the life of a first year phd: trials and tribulations


i knew i was going to have trouble with my project from the start. my supervisor said he wasnt interested in people asking questions unless thay have answers. he was never around for the first six months of my phd. the rest of my research group are in another building half an hour across the city and i replaced the postdoc who could of supported me.

six months into my phd, my supervisor unloaded on me at a meeting, saying i wasnt cut out for this university, im not going to pass first year. ive seriously considered dropping out. the project has immense pressure to deliver. ive thought about it a lot and questioned whether this is really what i want. i never did it for the money. ive often wondering whether im failing the phd system or it is failing me? either way i think the buck stops with the supervisor. a person should only be hired if they have the right qualifications. if the research isnt going well, it is in a supervisors interest to guide a student.

any thoughts on my post would be much appreciated :)


It is a combination of you and the supervisor to get through a PhD. If you're having such doubts a good supervisor would be offering you some support. It sounds like you picked a supervisor that is not easy to work with. Could you take on a second supervisor, or get advice from someone else on how you are doing? A lot of supervisors are trouble, mine doesn't bother much and needs hasselling if you need help. The question is can you put up with this for up to 4 years and complete. There are options to change PhD or write as MPhil which are ideal at the year 1 stage.


thanks for the advice. i do have people i can talk to , in my group and in my department. my supervisor has a bit of a reputation in the department and is not well liked by all accounts. im not likley to drop out unless i get some kind of qualification ( mphil or phd). ill fight tooth and nail to get it. i had done a number of research placments before doing a phd and i knew that a phd was going to be very hard work and require a lot of dedication. i think the advice i would give to anyone is to choose the phd project and supervisor very carefully. i think i choose a famous university over anything else. i know the feild of study quite well but accepted the position without knowing much about it( foolish). i knew i was taking a risk, but i thought it was worth it. im inclined to think thats it has been a combination of poor project choice, lack of support that have soured my interest in this project. the question is what to do next.......