Exiting after third year Progression Review


Hi. Next month, I have my third year progression review. At the back of my mind, I'm conscious that that is essentially the point of no return.

I'm doing a Humanities PhD, which was pretty badly affected by COVID- I had data collection trips cancelled. I was really fortunate to be granted a funding extension of 6 months. However, thoughts keep coming to my mind about quitting while I can and moving on with my life.

I'm in an okay position I suppose; I have two out of six of my chapters written. However, writing these chapters has been a real struggle and has taken me nearly three years to get to this point, which makes me feel really behind schedule.The length and difficulty that I've had with them makes me think that there's very little chance that I could be finished within a year, which would mean racking up debt by going on nominal registration.

I think generally too, I'm struggling with motivation. I love my subject, don't get me wrong but I don't really enjoy the writing process. I have no real desire to stay in academia either, which doesn't help spur me to get over the finish line. In fact, I almost regret starting a PhD, as lucky as I realise that I am to have had funding.

So I guess my question is, is this my last chance to get out and should I take it? Objectively, if I were in anyone else's shoes, I would probably say to myself, 'Hang tight, you've only got one year left!' but it just doesn't feel like the end is within sight yet.


Sorry to hear about your situation. If you were in second year, I might have said quit. Now it might be a bit late to do it. What is the worst case scenario after one year? No PhD? why do you want to jump to the worst case scenario right away?
Writing two chapters is not something small. People get PhD not only because they want to stay in academia. I am out of academia and not happy about my incomplete PhD. I would quote you "hang tight, you have one year left". If it is more than one year, it will not be that long.


Hi there,

I think you are very lucky to have been awarded the funded 6-month extension. You should take full advantage of this there are a lot of people who have been delayed and haven't been granted an extension (like me).
You have two chapters already written which is a huge amount, have faith in yourself that you can finish. Maybe even receiving feedback on your progress review might help with your motivation they will let you know if you are falling behind on the workload.
I honestly don't think many people like the writing part, especially if you are practical-minded it can be really hard.
But even if you just try and dedicate two hours a day with no distraction and do nothing but write, it doesn't even have to make much sense just write, and eventually, it will become somewhat of a habit and hopefully someday a thesis.
I am trying this method out myself at the moment, I got to know of it from a really good motivational speaker called Hugh Kearns.
I am not going to lie it's really hard and sometimes I don't even use 90% of what I write but it's a start!

Best of luck!


Highopes above has some really good point, especially regarding the writing process. I find it really helped.
First of all, I've never met anyone who enjoy the writing process. I went through a similar time thinking I wasn't finishing on time, but it worked out to my surprise.
Secondly, the usual practice I've seen is to take MPhil if getting out at 3rd year, which doesn't exactly spare you the writing process. If you don't take MPhil, thinking about the explanation you need to have in front of job interviewers.
Third, communicate with your supervisor or reviewers. Maybe their view on your progress (even publishing opportunities) will reassure you that you will finish on time with good result.
If you still have doubts, maybe try not to force yourself decide at 3rd year review. The pressure of time and review itself may cloud your judgement. Even after the review, if you can't finish, you can't. Life has its magical way of working out. If you have a positive 3rd year review, take some time off and then rethink your preference.

Good luck to you.