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Hit a new low with my PhD and I don't know how to continue - any advice welcome

Hi @Pjlu,
I'm happy to report I've finally got a method now I think! Last few weeks I've just got my head down and just fought with myself to develop something that could work and I've now developed a very simple model which I hope I can now build on! The problem I had is I did have a research proposal I had to present 2 years ago when my research started and that was all going swimmingly until the supervisor who developed the proposal with me left completely unexpectedly and no one else seemed to have any clue as to how I could develop methods to answer those questions we had, hence why I've been stuck for so long.

I agree, the data and methods bit seems to be the worst but I'm really hoping I've now got some sort of direction and I'm just going to keep focusing on this part of the research and also try and write up the methods as I go along. Super stressful as I feel I'm running out of time, but relieved something is finally happening! Thank you everyone for all your help!

Hit a new low with my PhD and I don't know how to continue - any advice welcome

Hey all,

Thank you for all your really useful and supporting responses!

I've emailed my supervisor with my concerns about the work and to suggest we meet to discuss the problems I'm facing at the moment. I'm pretty worried about the meeting and what his response will be - I don't want to "break down" in front of him and I don't want to go away after the meeting feeling as crappy as I did when I went in! It's also so hard to know how much I should expect from him and how much is required of myself. I honestly think I'm past the point of caring about being interested in my research, I'm just desperate to reach the finish line and put it behind me. I was very close to quitting and if these next few things I try still do not improve my well-being then I will have to reconsider, but I'm worried quitting now will be a larger regret for me long-term than just sticking it out till the end!

I've already tried to bring in a few other academics who might be more aligned and they either said sweet FA in the whole meeting or just pummeled at me about getting papers out, which is just completely useless when you haven't even got a method! In terms of taking a break, I do have a holiday booked end of July but I don't feel like I even have the time to take a break! I'm meant to have a conference in July and a summer school in June, both of which I am hugely under-prepared for but I don't even know where to start!

I have started to see a counselor now at the uni, just to try and keep my emotions and feeling of complete failure at bay! So hopefully that'll do something to improve things. I am actually a very active person normally, sport is kinda my thing, but lately everything I ever enjoyed has become dis-interesting, so I'm hoping that'll improve! My "home office" is actually just a desk in my living room, we haven't got a separate room for it but sometimes I sit at the kitchen table coz it looks out the window which is a bit nicer! I'm going to consider finding a nice coffee shop tho, especially over the summer when the uni is dead!

@Pjlu - I haven't started collecting anything :( my work is depressingly all computer based so I don't even know what I am meant to be "collecting"! Hoping to clarify this more with my supervisor when he responds!

Hit a new low with my PhD and I don't know how to continue - any advice welcome


I'm about half way through my PhD, my funding runs out Sep 2019 and every day of the week I think about quitting. I'm so incredibly miserable all the time, whenever I think about work I cry and I dread waking up on a week day to face it! I really don't like my topic (this is a science PhD btw) it is so far from what my masters and undergrad degrees were in and to top it off I lost my main supervisor this time last year with about 2 weeks warning, the only person who seemed to push the project and seemed interested in it. I found out about 6 months later he left because he was asked to leave as he didn't live up to his academic expectations. The whole thing threw me, partly because I was given no warning and partly coz I had no say in what new supervisor I got, they just automatically gave me my secondary who has a completely different background to me. This guy just does not seem to care about any of my work. He's a very sweet guy but the small bits of work I have given him (many months ago) he never looked at and he keeps talking about this model I have apparently built even though I literally do not even know how to build a model...! I feel I have absolutely no relationship with him, our meetings are always so incredibly awkward (and infrequent) so I don't know how to tell him anything about how I feel. He never seems concerned that I haven't produced any work for months and I still don't even have a method, let alone any results.
I have no interest in my project (or at least the potential methods) and it feels like no one else does either. I'm miserable and I'm just at a loss as to what to do :( I have so little friends and my partner is one of my only supports and I feel I'm putting a lot of pressure on him and on the relationship. My office is super depressing too so I spend a lot of time at home which makes the feeling of isolation and never wanting to get out of bed even worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!