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SmilingHippo
Monday, 10 April 2017 at 4:06pm
Tuesday, 4 July 2017 at 7:52pm
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Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
03-Jul-17, 13:34
edited about 9 seconds later
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posted about 3 months ago
Quote From satchi:

hi Smilinghippo sorry to hear about your experience and it is brave of you to choose to walk away. Out of curiosity, can I ask - would you be looking to do a phd somewhere else?


Hi satchi, well I am leaving the door open, so if I had another occasion I would probably consider it. This time I would probably stay in Europe (I am outside Europe right now) and be very careful about every single detail before starting, but it is not something I completely exclude from my future.

Quote From Kamali:


I dont know why people push you to quit ?!!!!


Hello Kamali, nobody is pushing me to quit. If you see the dates of my posts you could notice it took me a very long time to make up my mind. In the end I left for financial reasons and not because of anxiety or tension.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
30-Jun-17, 17:07
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 4 months ago
Thank you all for your replies and support.
Yesterday things got even worse. I talked to my codirector and she said that my director didn’t tell her anything. The day before the director said he would immediately call her after our meeting. He had more than 24 hours to do that and didn’t bother. Then she suggested I found a job to earn the money they guaranteed me. I told her that we were talking about my confidence in them and about fairness, not about me working because in a year they didn’t feel like finding solutions. And then she too said that she was really sorry, because she could see I was so focused and autonomous and I knew what I was doing.

Quote From Ephiny:

We're taught as kids that it's bad to be a quitter, and it's hard to go against that without feeling like a failure on some level, even when it's not your fault. But sometimes it's the right decision, and the tougher one, to walk away from a bad situation.


Luckily I don’t feel like a failure, in fact I only feel sad because it seems like I was the only one taking this PhD seriously. Yesterday I heard my codirectors talking and one said to the other that it is not official yet, so maybe on the day I am supposed to leave I will say I am staying instead. This hurts a lot, because it means they’re not taking me seriously yet, even after I resigned.

I really hope other students won’t find themselves in the same situation, as wanting to study should be a good quality and not a burden.
Thank you again, and good luck to all of you too.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
29-Jun-17, 18:57
edited about 28 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
Hello everyone,
I am back with a quick update.

I finally decided to leave the program. I talked to my supervisors one last time, saying that I found it unfair that I was supposed to do the technical work. Their answer was that they agreed with me but that I had to do it anyway. My director, though, got really mad and started insulting me.

Despite all of this, I kept going to work. A week after, my director sent me an email stating that this year I will not have a grant he guaranteed as part of my financing when I was selected for the program. In fact, this grant was what made me decide to accept the position, as it allowed me financial independence.

Yesterday I saw my director to tell him that I am leaving the program and all of a sudden he said that he would start looking for a solution, not only for this year but for the next years too. He said he would call and do meetings, etc. because I did a great job this year and he doesn’t want to lose one student.

They had one full year to find solutions; this is the second time in 6 months I said I would leave the program for financial reasons. Even if they did find the money, I see myself having to threat to get what I need every time, and I don’t find it fair or stimulating at all for pursuing a PhD.

I believe I did everything I could and I accepted many things I probably shouldn’t even have accepted to make things work. Now I am just sad and disheartened.
Thank you all for your time and suggestions, I just wanted to let you know.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
02-May-17, 03:28
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 5 months ago
Thank you for your reply, Tru.
I can’t change project because the funding comes from the institute and not the university. At the institute there are only 2 directors of research in my field and they’re both my co-directors. Furthermore, my funding is related to the work I do for this project.
The other institutes that do research in similar fields all work with my academic director, so I would be tied to him again.


Quote From tru:

Without a PhD supervisor's guidance, it is extremely difficult to obtain a PhD since you will be stressed, doing a lot of trial and errors and wasting lots of time.


I totally agree with you on the subject of time: students at my lab usually take at least 4 years to graduate from 2-year master's programs and 5.5-6 years to graduate from 4-year PhD programs.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
01-May-17, 17:37
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From Pjlu:
Hi Smilinghippo, who do can you go to (at your institution or faculty) who acts as an advisor or advocate for you (other than your supervisors).

It reads as if (to me) that you have a onsite supervisor and academic supervisors-and they are all unhelpful. (Is this how it is?). Can you find out who can assist (from the research faculty, perhaps you have an international student advisor, and your faculty should definitely have something like a graduate research advisor ) and either see them, email or phone, depending on your location to lay out your case and get advice/support.



