I'm just really fed up...


Oh well, I'm probably going to cement a reputation on this forum as a moaner - I'm really not though (I've got a stupid sense of humour and I like to laugh and joke). I'm just really fed up with it all, the PhD, and I want to just give it up. I'm miserable and it just makes me feel trapped. I've got teaching tomorrow and then teaching on Monday, a paper to submit, people to recruit for data collection (which is proving really difficult) and 7 months or so of funding left. I'm fxxked. It's not like I haven't tried. I've conducted a descriptive phenomenological study involving 20 subjects and 2 focus groups. I've conducted a statistical study involving 30 subjects. And now I need more subjects, and then more and then more. It just makes me really upset, because it's like being a sales agent trying to get them involved - and then I'm struggling with the paper. I'm not enjoying it and I have no motivation at the moment. I do want the PhD and it must sound hypocritical because of some of the advice I've given before. But (and thank god this site is anonymous because it sounds embarrassing) I'm lonely, feel withdrawn and I have no life because of this - and it just isn't me.
I can't leave now though - I'm too far in and stand to lose too much. But I can't carry on and on like this.
I'm going to have to go through hell (melodramatic, I know, and we all have to do it) for 7 months and I'm just not looking forward to it. I've got a cognitive study to do and then a series of validation studies. I'm not lazy, at all, and I feel like I've worked non-stop - I just can't keep up. I'm just tired and spend too long in bed because I dread facing the day of late. There's no answers to this, most likely, but any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.:-(

Avatar for Eska

Hey Wally (I hope you don't mind me caling you tha, I just started doing it because the name's so long!), I'm so sorry to hear you are down. I think you are right though, you've invested too much to drop everything now; but I also know what you mean about isolation and missing contact with other people. I just took a week of normality and spent time with my friends, rather than PhD work. This forum is great for getting a feeling of commaraderie, but we're not real people in the way that flesh and blood firends etc are. I reckon you should cut loose for a bit and spend time with friends if possible, just to make your time more bearable. I know you are funny and fun; having made me laugh on several occasions, your stupid sense of humour makes the forum a much better cyberspace. I hope you finish, and I hope you succeed in life, you seem like a very bright, funny and insightful person. Maybe this is just one of those tough patches on the ways to success. I know many academics who seem to have managed to build up happy lives, I'm sure you could be one of them. And as the old showbiz saying goes: 'never work with animals, children or phenomenological subjects' they're the worst!


Sorry to hear you are feeling fed up. I do hope things get better, and I am sure they will. I think that feeling goes along with the PhD. Speaking only for myself, I felt more fed up the closer I got to the end. I think it does get more stressful, and its less fun than the early parts. I had more than a few times in tears at the computer screen just wondering why I was putting myself through it. I could have happily quit at any moment of any day--I used to say it was like the Doomsday Clock that is set to five minutes to midnight, that the world is five minutes from a nuclear holocaust, well ( not to make light of nuclear dangers or wars or whatever, hope this does not offend anyone, I don't mean to disrespect the seriousness of all that) I used to say I was always about five minutes away at any given moment from quitting it all and walking away. I won't post it here coz it has profanity, but there is a poster of a penguin going home...if you Google penguin going home in Google Images you will find him ( dont google it if you are bothered by a profane expression) and I used to feel just like the poor little penguin looks!

Break your work day into chunks of 2 hours or so, even if its long days. Take breaks. Reward yourself for what you get done in the day by having a treat, even if its just a walk away from teh desk for a few minutes. Eat chocolate. Eat crisps. Whatever works. Do you have a friend or family member who you can just vent to, who will just listen? That was a huge help to me, someone who would let me rant and then say Yeah, but its all going to be fine. I just needed to hear those words. Can you take a day away and rest? Do you take at least one day off a week? Even if you feel like you can't, DO! You need it.

Find something that makes you laugh. Laughter cuts stress right down. Read PhD comics. Find something else to make you life.

If I was desperate for a short break, I would do a silly test at www.blogthings.com.
Short, amusing, not hard thinking.

