Quitting during 2nd year? (UK)


Hi all
I am seeking advice about my PhD. I have a bachelors and MA already. I'm in the second year of my PhD and I have hated it really since the beginning, I have found the whole thing a struggle. I have no idea how I passed my upgrade panel last summer. It is affecting my MH quite a lot - currently at the stage where I'm crying most days and even the thought of it is making me feel sick. I haven't started my empirical work yet but my first chapter was meant to be finished in December and so far I have hardly anything. I don't have much experience in the theoretical side of what I'm doing and have zero in empirical stuff as my first two degrees didn't have empirical research at all (law). I feel like I have the wrong background for this course and can't see myself completing it. I don't really like my supervisors much or feel we get on, they have been relatively kind about this writing block so far but they are starting to get fed up now. I also live 2 hours away from my uni so that makes things harder.

Any advice? Im in the UK so only have about 18 months left, I can't get a masters and leave as my dept doesn't do it, and I already have an MA anyway. I'm fully funded and would feel so guilty giving up this opportunity but it's just not getting any better and I'm really at a loose end right now.

Avatar for rewt

Take a holiday, even if it is a long weekend and go somewhere away from uni. Take it is a complete break from uni and try to stop yourself thinking about your PhD at all. When you come back you will know if you really want to quit. As a lot of PhD students (in my opinion) get too caught up in the PhD and forget that it is just a qualification. A short break may help you clear away the insecurities and burnout.

Also, you owe your supervisors nothing and should not be guilty. Put yourself first, as no-one else will.



You mentioned that

- you have hated it really since the beginning
- currently at the stage where you are crying most days and even the thought of it is making you feel sick
- don't really like your supervisor

However, you did not mention anything about your future. Do you want to pursue an academic career? If you don't, that in combination with all the things you mention previously would convince me that the best thing for you is probably to go. Please think carefully before you make a decision.