any work yet (not even a poster presentation) and probably have less than 1% of the content needed for a thesis. I feel like I am constantly trying to find a problem for me to solve rather than actually working on a problem. This brings me onto my next reason…
-My supervisor. First of all, I get on well with my supervisor, he’s a nice guy and is very supportive. I just don’t think he’s the right type of supervisor for me. Unlike other research groups where the PI has certain ideas/things he would like their students to work on, I could probably suggest anything to investigate and I would get the green light. I imagine this would be amazing for some other whizz kid student with numerous brilliant research ideas, but I’m afraid that’s not me (which makes me think I shouldn’t be doing this). I have had some ideas but after working on them a bit it’s clear they’re not great and it’s back to square one. My research area is cross-discipline and hence my ideas usually trip up on an area I’m not overly familiar with. Another thing is my supervisor comes from a slightly different (overlapping) background from that to the topics I’m studying. This means he can offer very little help with the theoretical side of things (and I mean at quite a fundamental level) which is where I feel the good ideas for worthwhile research lie. [2/5]

Thread: Quitting PhD Advice

posted
29-Mar-16, 17:43
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for QuittyMcQuitface
posted about 3 years ago
I am writing this post in the small hope of receiving some helpful advice and also just to get all of this off my chest as it has been weighing me down lately. I also think I’ve read every post on quitting a PhD on the internet ever so this seemed like the next logical step (hah). I would like to say thank you now if you read this all the way through (I currently don’t know how long this might be but I’ve a feeling it won’t be short, sorry!).
So…I am fairly certain I am going to quit my PhD but I am worried about the consequences. I might as well start at the beginning: I was an A-grade student in high school, especially in science. I then graduated with a masters from a Russell group university with a 2:2 (physics). Probably one of the worst days of my life, I never thought I’d get a 2:2 and I’ve never been particularly confident so this crushed me. After a year or so I got my shit together and got on a postgraduate masters (engineering/science based) from another Russell group university. I enjoyed this, worked hard, and left with a distinction, so at this point things were looking up and I was feeling good about life/myself. I then applied for a PhD…

I am now a year and a half in and after initially being unsure about the whole thing, this uneasiness has slowly turned into being miserable about everything all the time. I feel like this PhD has slowly chipped away at any confidence I had gained and left me feeling like a depressed, isolated mess of a human being. I thought about quitting about 6 months ago but refrained and told myself I would give it another while before I decide for sure. Well a while has passed, I’m still miserable and need to decide what to do with my life. [1/5]
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