Some days I watched Youtube clips of bugs bunny or sesame street to make me laugh...silly..but it makes the stress go way way down.

Hang in there.

You WILL get through it. It WILL be OK.


Hey Walminski

You're in luck as today is one of my good days, so I can help prop you up and give you a push! Simultaneously! No, then you'd fall over....anyhoo...

You don't come across as a misery guts - quite the opposite and we all know how fun you are. You're allowed to have bad days.

Can you get an extension to your funding? Have you discussed this with your sup? Can they find some more money for you?

I understand about having to solicit more subjects - I've had to do the same. Not as many as you, just a few, and yep, cold calling is the worst. Awful. Break it up over days, reward yourself at the end. Think about how robust your methodology will be!

I know about loneliness and isolation, having posted several depressive threads here myself. Yes, it is absolutely horrible. I also have 7 mths to go, and can't wait till it's done. I remind myself tho, that I am lucky to be able to sit here and think and write about something I love (or used to!). But the isolation certainly does wear us down. Whenever I feel really bad, I make sure I go out with some friends and let my hair down, have a few beers and a few laughs. I know you don't mind a drink - go and get p***d with some friends!

Make sure you get out of bed everyday! Yes, break your work into chunks - 2 hours is way too long for me - lately I've been doing 25 minutes, then a 5 minute break. Use this: http://mytomatoes.com/ - it's a 25 minute timer, and it's easier working when you can count down from 25 minutes. It also lets the user list what they've done, so we can see the list of what we've done growing. Knowing that I'm making progress helps. And every 25 mins I get up, get a drink, pat the dog or stretch. It's made me much more productive.

Finally, I also think it's the time of the year. Me and lots of people I know just get really tired towards the end of the year, all that work, time for a break. Schedule a holiday for yourself.

You'll get there. You will. Have a whinge, some fun, a break, and then get back into it again.

Avatar for sneaks

Hey Wal,

Sad to hear your woes :-( you are always the one that brightens up the forum and supports everyone with your amazing advice and resourceful file sharing!

My advice would be take today off - completely off, put the out of office on and go and play in the park, go xmas shopping, watch dvds whatever. I think we all begin to feel like this at this time of the year, because its nearly xmas, but not quite and there is still so much to do, but you are not quite that bothered, which makes you feel like rubbish.

I have had the worst trouble with sampling - I defy you to have worse problems! I have got to the point now where if someone says they are interested in taking part I just think "its nice, but I know they will drop out, so who cares" . But you will get the sample you need so do not stress! it might just take a little longer.

I think most importantly, although the tips below are good, take breaks AWAY from the computer. going on to quiz sites is ok, but its still working your brain and your already drained computer eyes. Do like I do and play 'wall of death' with my dog!

If all else fails - how about a secret affair with someone at your uni?? - it would liven things up a bit


Hi Walminskipeasucker

I so know what you mean - I am also in for this for another 6 months or so and it is just not fun anymore. Not even rewarding (at this stage). I just read some reviewer's comments on a paper I had submitted, and whilst I know that the difficult to address comments are not the end of the world, I feel so low and soooo fed up with this paper/study. I came onto the forum to look for the motivational thread that you had started(?!!) and Teek had put it well:

"If you are going through hell, best keep going".

So, this is how I have to see it all now, best keep going. I am also tired, my relationship is suffering because of the mounting stress, it is all shite really, but we must keep going.

Come on Walminskipeasucker, WE CAN DO IT!:-)


Hey Wal, sounds like you need a break to re-charge your batteries. I'm only in second year so not at the same traumatic writing-up stage as you yet, but at times I just have to have a change of scene and have some fun for a few days and then come back to things- often is doesn't take that much to get me back on track, just some time out somewhere else and with people who can make me laugh. I know it's hard to take even just a little bit of time out but it will probably benefit you in the end. You are so far in and it sounds like you have dome so much stuff, you are most of the way there! I am working with people with Alzheimer's, so recruitment is also extremely difficult for me, it is just an ongoing, painfully slow battle...I also hate doing the sales pitch, it is my most disliked part of my project by a mile, but i guess it's just an unavoidable part of research unfortunately. Do you take time off at the weekend or do you just work? You should plan something fun to do this weekend...see friends or family, go see a film, go for a nice meal, have a day out, anything for a bit of escapism! I am going back to my parents' this weekend to catch up with people and do a bit of xmas shopping because i really just need to get away from my PhD for a couple of days and have something to take my mind off it! Then hopefully I will return on Monday feeling refreshed and full of life! Well, let's hope so! Best wishes, KB.

