Dear forum users,
I'd be very thankful if you share an opinion or a similar experience.
I'm in the 4th year of my PhD in engineering northwest Europe (I'm not European, came here for PhD). I've never expected this to be easy. When I started, I was very motivated and showed a quite good academic records during my Master's (published 5 journals). Since my beginning here, I've been shocked to receive no guidance, and have pressure put on me to build a huge and complex experimental setup from scratch. Two senior PhDs entitled to supervise me just ignored me and officially said that they don't want to help. I thought this is normal because nobody helps no one here and people don't like it when you ask questions. Everybody seemed to be OK with what they are doing, and publishing a lot of papers. I don't even mention the racism. The topics were new to me and I tried so hard to prove myself by reading, working hard non-stop for years. And eventually I could achieve nothing and got probation for a last chance. I finished up some side-project which is very loosely connected to my PhD and save up my a**. But under pressure of building a setup by myself I made some quick faulty engineering decisions for which I'm paying the price for, in my work and private life.
The goddamn machine is not working, I dunno why. I hate it so much. I don't have any interest anymore. I hate this place and horrible people. They are robots. I'm stuck in another country with this commitment surrounded with a feeling of shame and failure. I'm trying to find solutions, asking around. Nobody knows anything about my work and cannot help anymore. Its engineering, there are a lot of details. Hoping for a miracle. I want to burn whole faculty, or run away to Antarctica, or worse. Anyone has similar experience of failure or pre-failure?
Thank you and peace
You said that you "receive no guidance, and have pressure put on you to build a huge and complex experimental setup from scratch. Two senior PhDs entitled to supervise you just ignored you and officially said that they don't want to help." No offence, but you need to take major action if you want to cross the finishing line.
1) Get another co-supervisor. Identify a senior and experienced researcher with the expertise to help you. This person may know the machine or may be able to sit down with you to listen to your PhD plans, to see if you are going down the right route. No point working hard on the wrong things. Amongst the 3 actions I listed here, this is by far the most important. You may worry about rocking the boat and angering your supervisor. However, what point is a good relationship with your supervisor if you fail your phd.
2) Get counselling. Speak to someone who is able to listen to you vent. You need to get it out of your system. Or you will break down.
3) Contact machine manufacturer/ application specialist. Can you get help from the manufacturer/ application specialist to get the machine to work? They are normally very helpful. For all you know, you may need to change a part of the machine which has broken down. Or maybe the settings were incorrect.
You may feel that you don't dare to deal with such stuff, especially no. 1. However, if you do nothing, your status will not change, and indeed you may fail your PhD as you posted on your title. By the sounds of it, you really have nothing to lose if you take actions.
I wish you courage and all the best.
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