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Study partner / Accountability partner

Hi Ana, Did you find yourself a study buddy yet?
I am in the same time zone, also doing my PhD by thesis, and finding it very hard to stay focused and motivated to write.
I try to allow myself about '2 golden hours' a day of just writing no editing or anything (as recommended by Hugh Kearns), apart from days when I have to go do fieldwork.
Let me know if you still need a study partner.

Feeling numb and hopeless

Glad to hear you took a break, some great advice here from other members.
I hope you made the right decisions and are happy with them now.

Study buddy

Hi all,
I am wondering what a study buddy is, and I think I could do with one too.
Doing my Ph.D. by thesis, not publication, in the area of environmental science/Geography.
I have allocated time for myslef to just 'write' but finding it very hard to do just that.
I have tried all the tricks in the book to help me focus and none have helped.

Feeling numb and hopeless

Hi there jw5, Do you have updates on your PhD.
What did you and your supervisor decide on?

Should i quit?

Quote From Naj18:
In my third year, i had to change my phd supervisor. I have started in a new group couple of months ago but can not concentrate in my new group. I feel like mentally drained out, i feel I can't do this for another five years. But deep down i really want to do my phD. I'm in my thirties now. Did someone had similar experience? Should I quit now?

Hi there,
Going on what your last post said, it seems you have enough work done for a publication. That sounds brilliant and you should try to get one paper published at least.
I also read that you weren't getting on well with your previous supervisor but you have now changed supervisor, is that right? You are also lucky to get the chance to change supervisor I am sure it's not an easy transition but it must be better than your previous situation?
And you also say that you love your research topic and you really want to do this PhD. I think that's probably the most important part of doing a Ph.D you need to have the interest to be motivated. And you are!
So I think you should maybe make a list of the pros and cons to help you decide what to do next. There are also some really good threads on here that might be useful for you to read through to help you make a decision on whether you want to carry on or not.
I am also in my third year of my Ph.D. and I have felt mentally drained every minute of it. I have also cried more often than id like to admit, for feeling like I can't do it and wanting to quit. But I haven't because I don't know if I will ever get another opportunity like it, plus I like the idea of being a 'Dr', even if no one outside academia will get it :).
So try and listen to your gut what do you want more a PhD or an easy life? And whatever you decide to do I wish you the best of luck with it!

No motivation, always procrastinating - is there any hope?

I Would also love to hear an update from @Coarvi!
And I was also like to ask her how she managed financially when she was on maternity leave?

Exiting after third year Progression Review

Hi there,

I think you are very lucky to have been awarded the funded 6-month extension. You should take full advantage of this there are a lot of people who have been delayed and haven't been granted an extension (like me).
You have two chapters already written which is a huge amount, have faith in yourself that you can finish. Maybe even receiving feedback on your progress review might help with your motivation they will let you know if you are falling behind on the workload.
I honestly don't think many people like the writing part, especially if you are practical-minded it can be really hard.
But even if you just try and dedicate two hours a day with no distraction and do nothing but write, it doesn't even have to make much sense just write, and eventually, it will become somewhat of a habit and hopefully someday a thesis.
I am trying this method out myself at the moment, I got to know of it from a really good motivational speaker called Hugh Kearns.
I am not going to lie it's really hard and sometimes I don't even use 90% of what I write but it's a start!

Best of luck!

Second year blues or time to quit?

Quote From froggyland:
I feel exactly the same and i'm in the middle of my second year.
I feel lost
I feel stupid
I feel this is pointless
You are not alone

I could have written those exact words myself!!!
Such an awful feeling and it's not easy to overcome.
However, there is some great advice on here and I will try thinking seriously about the questions to ask myself!

Feeling stupid

Quote From waitinggame:

Hi Waitinggame,

I can really relate to how you are feeling. Before I started my PhD I met some people in academia and I felt as though I was not intelligent enough and that I was not well-spoken enough to be in this industry. I even contemplated just going and getting a job in something completely unrelated just to get away from it all. I was suffering really badly with low self-esteem which I know now stems from having a negative mindset, which is essentially just a bad habit of thinking negativily. And then I thought maybe I needed to have this high level of confidence to do the PhD in the first place. But from reading all the comments on here and looking into self-help books and practices I have found that confidence can come from having a positive mindset and how we get this is by practicing good thoughts rather than bad ones and breaking the bad habit.
Easier said than done, but the practice is key! And I am a lot better now than when I started. Although still struggling hugely with motivation at times like right now being on this forum instead of working! :-)
Get yourself some counseling from your university (if it's available) or if you want to start somewhere less intense go to a book shop and get a self-help book. There are loads out there, I won't recommend any to you because I feel you need to find them yourself because you are the only one that knows what's best for you.
Hope that helps in some way, best of luck with eveything!

Another form of imposter syndrome?

Hi, ekster,
I don't really have any advice to give you as such, however, I would like to highlight that your post was very beneficial for me to read. So Thanks!
I am in a very similar situation to you. Only I am in the 2nd year of 3 years funded research PhD. I have No published papers, nor am I near publication. I have no data collected yet and I probably won't be collecting data for another month at least realistically, which is only over a year behind schedule. And I have been denied a no-cost extension to my research even though I was delayed in part as a result of COVID.
Anyway, rant over ha. This is not a competition and I am not saying I am worse off than you are or anything like that I just mean I am in a similar situation and found myself doing exactly what you mentioned. I am feeling guilty for not being overworked and comparing myself to others, and losing motivation around my topic.
So to read your post was really refreshing and somewhat reassuring. It's nice to know I am not the only one doing a PhD and feeling this way.
I also read the advice from @directdrive which I found really helpful and wouldn't have read that only for your post! So Thanks again!

Covid - Has your desire to continue your phd suffered due to working from home? I want to quit

Quote From JayHull:
Hi all,

I have just completed my 2nd year of PhD and entering my third and final year and I am looking for a little comradery and support with my current feelings and motivations towards continuing my PhD.

Following national lockdown in March 2020 I began working from home and was able to maintain my ability to work for the first couple of months. But, from July 2020 I found it to become incredibly demotivating, isolating and hard to maintain my interest and desire in the programme. I feel completely removed from my Phd, my mental health is at an all time low and I have battled for months to find enjoyment in my work again. I am now in a position where I feel I no longer have an interest in my work, and it has become an everyday chore to maintain even the lowest outputs. I have inadvertently created a huge amount of anxiety around the work which further makes it a challenge to approach, and with the ongoing covid situation I worry that I will never find the desire to complete my PhD.

My university has finally been able to facilitate some office space for postgraduate students, so I now have some return to a regular working routine. However, I am finding that I am spending my time procrastinating and completing medial tasks whilst the burden of the PhD continues to grow.

Has anyone else found that the lockdown and orders to work form home has completely stifled their ability to work effectively, stay motivated and remain engaged and interested in their PhD?

I am now in a position where I consider quitting every day and I feel if it were not for the financial security of my PhD stipend I may have already moved on. I have had extensive discussion with my supervisor about my concerns with the PhD and my mental health, and he is incredibly supportive and has solidified his desires to keep me in the programme and provide whatever support I require. This is keeping me going for the time being, but I worry that my departure from the writing process has left me with a wall to overcome to engage back with my work again.

I'm feeling really lost. Anyone else?

Hi Jayhull,
I can really relate to how you feel. I am just starting into my second year of my PhD. My fieldwork has still not started yet because of COVID and I didn't get a chance to engage with anyone from my own university or socially interact with anyone other than my supervisor. So I have been working from home from the beginning and I feel so disconnected from everyone! it is really hard to stay going and stay motivated. But you are in your final year, over the halfway mark with the end in sight so don't give up yet. Some great advice from Rewt above (That I will definitely be taking into consideration myself) If you put some of that advice into practice you will get through the last hurdle and you will feel so proud when you're finished!!!

Should i quit?

Hi There, Sounds like you should stay going with the PhD!
If you love the topic that makes things a lot easier, and if you have some good work already done definitely don't give up yet.
I know it's really hard but try not to compare yourself to others in your group. In my opinion, everyone is different! So what if it takes you a little longer as long as the quality of your work is high, that's all that should matter!

Will low self-esteem hold me back?

Thank you both for taking the time to write such meaningful responses to my post. The reassurance that my feelings are normal and I am not an outlier in the academic world is really comforting. I already feel better about myself from reading your responses and also from reading other posts on this forum. Thanks again :)

Will low self-esteem hold me back?

I am 11 months into my first year of a PhD and I am at an all-time low. First of all, to briefly explain by some miracle I managed to land a studentship in a field that I am interested in, with the research proposal already laid out for me. My main motivation for wanting to complete a PhD was to steer my career towards the environmental Industry as my undergraduate was in a different area. I have no intention of continuing my career in academia once I am finished. I would ideally love to work in a secure job in a regulative role within the environmental industry as this is what I am most passionate about. I am aware you don’t need a PhD for these types of roles but with my undergraduate degree and work experience from the retail industry only, I felt I really didn’t have any hope of qualifying for any roles.
Another reason for applying was I thought it would improve my self-confidence. As an individual I have always suffered very badly from low self-esteem and I feel it has held me back in progressing in my career to date. However, the feeling I am getting only 11 months in, is that you need confidence to complete the PhD in the first place. I thought that over time through completing presentations and building communications with fellow researchers would gradually build up my confidence. But I feel I was wrong. Any people I have met so far through the PhD are lovely, but they have such high confidence levels and are so sure of themselves already. It makes me feel like maybe I am not good enough. I think this is called ‘imposture syndrome’???
Has anyone else started off their PhD with rock bottom confidence, but became self-assured by the end of it?
Its becoming a huge problem for me and I don’t think Covid has helped. With not having the chance to present in front of people or to even just socialise with people in similar industries. I find myself procrastinating a lot and not actually getting much work done. I also feel a little lost in my work but from reading others comments on here I see that this is common enough for a first year so that’s normal, I guess.
Any advice for me or any nice happy ending stories of someone who came out of a PhD gleaming with confidence???