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Second year blues or time to quit?

I'm starting my third year technically and I Feel the same however I have had similar thoughts throughout. I think the main points to think about are:

1- Do you need to the PhD for life goals?- if so seek counselling, ask for a break from your studies and see how you feel. If the PhD is still required for your life/career goals then come back and try again refreshed. I think this is common to do, one person I know took 3 months off!

2- Do you still find the general field interesting? It may be worth finishing the PhD if you still want to work in the general field (e.g. biology or whatever), if you want to stay in research then a PhD is needed.

It helped me to google other potential options for jobs, this can help to give you some perspective of what you would do IF you did quit.

Doing a PhD and searching for Research positions

I think it really depends on what you are area of research is in. I have been searching the same recently (i'm in 3rd year phD) as I know I don't want to stay in academia due to the fixed-term nature of all posts, even research fellow level unless you bolster it with teaching. My advice would be to seriously think about what you want in a job (the basics- working hours, financial stability etc) and go from there.

From my own searches it seems to be easier to find permanent research jobs if you have strong statistical skills or are from life sciences/ biology/chemistry background as most research jobs are in scientific or pharmaceutical companies or as statisticians. That being said there are some roles working in civil service or in government that want more qualitative skills also- but many of these are in London.

I think have a look online for current jobs and what they want, I have also found googling job roles on Linkedin really helpful as it shows in the real world what experience/quals people ACTUALLY have in these positions, as usually the ideal scenario isn't always what gets people the job it's experience and who they know.

BUT I am considering leaving my PhD early due to changes in career (away from pure research) so I might have a slightly negative attitude at the moment just as a warning haha!

PhD student that desperately needs/appreciates advice! :( Any Psychologists would also be helpful!

Thank you Tru for your thoughts. May I ask what your background/PhD subject was in and what part of industry you moved into?

PhD student that desperately needs/appreciates advice! :( Any Psychologists would also be helpful!

Hi everyone,
I would really appreciate to hear some other people's thoughts on my situation. I am going into my third year of my PhD at a UK uni (paid studentship) and am thinking of quitting (80% sure) and finishing with MPhil. I have an undergrad, masters degree in Psychology (1st class) and after uni started as a research assistant in a movement science group. After umming and ah-ing for years I eventually took on a PhD and now i've just finished my second year.

I have been thinking of quitting literally from day 1 for the following reasons:

1- my PhD doesn't really match my background (Psychology) it is rather looking into diet and fatigue in Parkinson's disease so I have always felt I am pursing the 'wrong' topic or that it doesn't suit me.

2- The original PhD outline was cellular research but was changed to suit me and my background, which has been good in a way as I had more freedom to do what I want but also means the research aims/objectives have been pretty wool-y from the start.

3- my supervisors have said that I can focus on the behavior change aspect of the project so it better suits my psychology background but there isn't such a strong case that diet needs to change in regards to Parkinson's unlike students that are known to eat unhealthily for example. none of my advisors are experts in behaviour change.

4- I don't want to pursue a career in academia or research due to the fixed term nature of the contracts. I appreciate permanent research jobs are possible in some fields (biochem, engineering, pharmaceuticals, statistics etc) but after constant job searches it seems limited with my background and not worth the anxiety that lifestyle causes me to pursue the small % of jobs that are available.

5- My reasons to quit are not supervisory- they are very supportive and almost friends due to being colleagues for so long- which makes difficult

6- I have extensively researched psychological wellbeing jobs that I think would suit me skills and interest's wise and and would have permanent career progression.

7- I am nearly in third year but because of Covid am a year behind so still need to analyse write up my second study.
8- The toll on my mental health and general health ( I have a chronic health condition) I was having panic attacks over this

- Despite this I am still doubting if this is the right choice to leave early with an Mphil or if I should just stick it out for the whole PhD?
- Is it true that a PhD can help with higher up NHS jobs- e.g. either in research or patient care? ( I have been told this but am dubious as I cant see this anywhere on job specs)
- Is it better to just finish a PhD to get the qualification for the chance I might need it in the future even if the subject isn't the field I want to go into?

Thank you so much for reading this and for your help!
Stressed PhD student