Help needed, am stuck in a deep cavern


I apologise for the rambles now

I have spent most of the last two days contemplating what to do next

I am mid 2nd year, though have just come back yesterday from 10 weeks sick leave and suspended for those 10 weeks so am due to transfer december

However I am thinking I am doing the wrong thing, its not just one thing its a few - I hate commuting (an hour each way), I am beginning to hate my project, I am not getting on with my supervisor, I think I am depressed again (or still, was on antidepressants this time last year), I am thinking that organic chemistry isnt for me

I have spoken to my research administrator and the head of research today and we have gone over my options

1) see if I have enough results / data for a MPhil (or at least within a few months)

2) see if there is a different project available in the department

3)withdraw completely and get a job



Changing project wouldn't help with the commute and possibly not liking the subject but supervisor relations are important. Finishing an MPhil might give you some kind of accomplishment/qualification rather than just giving up as you have invested 2 years of your time.
I hope you feel better soon.


Stick with it. I'm not saying it isn't shit I just think that it's worth the sacrifice. In two years it will all be over but you will have completed it forever.


I realised as soon as I typed 2 that it wouldnt help with commute but we are due to move nearer (20 - 30 min commute on a much easier road) this summer assuming OH passes his probabtion in his job so that shouldnt be an issue

Actually I think the commute is the least of my worries and the actual project is the biggest

the department is quite vast and there is quite a bit of scope to change to something I would find more preferable I think


Hmmm, difficult one. I've actually known quite a few friends who've been through this & what to do is a really personal thing. I think most PhD students go through these TERRIBLE lows - I for one nearly quit my PhD in my first year. I think it's down to a few things (i) how long have you been unhappy? - if it's a long time, it's not worth it (one friend quit after 1 year of misery, another after 2 years of misery); (ii) do you love what you do, and I mean fundamentally are you interested in the questions your answering? That's what got me through - I love my subject, so I stayed on by changing priorities but always because I really do love trying to answer my PhD questions. If not, then it might be worth changing your topic... or thinking whether you can hack it for long enough to finish... or write up as an MPhil (or so bad to just quit).


(iii) how bad is your supervisor? I had a friend whose supervisor drove her so mad she had a nervous breakdown. She came back later with a change of supervisor, which made a huge difference. In the end she quit because she realised it wasn't her thing, and has never looked back or regretted the decision. So what I'd do is just re-evaluate - whatever you decide you need to take action of some sort - if you genuinely love research & your topic, keep at it - maybe change supervisors. If you really don't like research, or your topic - don't put yourself through misery - quit. If you can, write it up as an MPhil - at least then you don't have a 2 year gap in your cv to explain. My one friend who quit after a year, wrote it as an MSc and now is training to be a vet. In the end nothing is worth unlimited unhappiness. Put yourself first


p.s. deep cavern - though I know exactly what you mean - I call them my dark clouds... big dark looming clouds... I get them a lot during write up. Luckily sun shines between the clouds, and there's a sunshine party at the end


BTW I was miserable in my 1-2 year as had no results and hung in thinkning it would get better if I got some results. It hasn't but I decided by my 2nd-3rd year I should stick it out as I was so far in. I get very low and my supervisor (and advisors) make me
I suppose it is just a balance between being miserable like most PhDs, or miserable enough to give up.


The question is- do you still want your PhD when you are not having this type 'lows'? If yes, stick to it, better times will definitely come. I am in my 3rd year and have spent at least 80% of my time feeling bad about my project and wanting to quit but eventually have made work done. But if you feel like quitting even when you have 'ups', i.e. you feel relatively interested in your project and if you never ever like what you are doing - then quit.


Hi Claret707,

I think Verdy hit the nail on the head; Are the feelings of feeling low a result of the PdD or are you feeling low in general. Getting a job, which as I understand from the forum is not always easy, yet if you would still feel low, you would not have gained a lot. I could be something like like burn out?


I'm in my 4th year. and I've always hoped that I had quitted years ago, but I didn't. I hope I can finally make it. But if I was British ( i think British people have more opportunities than non-british students), I would have quitted years ago, and got training on other areas and tried sth completely different.