Thinking of quitting


Hi all,
I would like some advice. I am doing a PhD in Australia - they're done a bit differently here without a VIVA/defending PhD etc. We have other milestones which seem less awful!
I am now in my fourth year of my PhD, which, when I started I, wanted to finish in 3 years, I have lost all my motivation and am so behind. There are a few issues:
1. I really don't enjoy it - I don't like writing, I find it hard and just boring. I have all my data, so its cleaning/analysing and writing that I have to do.
2. I am really behind in the writing up side of things - I have done barely any writing and really need to do so much more reading to actually be able to write a decent background chapter, (and again, really hate writing)
3. I don't think this PhD is going to add anything to my career, when I started it I felt pressured into doing one. My career doesn't have to involve any research and certainly doesn't require writing skills.
4. My supervisors have been really awful in so many ways, I just don't want to deal with them at all!
5. My project is decent research, I just can't find passion for it.
I can't think of anything worse than spending another year doing this...
Any suggestions?


Personally, if you've already dedicated 4 years to your PhD and have collected all your data so only a write-up remains, it would be a waste to quit your PhD. You should look to the resources provided by your university for help in writing if you're struggling. My university has regular classes for effectively reading and writing, at different stages fo your PhD which are supposedly very helpful. Also, it is common for people to feel lethargic when they're writing up results; i think thats common across all industries as well as academia. . With regards to the reading aspect, there are techniques people have posted online which worked for them worth looking at. Even more, since you already have the data (and possibly conclusions), the reading may be a lot easier than you think because it will be focused.

The nature of the world these days, a PhD will mostly add something to your career. The "job" you may have been able to attain without your PhD, maybe easier to attain now that you have one (this maybe a moot point when you're only a year into a PhD, but should be an important consideration when you're 4 years in). Slowly but surely, a wider acceptance of the "special skills" that PhDs possess is being recognised. Besides, it leaves the door open for a future return to academia should you seek it.

TLDR; Look for help within your college for writing and reading (subscribe to a course). Speak to your college careers team about possible career paths with a PhD. Form a goal and work towards that rather than the completion of your PhD (which will become a milestone instead of the end). Take a break, form an ultimatum for yourself, and attack.

I would love to offer advice for quitting, but i feel it would be reckless of me. I am finding it hard to deal with the regret over leaving behind a year of work; i cant even imagine the burden of leaving behind 4 when the end is so near.

Avatar for rewt

I used to hate writing a lot and I still dislike it. However I have come to realise that I was more scared of being wrong than anything. The first few drafts I had to write were horrible and it made me hate my research. Though the more you do it the easier it becomes and confidence builds. No work is perfect and something written is better than nothing. Because we all hate doing things and avoiding them is not a solution long term. You mention your career will not require writing skills but you will need communication skills. If you have good research and cant communicate it via the written word that is a big problem in any career.

So quit if you want but I wouldn't hide behind hating writing.


Just finish your PhD, you are so close to the finishing line. Think it as completing a mission. It maybe a bit hard to explain your 4 year gap in your CV too, if you quit now. Use that as a motivation to finish


Thanks for all your replies - you’re all correct! I really do not enjoy the writing and think I am just making excuses.
I’ll look into writing courses at my Uni
Thanks everyone!