Avatar for sneaks

Wal - do you have friends doing the same PhD area as you? or people in your department that you can relate to?

I know my biggest issue is that before me there was a whole group of cliquey phd students, but they are now 4 years ahead of me, so they load me with patronising advice, but finding someone who is in the same boat as me is very difficult and I always just end up feeling inferior and not worthy to the group of 'successful young female academics' ahead of me. They are lovely, just a little patronising and condescending.


mmm I don't really have any better advice than what has already been given to ya here wally...I do feel very bad for you though, you're usually the life and soul of the PhD forum! I'm just a few months into my final year and haven't hit despair yet although I think I'm channelling all my fear and pissed-off-ness (I just made up a word...) into simple denial about any of the work I have to do... Just keep thinking, you are nearly there, you've enjoyed it at some stage so you do want to be here, it's just that the fun part is temporarily buried under a whole pile of crud...like when you're trying to tuck eagerly into the first tin of roses of the christmas season, but you just have to fight your way through the stupid sellotape around the edges first before you can get the joy inside ;-)

and you should totally take a break and watch some dvds. i love finding nemo, Dory is so wise...just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...


Hi Walminski,

sorry to hear regarding your gripes. As several other posters have mentioned you normally seem to be lateral thinker who shares good ideas on this forum. Obviously that does not mean that one cannot feel low oneself.

Sometimes it is useful to have a little bit of distance towards what you are doing, that is the PhD saga. It may help if you "just" try to let go, try and accept that the situation is how it is and "just" to plot on. A bit like seeing it as a day in the office, work the hours and once these are completed "go home" and relax. Try not to focus too much on achievement, keep on going in small steps, tick the box that you have done it and continue, finish the day etc. It is a bit like judo, just fall with the issues and problems, do not fight them.
Usually with time the tables turn and you can manage everything again. Do not give up, as mentioned you can do it!:-)


======= Date Modified 27 Nov 2009 14:07:53 =======
Hi Walminski,

sorry, one way or another two replies instead of one.


Dearest Walminski,
Please don't be sad,
You're the craziest star-chaser we've ever had
Your PhD sounds tres complex,
But we've got an office gerbil - imagine the stress!
Just keep going, a bit at a time
Can you tell that I'm struggling to rhyme?
Take a break and drink some tea,
Focus on being "Dr Walminski"
Cheer yourself up - it's nearly Christmas
Think of the food, so very delicious!
I'm sorry I have no useful advice
But hopefully you'll think my poem is nice.
So fill up your kettle, look out your mug,
You'll be OK - peace out, big hug.


Quote From caz:

So fill up your kettle, look out your mug,
You'll be OK - peace out, big hug.

'Tis a nice poem, funny and bright
Not a better rhyme, can be in sight.
Wally will cope, you need some time,
That, and a little, or two of a rhyme.
We look to you for laughs and smiles
May you feel good, and run many miles.
4 star Wally you glorific 'un,
The rain will go away, you'll rise with the sun!


Avatar for sneaks

**Sneaks crawls away feeling inadequate at her lack of rhyming skills *** :$


I second Sue's suggestion for the mytomatoes.com thing. It helps organise and structure the day and then one is left with a list of things that have been achieved :)

I would take this weekend completely off. And then spend the next two weeks before Christmas doing small yet achievable things. Take Christmas off between say the 23rd or 24th and the 2nd or 3rd of Jan, and then you might find you can start the new year in a better frame of mind. 2 weeks off work in the grand scheme of things won't hurt a 7 months deadline.