sheesh, its in the air! I read a few of the thread titles, and its all about quitting! Its the post Easter break blahs, when you have had a chance to relax? Its the having to be inside during warm sunny spells? But don't quit. I know that PhDs all have their ups and downs...but its worth hanging in and trying...
Which is not to say that circumstances do not eventually mean that leaving is the right thing to do and no shame in that, but I think its just part of the whole insanity of this that there are times you want to quit. The healthy reaction to a strange situation to be in, as my own supervisor says, a PhD is a very "unnatural" thing to ask your brain and body to do!! So who doesn't want to flee from time to time!!!
And there are good days and bad days, right now I am web surfing looking at demotivational posters! Because I don't want to work on whats in front of me like ten trillion things to do...so I am trying to further demovitate myself I guess?:$:$
Hang in everyone!
Surprised I still have the third highest posting total!!!!!oO
Many thanks for your post. I have to say that I can totally releate to what your saying.
I only have 5 months of offical time left (which is scary enough as it is!) and I'm ALWAYS having days where I want to quit. Especially when I'm having to deal with insensitive members of staff who like to put me down 'as I'm ONLY a student' :( Reading peoples experiences and listening to peoples stories about people failing their PhDs is also something else which is quite worrying!!
I'm just trying to take each day as it comes and working towards my set targets. Seems to be working- especially the count down I have on my white board about how many months I have left until September! eeeeek.
Just wanted to say hi Olivia! I was wondering if you were still around. your advice is very sensible... hope your research/write-up is going well.
I was due to hand-in by September but now working towards submission in June (...the way it often seems to go I s'pose!)
Were we seperated at birth? In an exactly identical situation!!!
Really disillusioned y'day and was really tempted to get ballistically plastered, but a clear head today and while still in the fire, decided to turn it around, even at this late stage! Could have spent today moaning and face-booking/youtubing but just sat down, wrote up a plan to get a pivotal paper (my first - yikes!!!!) out the gap. I always thought I needed my supervisors approval but you know what ... its our work and if we have to pi$$ off a few people, so what! They are paid enough and its not as if half of them give a toss!
Had a meeting yesterday and after the supervisor said "what would you do if you had to quit?" I bluntly told him "There is f**k all out there!". We are like Vikings who have burnt the ships on the shore ... so I think its about time that we fought like people with nothing to lose. Sorry for the analogy and rant, but really feel like getting a battle axe at times :-s That said, started looking up some alternatives ... always good to have the escape raft.
One question that always perplexes me though ... when (which we will) get our PhD's, will we turn into those supervisors from hell??? Is there a specific course for that or is it just a case that the academic world weeds out the conscientious people who basically forgot that we are basically on subsistence wages and not here for the fun of it!
Keep in there people!
If you are completing your PhD without any hassles, fair dues - you have our jealous respect :p
Forget about PhD's and their ilk for a few days and enjoy the weekend. If not and stuck in the lab/office, listen to some Russian Circles or Steve von Till on Jango.com ... music is really one of the ways that I use to remind me of that its not all about papers and chapters \m/
We really should set up a music or interests forum ... surely something which promotes how we all remain someway positive would be beneficial. From Squirrell Baiting to New Shoe Acquistions ... it all counts!
There's the consensus on here that you should stick at it no matter what, there are tough times and good times etc. But I have to counter this. If you're really not enjoying it and see no benefit, what is the point. If money is absolutely critical then you could maybe keep going but that, IMO, is a poor reason to keep on doing a PhD. Sometimes exiting a PhD is the right choice - it happens all the time and could actually be the turning point in somebody's life. To stay an academic slave (unless you love academia..) or leave and do what makes you really happy. Personally, I feel I've done more character building in the days leading to my quitting than I have done in the last year and a half. I now know to be brutally honest with myself and others, accept when things just aren't right and take control in order to shape my destiny in a way that will mean I live a more fruitful life, personally, for me.
I don't say these things to anger - I simply think we need more of a counter-argument. A lot of people might read this forum and think 'hell, I should really stay on' when it might be completely the wrong decision for me. Thankfully, I got a few PMs from people who have gone through the same thing as me and decided to quit and those resonated with me in such a way that I knew my decision was correct, 100%. And thank heavens, now I am looking into alternative careers which will make me much happier than reading dry research papers and becoming a soul-less, social recluse, which is where I think I was headed.
So I say... Think it through and make the right decision for you.
======= Date Modified 07 May 2009 16:47:11 =======
I meant no offence when referring to 'academic slave'... from my point of view, most academics seem tied to the job, unable to break free even if they want to. Some I know have been absolute dogs bodies in their RA work, really miserable but keep going because they see no alternative. Lastly, this refers to the multitude of PhD students I witness who seem like shells of what they were before they started their programmes. By slave I meant somebody that stays in academia even if they don't really want to, as they feel forced to, or that there's no other way out.
Of course academia suits a lot of people and fair enough! I know a lot of people who love it and that's great for them!
Guitarman, I dont see how this story is dissimilar to other fields of work. Corporate life has battered, beaten and even bruised souls and those who thrive in it. Any organisation, field, area has stories of such sort. PhD life is necessarily tedious, the pressures are different from other stressful occupations, but 'slaves' of the system exist in any system! I don't see how this is specific of academia. As far as pay goes, well yes, there are tomorrow's intellectuals who need to earn their money by cleaning the biblipgrahies of today's intellectuals, but that's how it is! People balance the good and the bad and get something out of it, and change their course of life if that's not what they want.
The slavery dimension is differentially conspicuous in different fields, but doubtless, what you call slaves (disgruntled, overworked tied-to-the-system people exist everywhere) and sometimes 'slaves' and 'we-love-it's exist in the same person..
I cannot imagine telling anyone whether they should or shouldn't quit. PhD is such a personal thing. It is about you, your time, your level of commitment, your circumstances, your skills, you strengths and weaknesses etc. I agree with those who say that there are ups (been there) and downs (still a wee bit there) during the whole process. Very often there are more downs than ups! There are so many causes why quitting becomes a serious option: lack of support from supervisors, too many commitments such as work or family, overloading etc. It is only up to an individual to decide whether those obstacles/problems could be solved. I speak from my own experience and few other PhDs that I know. It is the deep interest and passion for the topic that takes you through all those bad stages. It is what makes you happy to do the be PhD even if you get frustrated, angry along the way. Only the person who thinks about quitting can assess those things and take final decision. I can help someone to assess those things, see different options, etc. but I would never said 'don't quit' or 'do quit', because in both cases, I might be taking (unintentionally) the responsibility for someone else's unhappiness.
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