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About to quit after 2.5 years of PhD

Hi people,

Thanks for the comments!

Lexika, yes I have 1000 euros but that's because I didn't mention I got a scholarship for an international internship. I applied for that scholarship asking the maximum (15 000$) for 1 year of work abroad. The committee wasn't too keen on giving so much away so I got to reapply. My supervisor told me to ask for a 4 months internship and actually use the money over a year. So I got 4000-ish $ that were supposed to pay for the round trip and also the higher costs of a furnished place and the crazy fees for money transfer. So in addition to the 1000$ I have from my supervisor, I also add 270$/month, making 1000 euros.

A rent is between 300-500 euros in France. Plus the bills and food. In the end I can pay for everything but I don't have anything left to go on vacations, or enjoy a restaurant every one in a while, etc. I still can't believe he increased my stipend in December, after I asked for it (which was already pretty hard to do) and just suppressed it like it never existed. What does that even mean?

Science isn't all my life and I know I need to have fun aside to work better. Plus I come from a poor family and have been told all my life if I wanted to get a better life I'd need to have diplomas. So being paid the minimum wage at this level isn't really what I had been promised. Especially considering every PhD I meet tell me I don't get much (in Canada they usually get around 2000$ or more and in France 1500 euros).

The real problem isn't so much the money but my supervisor's behaviour. It's too easy to take students, not pay them, not support them and then get your name on their papers. I can't accept that. If I had a bit of guidance I wouldn't even talk about the money cause I would be sure what I do is worth it. At the moment I just feel exploited and not respected.

The people I work with in France are amazing and I really wish their were my supervisors but they don't have any fundings. Even they say my situation isn't fair and they'd understand if I quit.

I think in the end I don't really want to give up on my project but I need to find a solution so that I'm happy with my working conditions. Having a new supervisor would probably be enough. I didn't think about that option. Is it even possible? No one would accept to do that in my department, it would start a war! I guess it is required to have a supervisor in the university you are registered in, right? (My question may sound stupid but it doesn't always work that way in France). The thing is we never talked about how my supervisor was doing bad at supporting me so it's easier to quit putting the fault on me (like I'm not so much into science in the end, blablabla) than finding another supervisor and having to explain why I want to change!

What do you guys do to keep your motivation? Is it even getting better afterwards (postdoc, etc)?

About to quit after 2.5 years of PhD

Hi everyone!

Sooo, like many others I'm considering quitting my PhD.

I'm in Earth Sciences (in Canada) and love my project. It's interesting and exciting. BUT I have a very bad supervisor. Basically he doesn't care. Everything I do is whatever for him. We only had 3 meetings about my project since I started, we never discussed my results, etc. Not very motivating to be supervised by a ghost. I've been pushing myself hard to keep going but everything turned bad recently:

The second chapter of my thesis implied me to go back to France for a whole year to collaborate with scientists. Everything was going alright until I find out my stipend went from 1950$/mo down to 1000$. Being away I can't be a teaching assistant (- 464$/mo). For some reasons I also don't get the departmental top-up of 220$/month anymore nor the increase of 250$ my supervisor had allocated 5 months ago after I had asked for it!

I should mention we had agreed before I leave that my stipend remain the same otherwise it wouldn't be feasible. Now my supervisor pretends he didn't know and thought what I get from him (1000$) would be enough. Not even talking of the increase, it's like it had never existed. I tried to explain in long emails that I really needed more but he just allocated me the same as my TAship, mentionning it was 33% more than what he gives to his other students and my living standards where probably to high, concluding by "good luck!"

Knowing I need to save 464$/mo to pay for my fees, I'm basically at 1000 euros/mo. Fighting to get a my regular income (not even an increase!) doesn't sound right for me at this level of education. Everybody else is getting more.

Not being supported neither morally nor financially, I getting depressed. I know I don't want to work in these conditions anymore and am about to quit. I'm 1.5 year from being done but I feel like I should rather start over again another PhD for 3 years in good conditions than struggling longer. The problem is I love my project and I'm scared all PhDs are the same pain.

Any advice??