I'm a fresh phd student at ulb (bruxelles) in the field of robotics. Even though I have started recently, I have been hating it (namely the town, the people in the lab, especially my supervisor and so on) ever since and I am seriously considering to quit it within the end of the year. In that case, what should I do to quit?
Moreover, I also have a EU-studentship. Then, if I give up, should I give back all of the money that I have earned so far or not?
Thank you for your kind attention and my best regards,
You don't normally have to give back the money... as far as I'm aware. And quitting it shouldn't be too difficult. But if you're having problems, I think you should either tell your supervisor (nicely and subtly) about your problems or find out who else you can talk to- there's sure to be someone or some office you can go to for advice.
If you find PhD is not for you, then it's best you make a decision in the early stage possible. However, if the reasons for your quitting is external environment, then I would agree with Escoppycoppy to talk to someone before you make this decision. After all,you must have done a lot of work to have a PhD studentship with a funding. Sorry,you didn't ask for advice on whether to quit or not, just thought it's worth sharing the thoughts.
As for the money, I would imagine you will be required to give a report to explain things. I don't think you would be asked to give money back though.
Thank you very much for your answers, my studentship comes from erc and it is 19k per year. I know it is a good studentship, but I am getting more and more aware that this place it's not for me. The only idea to come to work in university every day makes me depressed. I would avoid to talk directly to the supervisor, I don't feel comfortable at all with him and it seems pretty unpredictable what he may be going to say! Maybe I should look around for an office where I may ask for more information...
In any case, so, there is not a standard procedure to quit a phd? Should it be enough to write a mail to the supervisor as I make such a decision or should I fill in some forms?
Many thanks for your attention and for your answers!
I don't know how it works in other countries, but in the UK you must formally withdraw from your studies, and it is Postgraduate Registry that deals with these issues. Obviously you should inform your supervisor as well.
As you are funded, you should also inform your research council as soon as possible with a letter sent by registered post.
Thank you Corinne for your answer, well, to get my studentship I have not applied directly go get one, it was my supervisor who already gifted me with it. So you think I should formally fill in a form that I have to hand in in a secretary at university and then drop a line by e-mail to my supervisor in order to tell him about my decision to leave the studentship?
Many thanks for your attention!
Well, if you are really sure that you want to go ahead and leave your PhD, I think that you should let your supervisor know first. I understand that it is tough, but it must be done, especially if you got your funding through him.
Even if you work in industry afterwards you may need references from him, so it is better to have an open but civil discussion with him before you leave (e.g. you don't feel that academic life is for you, etc).
Then I would enquire how to proceed - ask your departmental secretary, she should be able to address you to the right office/ person.
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I stuck out my phd until the end of 2nd year and finally decided for sure that the right thing for me would be to leave. It has been a very difficult process. The decision in itself was difficult but following telling the tutors, I was pushed to have many meetings with various and heads of department who tried to persuade me to stay. If I hadn't been 100% sure, I would definitely have been persuaded, however what they said actually made me determined to leave and go for a career more suited to my personality and more determined to succeed elsewhere. The next step is to sign a withdrawal form... and that's it really!
It may be easier for you depending on the university. I'd advise that if you are thinking of leaving, give it a little more time to see if you get into the project, and don't tell a tutor you want to quit until you are 100% certain.
I would suggest, before quitting, it is a good idea to form an idea on what alternative jobs will be open to you- have a look at the job market and see if you can time your departure to fit with times when job openings are more likely.
Another option. I know people who have been able to change supervisors (or add additional supervisors, or change the weighting of work between supervisors and co-supervisors) whilst keeping the same project and funding. The department wants you to do well, it looks good on them, so if you discuss your communication difficulties with the head of postgrad studies then they may be able to do something to make communications easier.
It does sound like the balance is tipped to quiting though, if you hate everything about it then this department may not be for you.
I am sorry to hear that you are having a bad time. But you say that you have started recently - how long has it been? In your post you have mentioned that
Don't do it!!!
You listed the things you don't like as the town, the people in the lab and your supervisor but I noticed you didn't say the work. This is harsh but realistically if you pass up the studentship it is unlikely that you will ever get another one and it'll be a black mark on your CV forever if you choose to stay in science.
It is probably less scary to quit than to stand up to your supervisor. You must feel that the whole faculty, their friends the other PIs will be behind them and against you but ultimately if it is that bad you should at least try to arrange a transfer and salvage your studentship. Also do you come with any money for the PI that they will lose if you go? That would give you more leverage on the supervisor than most of them would care to admit so if you let them know calmly that you are reluctantly ready to leave the lab they may back down.
Thank you all for your attention and for your texts, you all have been very kind!
Well I'm not gonna quit it now, I still am going to take some time to be sure whether this PhD is for me or not. I think I will wait until the end of the year before I take a final decision.
Anyway, apart from all of the thing I listed before, I am still not that sure that even the topic of the PhD itself may be of interest for me. I'm still at the beginning and what they have shown me so far has bored me enough. Moreover, I have also seen that in my department, basically none of the PhD students menage to award such a title within the end of their scolarship (due to supervisor who has no time to control publication drafts and other burocratical stuffs) and they mainly have to work for free even for a few additional years.
This fact, together with the doubt whether I may have to give back the money that I have been given to so far from my scholarship or not (which I still haven't menaged to get a final answer at my department), frankly scares me a bit and makes me wonder whether I should stay, try and apply for a different PhD in my country or directly looking for a job before I may quit.
Thank you for your attention!
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I say this on every "Quit PhD" thread I see. Get a job before you leave. Being unemployed is no fun, looks bad on your CV and can cause massive problems. If you do want to leave then only do so once you have the replacement job lined up. It is FAR harder to get a new job if you are not currently employed/studying.
Also, remember all jobs have good and bad sides. There is no such thing as a perfect job, so don't think that every problem will disappear if you get a new one. I'm not saying don't quit, but I am saying consider it carefully and have something lined up before you do.
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