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to quit or not to quit? And then what?

Quote From Marshall:
Drwubs, it's concerning that you find Rewt and Nead's feedback condescending and irrelevant because they are not. They have taken time out of their day to provide advice on how they would proceed under your circumstances. Asking them to no longer respond on a public forum where you sought advice is plainly rude.

Having said that, I have been through something similar to yourself. Have you asked your supervisor to provide a list of names of students at the Uni who are doing working similar to yours and emailing them directly to try and make a group of your own. Maybe rather than waiting for a uni to create a group for you, you could create your own. That's what I did and it worked great.

And I'll ask the same of you.
Your very first sentence was condescending.
If anything it feels very much like I put out a request for advice from anyone with a similar experience
and all I've gotten are replies from troll accounts.

to quit or not to quit? And then what?

Quote From Nead:
I kinda agree with rewt all uni differ. Durng my post grad it was left to us to orgainsed these things. I am back now as a post-doc and covid has effected it all. We had one semeiar online for pg and they all said it was crap and it was more stressfull presenting online. Due to covid you cant meet in larger groups, you cant hang out after working hours so its buts a dapner on all things.

Im sure the same is being said in larger uni that do orgainse these thing for PGs. Can you help resolve the promblem- can you and a few othr PGs set up a semeinar or online meet up ? The uni doestnt have to orgainse eveything.

In terms of quiting you PhD- I equally dont know if leaving due to a lack of semiars/gather etc. is really a good idea.
In terms on not telling a uni why you left you other ones- how are you going to explain what you have been doing. From my point of view, currently reading CVs to hire PG, I would question the gap- and it would rasie a red flag for me. On afew were they have left a programm they have given reason as to why. bare in mind someone will call your references before hiring you.

Your tone is extremely condescending and I'd appreciate it if you no longer replied to any of my threads. Thanks!

to quit or not to quit? And then what?

Quote From rewt:
Hi drwubs,

I don't want to generalise but even top universities don't always have great seminars and groups for all departments. Organising seminars is a time consuming job and some departments can drop seminar series because the organiser can't do it anymore. Also, getting PhD students to socialise really depends on the group of people and I don't think there is any way to guarantee it. I can completely understand you feeling frustrated by the complete lack of social interaction. The loneliness and lack of a support network can be brutal. Not having a support network of fellow PhD students is a rather compelling reason to quit. However, I do recommend to everyone don't leave until you have something else lined up, mainly for the income. I am not sure how you would transition straight into another PhD, it can happen. If you did apply for another PhD they will ask why you quit your current one and you will need to give a well-reasoned answer. You would also lose two years of progress and delay your graduation significantly.

Saying that, PhD students are complaining about the lack of interaction at my university as well (granted my university isn't great). So other universities might not be much better until after social distancing restrictions are lifted. If you want that social PhD experience you might have to wait until after COVID, or even take a suspension of studies at your current university until things are better. COVID has severely damaged everyone's PhD experience and by quitting or staying you are losing something. It might be better to just finish on time and move on from your PhD completely.

Reading your reply it really just seems like you didn't read what I was saying and sort of just repeated my own concerns. Could you please not respond to this thread any further? I'm hoping to find someone who's gone through a similar experience for some solid advice. Thank you!

to quit or not to quit? And then what?

I'm not worried about another institution asking why I quit my previous program because I just won't tell them I quit a program before this one.
Why would I?
You said not all universities have great seminars or groups for pgrs but this uni doesn't have any. Period. That's what seems really strange.
They don't even have anything like that for their masters students.

What does your general daily routine or timetable look like?

I'm in arts and humanities and I'd say 4 days out of the week my day looks like:
9-10 am wake up and have covfefe and breakfast, check emails
11-1 do a bit of reading followed by a bit of writing or just one of the two
then I spend 1-3 hours working on the practice based parts of my thesis/project
and that's it. The rest of my day I do household chores, run errands etc.
I honestly only spend 2-5 hours a day on my project 4 days a week on average.
Maybe once a week or once every other week I get into short sprints where I work
all day long on my project for 1-3 days in a row but then I slide back into working 2-5 hours a day.
My progress has been good and I get a surprising amount of work done.
I'd even say that 5 hours in a day is not typical. More like 2-3 hours and maybe one day out of the
week I spend 5 hours on it.
3 days out of the week I literally just play video games, read for pleasure, or go for hikes in the forest.
I'm weird tho, I can write 500 words with sources in an hour if I'm doing academic writing and I've been
scoffed at for saying this before as if I'm bragging when really I was trying to gauge whether that's good progress or not.

