I'm pretty sure I'm 100% going to quit my phd program very soon.
My main reason for wanting to quit is:
My department has no community. There's no pgr seminars or anything to compel
phd students in the department to get together. I desperately tried to find a community
here but after 2 years and 1 year of a pandemic no luck at all.
At my old uni the pgrs and masters students had a few different seminars going on each month
in addition to regular concerts. Most of the pgr students also lived within the same city as the university and
even those that didn't made regular appearances on campus.
The same cannot be said of the pgrs at my current university.
I've been working remotely during this whole pandemic and literally the only
person from my university I've had contact with is my supervisor for our monthly
one hour long meetings over zoom.
There are other issues with my program that altogether make it unbearable without a community.
I've been looking at programs in other unis that specifically say and show evidence of having some form of
community for their pgrs like seminars, pgr groups etc. I just always assumed most departments had this, it seems pretty fundamental.
I want to make sure it's not a repeat of the same experience if I quit this program and apply to other ones.
I also have no idea what someone with my background does for a year in between quitting a phd and starting a new program? I don't know anyone else who's gone through grad school in the arts and humanities I can talk to for guidance on what to do. I have friends from my old uni but I have a feeling like they're struggling too.
The whole last 2 years have been severely disappointing and has really turned me off from my phd project. I used to love my project and was so eager to work on it and now just the thought of it makes me depressed. I'd much rather start a new project at a new university.
I don't know if I have a good reason to quit my program and try to find another one and I also don't know what a best next step career-wise would be if I do quit, aside from applying for other programs.
I don't want to generalise but even top universities don't always have great seminars and groups for all departments. Organising seminars is a time consuming job and some departments can drop seminar series because the organiser can't do it anymore. Also, getting PhD students to socialise really depends on the group of people and I don't think there is any way to guarantee it. I can completely understand you feeling frustrated by the complete lack of social interaction. The loneliness and lack of a support network can be brutal. Not having a support network of fellow PhD students is a rather compelling reason to quit. However, I do recommend to everyone don't leave until you have something else lined up, mainly for the income. I am not sure how you would transition straight into another PhD, it can happen. If you did apply for another PhD they will ask why you quit your current one and you will need to give a well-reasoned answer. You would also lose two years of progress and delay your graduation significantly.
Saying that, PhD students are complaining about the lack of interaction at my university as well (granted my university isn't great). So other universities might not be much better until after social distancing restrictions are lifted. If you want that social PhD experience you might have to wait until after COVID, or even take a suspension of studies at your current university until things are better. COVID has severely damaged everyone's PhD experience and by quitting or staying you are losing something. It might be better to just finish on time and move on from your PhD completely.
I'm not worried about another institution asking why I quit my previous program because I just won't tell them I quit a program before this one.
Why would I?
You said not all universities have great seminars or groups for pgrs but this uni doesn't have any. Period. That's what seems really strange.
They don't even have anything like that for their masters students.
I kinda agree with rewt all uni differ. Durng my post grad it was left to us to orgainsed these things. I am back now as a post-doc and covid has effected it all. We had one semeiar online for pg and they all said it was crap and it was more stressfull presenting online. Due to covid you cant meet in larger groups, you cant hang out after working hours so its buts a dapner on all things.
Im sure the same is being said in larger uni that do orgainse these thing for PGs. Can you help resolve the promblem- can you and a few othr PGs set up a semeinar or online meet up ? The uni doestnt have to orgainse eveything.
In terms of quiting you PhD- I equally dont know if leaving due to a lack of semiars/gather etc. is really a good idea.
In terms on not telling a uni why you left you other ones- how are you going to explain what you have been doing. From my point of view, currently reading CVs to hire PG, I would question the gap- and it would rasie a red flag for me. On afew were they have left a programm they have given reason as to why. bare in mind someone will call your references before hiring you.
Drwubs, it's concerning that you find Rewt and Nead's feedback condescending and irrelevant because they are not. They have taken time out of their day to provide advice on how they would proceed under your circumstances. Asking them to no longer respond on a public forum where you sought advice is plainly rude.
Having said that, I have been through something similar to yourself. Have you asked your supervisor to provide a list of names of students at the Uni who are doing working similar to yours and emailing them directly to try and make a group of your own. Maybe rather than waiting for a uni to create a group for you, you could create your own. That's what I did and it worked great.
All the advice given is fair and appropriate.
If you want advice from someone in a similar situation, really the only other PhDs I meaningfully interacted with were the two sharing an office with me. This is not unusual. Every Uni I've worked at has tried to have some kind of PhD seminar programme, but they have a tendency to fall flat since a PhD is, by nature, very niche, and whilst you can go and deliver 20 powerpoints on your topic once a month and watch others do the same, what you really want is a meaningful social connection and there's not a seminar series or organisational action that can really provide that. For these reasons quitting over the lack of seminar series in itself doesn't seem good logic.
Probably in hindsight I'd have tried to drag other PhDs to a monthly pub quiz or something. But took me a decade or so to morph into someone confident enough to be an arranger of this sorta thing.
I found just going for beers with friends and venting helped a lot. None were doing PhDs, but this doesn't mean they couldn't offer insight, sympathy, and understanding. Tbh it often helps more to check an RQ or hypothesis with someone detached from academia as they will cut through the waffle very efficiently :)
Btw you may well find this condescending too. But if the way you communicate with people irl, or assume condescending behaviour, is remotely like how you're doing it here, I'd look seriously within and maybe get some advice/counselling/training there, since forming meaningful connections ultimately needs to be something that comes from you. You've had a major dig at the majority of well-meaning posters basically telling them to shut up - yet these are the type of people you're simultaneously complaining about not being in a community with.
"since forming meaningful connections ultimately needs to be something that comes from you. You've had a major dig at the majority of well-meaning posters basically telling them to shut up - yet these are the type of people you're simultaneously complaining about not being in a community with"
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest