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Please help should I quit?

Hello. I think a lot of PhD students feel like that at some point. I applied for an advertised project straight from undergrad too and it was a huge shock to the system. I think I spend most of the first year doing the same five experiment over and over because they never seemed right and feeling utterly miserable about it. Remember that a lot of the first year will be about learning new techniques and getting to grips with your field. If your supervisor is happy with your progress then you're probably doing ok. You could also look at the transfer report as a good opportunity to get an opinion from someone other than your supervisor if that helps.

The One Goal Thread


Hope you're all having lovely, useful days. I'm in the lab again today, so not planning on doing much more than making sure my experiments go ok and reading a couple of papers. I'm feeling fairly relaxed and not worrying about anything today so I'm happy. Has anyone else had those days where you get so stressed about how much work there is that you hardly get any of it done?

The One Goal Thread

Today I am doing SCIENCE!!!


Goal 1 - do experiment
Goal 2 - analyse experiment
Goal 3 - add results of experiment to paper draft
Goal 4 - read through paper draft and send it to supervisor - this should hopefully be the last thing I have to do on it before people from "outside" read it and make comments so I've got my fingers crossed

Good luck with all the lit reviews. I've still got that to look forward to.

Maintaining relationships during your degree.

======= Date Modified 25 Jul 2012 11:35:26 =======
Ok. As everyone else has said, long distace relationships are hard but they can be done. My boyfriend works about 5/6 hours from me and I'm doing a chemistry PhD. He moved when I was in my second year so we've been this far apart for about 18 months. We see eachother for about one weekend a month but we're hoping that when I'm writing up I will be able to spend more time visiting him and working there.

The only things I'd recommend would be to always have the next visit planned, know when you're aiming to actually be able to be together again, and don't forget to live your lives and be an awesome individual even though you're apart. Good luck to both of you.

Should i tell potential employees that i have quite my PhD?

I wouldn't lie to potential employers but I'd try to think of ways to make quitting your PhD sound like a positive decision.

Maybe think about what you've learnt about how you like to work and what sort of working environment would suit you. I expect that many employers will understand that academia isn't right for everyone so by presenting quitting as a well informed career choice you might still make a good impression.

(Disclaimer: I have no experience in quitting myself, but this is probably the approach that I'd take. Good luck.)

The One Goal Thread

Wow! You seem to be having a very productive day.

Today I'm just messing about in the lab (i.e. running experiments). Fingers crossed they go well so I can process the data and add the results to the article tomorrow.

The One Goal Thread


Thanks for the welcomes, Batfink and Espresso. I hope you've had good days. :)

Batfink - hope you have a lovely visit with your fiance. My boyfriend is living in France at the moment and I don't get to visit again for about 4 weeks *grumble*.

The good news is that I went through and fixed all my corrections so that's done. The bad news (well, not actually bad, but bad for my chances of ticking things off my to-do list) is I identified another couple of experiments I could do for it. A chemist's work is never done!

The One Goal Thread

You all seem to be amazingly productive people so I thought I'd slip today's goal into the thread and see if that gives me some extra motivation.

- finish the latest set of corrections my supervisor has given me for the journal paper I'm writing

I've been working on this thing for so long I'm sick of it. The sooner it's done and I can worry about my other sections the better.

Can hardly believe it, but I passed my viva!!!

Yay! Congratulations and thanks for the tips. I'll try to remember them for this time next year. :)

The One Goal Thread

Well done, Button. That's fantastic. :)

I'd love to have a cat again one day, but as long as I'm renting and moving house every year it's not really going to be feasible. It's definitely on my plan for when I'm properly grown up and settled down somewhere.

I've just got one more read through to do, then I'm ready to print. Feedback is going to happen on Monday so I think I might look at a couple of papers on a *different topic* :D, relax tonight and do some baking and earning my good-housemate-points. :)

Just can't wait to have this properly done so I can go back to doing experiments that are actually interesting rather than things to plug the gaps.

Married women and doing PhD

Quote From emaa:

From my experience, last year my husband was doing a master, I had to do all the house work, shopping... etc. Both of us had almost the same deadline to submit work. while he could finish his work on time I couldn't because I had to do all things particularly cooking for his friends who came everyday to help him... another story... last summer his family came to visit us for 2 months. I was totally busy with them, they didn't help me in doing anything... So I couldn't make any progress in my thesis for 2 moths...

Wow. It sounds like there's a fairly different culture over there and I can see why you might want extra support. My boyfriend would never get away with leaving me to do all of the housework, and I don't think many of the other guys I know in the UK would either. Maybe the girls I know are just meaner.

The One Goal Thread

Today I'm going to finish the paper draft I've been working on and give it to my supervisor to look at. I'm mostly happy with it so far - there's just one really tricky section I haven't quite cracked yet. If I can get that done by lunchtime I'll be a happy little human.

Anyone else's PhD to be completed October '12?

I'm due to finish my labwork in October, but will probably still be writing up. Does that count??? I'm trying not to think about just how much I have to do because then my brain goes blank and starts screaming at me. Just got to tackle it one half-finished project at a time. :s

Thinking of doing a PhD... help!

What subject are you doing? There is a *huge* difference between what to expect from a humanities PhD and a science PhD.

I'm a scientist (as you can probably guess from the name :p) and I'm happy to have a go at answering your questions.

- What is your annual stipend for your PhD, and did you have to find it yourself or did the uni find it for you?
I get ~£15,000-£16,000 a year from the university, but they take £3,000 off that to cover fees, so overall I get paid ~£3,000 every four months. The project I applied for came with funding which is fairly common for science PhDs but much less so for the humanities.

- How much per month do you make on top of the stipend at the university and how do you earn it (e.g. marking coursework, teaching duties etc.)?
I do demonstrating in labs for 1-2 halfterms a year. This will generally pay ~£300-400 a half term for five 7-8 hour days of labwork and the marking that goes with it.

- During an average day how much time do you spend working on your project?
My standard hours are just 9-5. If I have a deadline or an interesting experiment that carries on longer than expected I'll stay later. I don't think I've ever left the lab after 10pm though.

- How often per month do you see your supervisor?
Lots. He's really interested in what his group are doing so he'll often pop into the lab just to say hello and ask about that day's experiments. We also have a group meeting every week, and occasionally we'll have individual meetings if there's a specific piece of work to discuss.

- How involved are you in the 'life' of the university (e.g. participation in student clubs/societies, sports, union etc)?
I'm not really. I've got one society that I'm a member of and turn up to occasionally, but I stayed at the same university as my undergrad so I have a lot of non-student friends who are still here.

- Do you feel that you'll be able to easily step into a career in academia at the end of your project? If the answer is no, where else are you considering working?
No idea. I'm going to try to get a postdoc, but I'd probably be happy with any job where I got to do research in the areas that I'm interested in. I just want a job where I can mess about in a lab and not be glued to a desk all day.

- Do you enjoy your PhD, if not why not?
Yes. I didn't when I started, and I think that's because I rushed into it so had a lot of doubts, and I felt very isolated and confused as my group started out as only me and my supervisor, so even simple things like where to dispose of waste were a complete mystery and caused lots of stress. These days I'm having fun with it.

- If you have worked in consulting previously, and then decided to do a PhD, how did you find the transition from work back to study?
I went straight from undergrad to PhD so can't be any help here.

- Do you expect to finish your project in the time allocated?
Not within the three years, no. My supervisor and I spoke about it halfway through my second year and agreed that I would keep doing lab work until the end, so I expect to spend a few months after that completing writing up.

I hope that's some use, even if it might not be that relevant. :)

6 months in, second thoughts

This sounds far too familiar. I'm in my third year now and, looking back at my PhD, I think I had phases of feeling ok and having fun, and phases where nothing was going right and I couldn't help wondering if it would be a better plan to quit and get a normal job.

I don't really know what to suggest, but I'm fairly sure that it's a perfectly normal thing to be going through.