Hi Pjlu,
Thank you for your reply.
Yes exactly, I have an onsite supervisor and an academic one. At my university there is no international student advisor. There is a director of the PhD program, but it’s mostly for administrative stuff, like funding. I don’t know if I can talk to her about these issues. I went to see her in the past for issues related to funding and she immediately informed my supervisor, so I wonder whether there is any confidentiality.
Unfortunately, the field work is a big part of my project: it will last 5 months this year and 5 months the next one.
I really don’t know what to do anymore, I keep going and try not to think, but yesterday something bad happened and I had a nervous breakdown to remind me that things are not all that good.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
01-May-17, 17:35
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From nake:
Hi,

Am hanging on to my PhD because my friends and family think I should, but personally, it is coming at a huge cost to my psychological health. I might also quit soon because even if I do get the PhD the whole experience has changed my perception of academia.I would have to ask myself eventually, was it really worth it, and am sure my answer would be no.


Hello nake,
Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re having a bad time too.
We do everything we can to fulfill our dreams, we invest efforts and time and then things end up like this.
I hope you will find your way!

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
28-Apr-17, 19:46
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 6 months ago
Thank you all for your replies.
I took some time to think and then some new things happened.

My PhD is in agriculture, so I’ll be working in the field during summer. What happened is that they told me I’m supposed to take care of all the agricultural operations, while nobody in my field does that. What we do is we go in the field, collect our data and that’s it.
I asked why and they told me that at this institute the farm workers only do the “heavy” jobs.
I was pretty pissed because this takes a huge amount of time; moreover, they basically want me to work as a technician (there are only technicians at this institute, no post-docs and I’m the only PhD student), but without the salary and social benefits of a technician. When I say I can’t do something because I’m now running tests at the lab, they get annoyed and ask when I’ll be done with those tests, like they were an issue and not a part of my program.
As this wasn’t enough, my co-supervisor forced me to do additional work for another project not related to my PhD, obviously for free.

I can’t switch supervisors because the field work depends on this institute and the institute is tied to my co-supervisor.

I really like the project and the work, but honestly this is not a PhD. Even if I got to the end of this nightmare, I wouldn’t be competent to have this title, because all I’m doing is technical work and don’t have time to read or even think and try new things.
Thank you again for your time!

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
11-Apr-17, 15:11
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 6 months ago
Thank you for your reply.

The thing is I wonder how good my research can finally be in this situation.
I’m doing my best and trying really hard, but if I don’t get feedback on my work how can I improve? I had to write my project as a first step of my program and my supervisor corrected it in a very superficial way, you could see from the comments he didn’t even read it twice.
I spoke to my supervisors and they said if I needed support I could talk to the lab technician, because they don't have time. The lab technician is at the lab twice a week and has her own research to do and not much time as well, so it's quite a mess.

Apparently the unavailability of supervisors and teachers in this university is quite common, starting from the undergraduate level.

Anyway, thank you again for your time and I will think about all the pros and cons!

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
10-Apr-17, 17:15
Avatar for SmilingHippo
posted about 6 months ago
Hello everyone,
I am a first year PhD student. I am at the end of the first year and I am wondering whether to continue or not.

I'm doing my PhD overseas and I like the job: reading, writing and the research part. However, I am working in a toxic environment.

My supervisors never have time, they just tell me “you have to do this” and if I have issues I rarely have an opportunity to validate and discuss solutions, which already caused me to waste 2 months. Another PhD student quit after a few months and they told me the reason he left was he needed too much supervision, that in this lab you are just told what to do and you have to do it.

Apart from this, I feel like I was basically lied to during my interview. I am the only foreign student at the lab and it seems like they don’t understand I have different needs. For example, they don’t want me to take time to go back to my country: I went back once and they were all pissed. Moreover, I had to threaten to leave to get paid. Finally, there are some other practical aspects they didn’t even consider that now fall on me.

I can’t change supervisors and I can’t talk to anyone at the lab because they all think this is the way things work.

Meanwhile, I am not letting stress kill me. I do sports; I have a healthy lifestyle and friends I can talk to. For these reasons I think there actually is something wrong and it’s not only in my head.

I am thinking of quitting and going back to my country, because at this point I don’t think a doctorate is worth all this psychological suffering. Have you ever experienced something similar? Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you all for your time!
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