Doing a PhD is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be


Looking forward to my 'life training'.

I like to say PhDs are like babies, they don't came with a manual with a trouble shooting section


Hang in there. PhD has been my toughest undertaking as yet. I have experienced traumatic events, I have been hurt, I have been through certain experiences but the difference with the PhD is that it requires sustained and persistent dedication, effort and love. You need to love what you're doing. What keeps me going is the end result. But once I am done, and this is a promise I made to myself, I am going to take time off to make up for the lost time with friends and family.


What I was trying to say is that for me personally, being older than most students, I have found my other life experiences give me a little distance and a lot more focus. I dropped out of a PhD in my 20s and at that time I was much more easily overwhelmed and disheartened - and also had rather poor 'working' habits.

I also don't think you have to love what you do - at least not all the time. I certainly don't love it right now. I just want to get it finished. I think people can worry too much about whether they are enjoying the process rather than just getting on with it. Of course you must enjoy some of it some of the time (or what's the point?) - but not all of it all of the time.


Smilodon. I am very interested to hear your story. I am now 24years old. I dropped out of my PhD last december. Is the PhD you are doing now much different from what you did last time?

I think in my case if I had worked in industry for a few years before doing my PhD I would have been a lot more focused, organised and better able to handle office politics and the general bitching which consumed my project( as well as my rather underhanded supervisor).

It also would of helped if I had chosen a topic I enjoyed and knew something about before. But these are the lessons I have learned the hard way

I would love to do a PhD in the future but most likely part time and as part of my job and as long as I get a supervisor I can trust and a topic I love.


This topic is a sideways/diagonal move - from lab-based molecular biology to psycholgy/genetics/evolutionary biology.

I was not really interested in my first PhD project - I was just so happy to be offered it that I had to take it. I had no idea about sustained effort bladiblah. My supervisors were very nice but too hands off and didn't say anything at all about my diabolical behaviour until the end of my first year.

I've had some tough jobs since then and I've learned that it's OK and normal to have to work hard if you really want something and that you can crash & burn but then recover. I really didn't think I would ride this horse again............. but I just really badly wanted to do something more interesting.

I've met quite a few 2nd timers over the years so it's worth keeping in mind if you're still interested.


LostinOz, we seem to have things in common. I am coming to the conclusion that doing a PhD is much harder than I ever imagined and I don't know if I can or want to carry on. I am so tired all the time and whatever I do is not good enough. But I'm beginning to wonder whether the fact that I feel I am behind is due to my previous supervisor not helping me enough during my first year so it is only now that I am having to work so hard to catch up. I know I should not blame others but we discussed poor supervisors in a previous thread and I do think that is something to do with it. What annoys me now is she sits on my panel and criticises me and is so negative. Today she complained that I hadn't included certain authors in my lit review. She is an expert on this particular area so I said I would appreciate it if she would point me in the right direction for their work. But she said I was not an undergraduate and so I should find out myself.