I've just started my PhD about 4 weeks ago and I am really struggling with it.
I am doing a lot of reading and my supervisor is very keen on getting me going in the lab, however I have literally no idea what I'm doing.
I keep reading about all of these people who quit their PhD who originally enjoyed it but then quit because they thought it wasn't for them. I'm in the situation where I don't know why I started and I'm doing a project in something I know nothing about, I have no ideas about and I have no passion for. I love science and chemistry but I feel like I've made a bad decision going into something academic?
I was wondering if anyone had any experience of this or advice.
The early stages of a PhD can feel very strange and it's not uncommon to question whether you've made a mistake - I know I didn't feel great about mine for the first semester. You may want to give it a bit more time to find your feet and work out whether you're just experiencing initial doubts or whether it's not going to be for you. Having a lack of passion for your topic will make things very difficult in the long term for a PhD, as you need to be able to stick with your topic even when things aren't going according to plan. Again, are you sure you have no passion or ideas? I would be very surprised if you had been offered a PhD place on this basis! Good luck whatever you decide, but my instinct would be to give it a bit longer before making any decisions.
I totally agree that I need to give it longer. I am stubborn as hell so I know I wont give up easily and I got on the course so clearly I can't be terrible however I am still freaking out a bit.
I keep avoiding going to the office. I have pulled two sickies this week alone so I don't have to go in. I am supposed to be planning an experiment with a postdoc but I'm avoiding her like the plague for literally no apparent reason. I had a panic attack the other day because I'm pathetic.
I think the further I'm getting into this PhD I am realising that the project isn't what I thought it'd be and I don't particularly want to do it. For example, I had a meeting with my supervisor earlier and throughout the whole thing I was just thinking about how I didn't want to be there.
I think it's clear that I'm not managing the stress etc very well and I'm aware that there is clearly some underlying anxiety issue going on that I need help with but I really am struggling and I am fearful that I've made the wrong choice and keeping going will only make it worse.
Thanks guys. You're talking a lot of sense. I am stubborn and do feel like quitting would be failing but again my rational side is shouting if it's breaking you this early maybe it's not for you?
I'm currently attempting to sign up to the university counselling service to help with the anxiety stuff and just have someone to talk to about my situation.
It's hard when you assumed this was the right way to go and it's totally not what you thought it'd be. I can't really think of the reasons I started so I'm definitely going to seek advice.
Science is one of such activities, to which you have to force yourself. As the French say, appetite comes with eating. We believe that these years are set aside for your education. You can read what you want to read, write what you want to write, and the text of dissertation is just another form of academic accountability.
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