I am currently struggling to see a way forward with my PhD and seriously thinking of quitting. As background, I am a part-time Student (Self Funded) and working fulltime. I started the PhD in March 2017.
Year 1 & 2 - Mar-17 to Mar19. All research went well and following the initial research plan.
Year 3 March 19 - Mar 20. My supervisor switched the direction of my research and looking back at my notes and progress, nothing has been done
Temp withdraw Mar20 to Sept20 - suspended study due to Covid
Sept20 to Now - absolutely no progress being made
I have effectively wasted 18 months of time on producing nothing valuable and have made no progress in 18 months. I have previously raised this with my supervisor, but he is not concerned. I need to change the direction of my research if not I feel I just need to quit.
I have a progress report due and have nothing to document.
Hello, if you search my profile you'll find my PhD journey story. I was full time and had 1 year of absolutely no progress, it may be useful for you to read - even if it just makes you feel normal.
The middle stage of a PhD is the hardest, that initial excitement of finding your own stuff is gone and you find yourself with imposter syndrome (I'm not good enough to be here) and a bit lost (I'm not a 'student' student, but I'm not staff). It's a really tough hurdle to get over and taking time away can feel like an uphill struggle to start up again.
Try reading through your earlier work then come up with some bullet points of what you would like to achieve. Speak with your supervisor and come up with a series of realistic, tiny goals. I.e. 'to have corrected grammar in X by X' or 'to have bullet points of future works by Y'.
If you know your end goal, you can do a GANNT chart working backwards from your end point, even if it's vague.
If you want to quit, do so because it's not right for you, but not because you don't know what to do. You have supervisors who can help you. Be aware of exhaustion, I was funded but had to work and it really can drain you mentally.
Em89 and PhoenixFortune have given some really good advice. Though I would add that you can probably blame covid for all your slow progress as long as you show that you have a clear plan forward.
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