======= Date Modified 28 Apr 2011 23:15:46 =======
So here is the thing: Got MSc in another country that took 2 years and as I started to PhD research there, I decided to move to UK (personal and academic prestige reasons). I had to do another year of coursework here but did not mind. I passed the exams, and 4 months ago I passed my MPhil transfer, despite being let down by my first supervisor who moved to another country, and a not so friendly second supervisor. My new first supervisor is great and supportive. But after all this time, and practical problems of funding (I pay overseas without any grant or anything and had to work as TA/RA to pay the fee+support myself), I realized I have made little progress in research, lagging behind people, and seen as a "loser" by the departmental community. I have two masters and potentially on the way to a PhD, however, just the imagination of sitting and writing down, and being around academics for another 2 years (at least) is just so painful.
Getting PhD would matter a lot in terms of my chances at the home country, but I have opportunity to look for a job here in UK as well.
All these thoughts pushed me through painful feelings of regret and worthlessness, and I have been in clinical depression+anxiety disorder for a month now, lots of medication and stuff, virtually not having done any significant research progress for 4 months in all.
I am trying to decide whether I should just stick with it, or downgrade to part-time (or leave of absence) and look for a job, or simply to leave with an MPhil.
Any experiences? Suggestions?
I don't have any specific advice for you, other than to say you should try to find someone there -- an advocate for you, a friend, who understands your particular university -- and just talk to him or her. I'm a foreign student in the UK, too, and have been struggling with a similar sense of alienation from my department, for similar reasons. I have some friends here, but talking to them has backfired -- it's a closed institution, they all have been here for a long time (did BAs and postgrads here, grew up in town etc.), and so I think talking to them only contributed to the sense among the depart. as a whole that I don't belong. I wish I had found an outside source, earlier on, that I could talk to freely, without repercussions. See if you can find someone in the international office, or student counseling, or the postgrad office -- someone outside your department. They can probably help with some perspective; they will probably not hurt; and just talking to someone "live" might help you clarify your thoughts.
All best wishes as you find your way. You will, you know (find your way!!)
======= Date Modified 29 Apr 2011 11:55:39 =======
Straight away, PhD workload plus depression is a bad combination. I'd advise you suspend your PhD for a few months until you get your head sorted out.
Go home, see your family and give yourself time to think what you want to do. Your PhD is not worth your health, no matter how important it is to you and I think you're too close to the problem.
In the meanwhile, have a smile. I came across this a while back and I think we could all wish for a square 39!!!
======= Date Modified 01 May 2011 03:43:13 =======
I can relate to your situation. Before starting my PhD, I was also required to do a second master although I had already received my MSc from my home country. The reason is that the PhD program that I enrol in is an integrated program in which I have to do both master and Phd although my original intention was only to do PhD. I had already checked about it with my supervisor before coming, and he told me that I only needed to do PhD since I already had an MSc. But, when I arrived here, it was a different story....
Feeling so dumb and maybe cheated I did my second master in the university for 1.5 years. I passed the subjects/ classes, attended an internship (which was part of the program and didn't know about it before coming), but my master research was hellish. I didn't get much guide/ support from the supervisor, I was condemned brutally during my viva, my final paper (which was submitted to the panels) and slides were not checked by my supervisor and he was not even there during my presentation. But thank God I passed due to the reason that the work was accepted in an international conference. Then I continue to pursue my PhD and now, I am in the 3rd year PhD (4th year of the overall graduate studies in this university).
I am delayed from starting/ getting my PhD, still suffering from the lack of supervisor support, feeling lagging behind, having not much progress, no one to refer to/ discuss with in this lab, and now, facing the earthquake and nuclear problem. All these years have been really painful, but I choose continue my PhD because I really need it badly. I do cry a lot, have been on sleeping pills every now and then, have been wanting to quit so many times, been picturing myself jumping in front of a moving train, and really don't know whether I will be successful in getting this PhD, but here are some of my efforts in coping with the situation:
1. My 'strategy' is to just fulfill my university graduation requirement which are besides the thesis and viva, I have to publish 2 journals. So I am only going for the 2 journals, then the viva will be easier for me.
2. Just try to do the work and send it to conference/ journal. By this I can get some feedback form the reviewers and it is a bench mark that I have achieved something although not much. It also motivates me work/ catch the deadlines.
3. Meet the counsellors.
4. Get enough rest and avoid from being burnt out.
5. Visit this forum/ read others' stories to get some support/ motivation.
From what I read in this forum, there are many people who quit, move on with their lives and happy. Some also quit but return for the 2nd time and successful. Perhaps it is better if you take some rest now and make the decision when you are more 'sane'/ rational.
From my experience and what I read, the first year of PhD is usually slow with nothing much achieved. However this will get better in the second/ third year.
There are also times when people do not have progress/ do not do anything for months, but it does end.
In case you choose to continue, perhaps you can also try to send and present papers in conferences to get some confidence from the research community outside your university.
sorry to read you are depressed. Like the others have indicated, don't be too hard on yourself, your health is more important than the PhD. I think it is very important to make small steps, and the first step should be to get better again. Then make decisions regarding how to continue...
Sorry, I not want to come accross as insensitive, yet the PhD game from Beefy (see his / her posting) is, in my opinion, really funny and as always it has a root of truth, as agree with the idea of this game that the whole PhD process is pure madness!!
Hope you get better soon. :-)
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