To quit or not to quit


Help Im 6 months into PhD + whilst I am getting some results (my cloning is now working, yay) I am losing motivation. I know this is common, but I have done minimal reading as I find the papers so dull. I dont mind the labwork but DNA repair is such a huge and complicated topic that I dont feel I can make much of a contribution. I'v always wanted to work in parasitology and Im considering quitting and reapplying for another PhD, am Im wasting time doing this project? Another problem is that my boyfriend lives nearer london and I have few friends here, I might be happier living there. A guy here keeps telling me that to get the PhD I have to give 100% effort consistently and i certainly havent been. I work 9-5 but on 2 days out of 5 i do minimal work, eg today I have spent 4 hours looking for other PhDs. How hard is everyone else working? Is not being interested in my subject going to really hinder my PhD? Am i just lazy and allergic to work? Will moving nearer to my boyfriend actually make me work less? So many questions...


You finding papers dull, and not putting the effort in tells me that if you can't do this PhD, then you are unlikely to suit any other.

Reading papers is boring, but it has to be done, otherwise you will not know what is going in the world of research, and as a result you are very unlikely to get published.

ALL PhDs require reading and repetitive work, so in all honesty, I don't think you sound suited to a PhD project (any project!)


Hello Fi! I just thought that i'd post a reply to let you know that you're not alone in feeling like this. I started my PhD six months ago and i'm feeling more or less the same way you are. Part of the problem with me is that i've moved to a new city, so i miss my old friends. (And i've got into the irritating habit of idealising my old university, which is stupid!)However, things are improving. Sorting out your social life is really important. (For one thing you'll have someone nearby to moan at.) I don't know if this applies to you, but i feel that i should give my Phd a year before i make any big decisions. However, if you're really unhappy this may be a little too long to wait. Anyway, hope things improve!


did you ever feel interested or excited about your project? Could this just be a temporary lull? What's your supervisor like? I would imagine you must have been committed to the project at one stage to have got this far, so quitting seems a little rash. How about talking to your supervisor or friend about it. I think it is normal to have phases when things are going slowly and a bit dull. I too started my PhD in Oct and have times when there's not much going on, but a quick chat with my supervisor usually sorts me out! good luck!


Thinking papers are boring is not unusual... A lot of papers published by many researchers are sub-standard and are stepping stones to the main results paper. This is why you have a review chapter which critizes other people's papers.

You need to be happy in your personal life in order to make it through a PhD. It takes a long time, it is repetetive and lonely most of the time. You need to have friends and hobbies that take the edge away during the PhD.

If you initiatlly accepted the PhD because there were no other projects around, then perhaps this is not the project for you and you might benefit from going back 6 months. Especially if you think Parasites is your thing and not DNA.

However if you were initially drawn to the idea of DNA research but are now over-whelmed because many others seem to have done much better work; then you need to get over the idea that your PhD is going to produce Nobel prize-winning products. It is not! The PhD is supposed to give you the skills you will need to win that Nobel prize in later research many years down the line.


i don't think papers are boring either!


What DanB said


Not all papers are boring, but if you love reading them, then I'm afraid you are just a geek


I think you might be qualified as a geek since

a) you are doing a PhD

b) you are in a forum for PhD candidates

And ofcourse by you I mean all of us.

Welcome to the geekdom Stu. I guess you did not get the welcome pack when you joined initally.


i suppose i am a bit of a geek, but i still don't find reading papers 'orgasmic' as described by Ali (strange strange person).

I also have a life outside of uni, which is more than what can be said about most people on this forum that are forever crying over some stupid issue


Stu.....u just wait!!!! Ur time will come and we will all be happy to help and be happy to say 'I told you so'.


I agree I have not felt orgasmic after reading a paper... maybe depressed or dissappointed or amused but never orgasmic.

I used to have an active social life but now that I am close to the end, it is hard to maintain both so my social life is rather non-existent. I promise to party it up large the moment I pass my viva! in Hong Kong!


eatingelephants, if i ever need help, i have friends i can talk to (REAL people) and will never turn to a bloody forum for help!!!


Surely it is so much better talking to the UNREAL people in the forum. You can be more REAL to your thoughts and opinions.


ok Dan, whatever you say