Lab phds all have a hustle culture and they all try to brag about 12 hour days and 80 hour weeks, but every one
of them I've known (and I've known a lot in various STEM fields) honestly confided to me at one point or another
that they only are productive for maybe 3-5 hours a day on average and the rest of those hours are unproductive, sometimes
as unproductive as literally falling asleep at their desks in front of their computers.

to quit or not to quit? And then what?

I'm pretty sure I'm 100% going to quit my phd program very soon.

My main reason for wanting to quit is:
My department has no community. There's no pgr seminars or anything to compel
phd students in the department to get together. I desperately tried to find a community
here but after 2 years and 1 year of a pandemic no luck at all.
At my old uni the pgrs and masters students had a few different seminars going on each month
in addition to regular concerts. Most of the pgr students also lived within the same city as the university and
even those that didn't made regular appearances on campus.

The same cannot be said of the pgrs at my current university.
I've been working remotely during this whole pandemic and literally the only
person from my university I've had contact with is my supervisor for our monthly
one hour long meetings over zoom.

There are other issues with my program that altogether make it unbearable without a community.

I've been looking at programs in other unis that specifically say and show evidence of having some form of
community for their pgrs like seminars, pgr groups etc. I just always assumed most departments had this, it seems pretty fundamental.
I want to make sure it's not a repeat of the same experience if I quit this program and apply to other ones.

I also have no idea what someone with my background does for a year in between quitting a phd and starting a new program? I don't know anyone else who's gone through grad school in the arts and humanities I can talk to for guidance on what to do. I have friends from my old uni but I have a feeling like they're struggling too.

The whole last 2 years have been severely disappointing and has really turned me off from my phd project. I used to love my project and was so eager to work on it and now just the thought of it makes me depressed. I'd much rather start a new project at a new university.

I don't know if I have a good reason to quit my program and try to find another one and I also don't know what a best next step career-wise would be if I do quit, aside from applying for other programs.

What methods do you use for taking notes?

I use Evernote. It's a free program and it syncs to the cloud so your notes are never lost. I worked as a project coordinator in industry and it's sort of the standard in most corporate American environments for project management alongside a whole slough of other tools.

Transfer to another university in Ireland

Thanks for your post!
I'm looking into transferring uni's for my PhD from the UK to Ireland,
but I'm pretty sure I'd have to start the program from scratch. Do you
know anything in regards to transferring from a UK uni to Ireland?

Not sure if I'm making progress

That's really cool! So you had the technical business idea while you were still in your PhD? Were there any skills you foresaw needing before graduating? I've been contemplating doing some entrepreneurial game dev as a possible career after my PhD because there are no jobs (sad facts of life). I'm thinking the freedom I have in my PhD is the ideal time to work on that as a side project. Do you have any experience with trying to take that approach? What advice would you give? I hope it all works out for you!

Are there days where you don't do any work at all?

I'm in the first 4 months of my PhD in Music and so far I think I've been fairly productive despite having a wet blanket for a supervisor. The relationship is improving but I have mixed feelings on it.
I've gotten a fair amount of writing and reading done but lately there are days where I do absolutely nothing productive.

I had imagined myself taking so much control of my time and being productive towards several different goals in regards to reading, writing, and developing new skills in my field.

I had envisioned my thesis as being a collection of published papers which I could edit into an academic book. However lately I've been assigned the task of doing a lit review instead. I'm wondering if I could just publish a couple papers this year and nix the lit review? The lit review just feels like a hundred little book reports and I'm honestly triggered by it (memories of middle school days).

Does anyone else have 2-3 days each week where they do nothing PhD related?
I'd say most days I put in 1-3 hours of reading, 1-2 hours of writing and then music specific stuff like composition or trying to wrap my head around some of the interdisciplinary parts (programming, math etc)

I'm thinking of tracking my time with some sort of online digital journal or something just to know where I stand as maybe that would help me get a perspective on just how productive I've been. I used to despise logging time in a database when I worked in industry but maybe it would be a benefit in my PhD?

I guess my biggest problem is that my days off don't always consist of Sat-Sun. Some weeks it's Tues and Fri or some other random combo and this throws me off too.

Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated!

Not sure if I'm making progress

Thanks for the insight on the lit review! I'm definitely going to try and reword or cite as much of it as I can. What is it you do now that you're out of academia, if I may ask?

Not sure if I'm making progress

I should add that I've also attended some basic training modules on researching/writing. My confirmation or upgrade exam is in roughly 9 months so I'm mildly worried.

Not sure if I'm making progress

So I'm struggling at the moment because I'm not sure if I'm making any progress
in my PhD. I'm 3 months in and so far:
I've written two different paper drafts, one is at 2600 words, the other is at 1600 words but needs some
major revisions.

I've also started writing my lit review which is at 1200 words so far and I have a basic outline written
to help me stay clear on where I need to fill in certain bits and so on and I'm sure it will be revised and expanded as I go along.

My PhD is in music so I've also got one new composition sketched out fully with a recording.

My lit review is a bit of a hot mess because I had basically made additions/revisions to my project proposal and got it published in a conference about 6-7 months before I officially started my PhD so I've been told by my supervisor that I can't use that paper in my thesis. The problem is that it's basically my project proposal
and also contains a good chunk of what I'd use for my thesis including a portion of the lit review.

My lit review so far is about three chapters at varying levels of progress. I know my supervisor fairly well at this point and know he's going to probably be quite negative about my progress on the lit review draft.

I've got 28 citations/references across the three papers and have probably read more like 40-50 papers/book chapters but I haven't gotten them fully cited and added to the writing yet. If I included the reading I did for my conference paper/project proposal I'd have another 50-60 I think (can't remember the exact number).

I've also been tracking my reading with notes and a reference manager. I use evernote and zotero.

Does this sound like adequate progress at 3 months?

Bewildered and confused by supervisor

Quote From pm133:
drwubs, I am not sure why you think I misunderstood what you were trying to say.

I have seen this type of situation so often that my advice in these cases almost writes itself.
My gut feeling from your original post was that you were presenting partly finished work and then asking for feedback. I then felt that you were poor at taking such feedback and that your response would be negative and defensive and that your supervisor would then behave the way they did. These were my thoughts on how this situation has occurred and that is precisely what I am seeing in your response (above) to my advice.
My advice then follows that analysis. I would now add that if you want to bounce ideas with your supervisor, you should not hand over partly complete paperwork for "review". Just chat about possible work.

I have no idea why you are talking about apportioning "blame". You are going to receive a lot of advice over the years. If you are going to be interpreting that advice through the prism of believing people are trying to "blame" you, you are going to have difficulty.

My advice stands as I described it in my first response. If you persist with your current approach you are going to cause yourself serious but entirely avoidable problems. As ever, you are perfectly within your rights to accept it or dismiss it. Good luck either way.

pm133 The purpose of having a supervisor is to review and provide feedback on works in progress. For example https://www.findaphd.com/advice/doing/phd-supervisor-expectations.aspx I think it is very widely understood already. If they are not there to provide feedback then there's not even any point in sharing finished work with them either. What would they possibly have to add to something that's already completely finished and ready to send off to a publication? If that's the case then it completely negates the need for doing the PhD in the first place. Your reply is an obfuscation of the reality of what a supervisor's purpose is. Your tone, at least as I'm perceiving it, seems to indicate you're assuming some sort of "hard knocks" approach, which if that is the case then you're definitely barking up the wrong tree.

Bewildered and confused by supervisor

For rewt and pm133. I think you misunderstand what I was trying to say. I presented a paper I had started working on to my supervisor looking for feedback such as "do you think these are good questions to begin with?" (too broad or should I narrow it a bit) and I also had a small project/experiment in mind I wanted to run by them for advice as to whether they thought it would be too much of a time investment or if they thought it might be useful. This is looking for their advice as in maybe they would have an idea from experience whether this would be worthwhile or not. I was NOT asking them to do my work for me. If you can't ask these sorts of questions or converse with your supervisor about your ideas then what are they even there for? It sounds like if that's the case then there's really nothing to discuss during supervisor meetings, it's more like just a process for documenting that I'm not screwing around, which seems pretty plebian. Why have a supervisor at all in that case and why do a PhD at all if it would be no different than doing the work on my own outside of academia? Isn't the point of it (besides the piece of paper, the value of which is very debatable nowaday) to have the guidance of a mentor along the way?
I would think that if I were supervising a student and they presented that much motivation and had started working already I would be encouraging and use it as an opportunity to ask them questions about their ideas and try to offer some insight from experience, not just "I don't want you working on anything right now" but then later say "Don't come to me unless you've been working on something, but not a paper". I also find it odd that they basically said "Don't focus on making the outcome a system you've come up with" ... that was the entirety of my proposal to begin with... like what gives?

EDIT: Also, I don't really see how I can help you figure out what's going on with my situation as I didn't transcribe the entire conversation word for word. If that's what you need to offer any helpful advice then I get the distinct impression that you're manipulating what I've shared to shift the blame for the outcome of the discussion entirely onto me. I act and behave in a manner that is respectful and gives people the benefit of the doubt. I do my best to be very clear in my communication with people and so I find the argument that I am somehow entirely responsible for other people's actions very flimsy.