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I quit my PhD and am much happier

That's great that you got another job straight away that you feel happier with. I left my PhD last week and I'm writing up as an MSc while looking for jobs and voluntary work and starting another course. It was really tough going through the leaving process and even now I get worried that one day I will regret it, but it wasn't worth the continuing depression. I'm not sure if industry is for me as there's the chance I could be back spending all my days alone in a lab, but we'll see!

quitting phd

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I stuck out my phd until the end of 2nd year and finally decided for sure that the right thing for me would be to leave. It has been a very difficult process. The decision in itself was difficult but following telling the tutors, I was pushed to have many meetings with various and heads of department who tried to persuade me to stay. If I hadn't been 100% sure, I would definitely have been persuaded, however what they said actually made me determined to leave and go for a career more suited to my personality and more determined to succeed elsewhere. The next step is to sign a withdrawal form... and that's it really!

It may be easier for you depending on the university. I'd advise that if you are thinking of leaving, give it a little more time to see if you get into the project, and don't tell a tutor you want to quit until you are 100% certain.

If you don't get into academia, what do you want to do?

======= Date Modified 09 May 2010 17:22:44 =======
After having a big stress about whether or not I wanted to leave my PhD, I decided I'm going to try and stick it out. I thought that if I left I would do a psychology conversion and try to get on the DClinPsy in future years but it definitely sounds like I would have had a tough time judging by the posts on here. I think if I finish my PhD and decide I don't want the uncertainty of post-doc jobs around the country/world I might still try to pursue the clinical psychology route afterwards as I find it really interesting, and my PhD has some relevant components. I also have a bit of experience in mental health care as well as research.

Failing that, I think by the time I finish I will want to start a family so I might just accept any half decent job that comes my way in a place where I can live with my fiance! Things I've considered include mental health nursing, counseling and psychotherapy - I love brains! ;-)

Where were you at at the end of your first year?

I'm in my 4th month of my PhD and have done a short literature review that had to be submitted.. it was only 14 pages so perhaps I should do a larger one of my own accord.
My study is longitudinal so I have done the experiments for first of 4 time-points and learned a bunch of techniques already.
It has been so hectic, mainly because people are leaving and if they didn't teach me before they left I would be stuck, and I did have a massive panic about quitting last month but I feel a little better now. It feels like I have packed about 9 months work into 3 months. I really hope this means I can finish more quickly, rather than do more work!

Do you work when you're sick?

I have been working when full of a cold, although my supervisor did have some pity on me and said I should go home early as soon as the experiments were finished. I don't think I would go in if I was feeling physically sick or had tonsilitis though!

After the PhD?

What do you plan to do after you have finished your PhD?
For those who have finished their PhDs, what did you do afterwards?
Did you have some time out to travel, or go straight into another job/course?

I'm curious to know whether most decide to stay in academia, and about what sorts of non-academic employers appreciate applicants with PhDs.

I am doing a science PhD, but am unsure whether I want to stick in academia (and industry in my area is declining at the moment), so am interested in the range of options out there!

Knowing me and knowing you: my drug hell

Haha that's hilarious, at least you weren't expecting much! Feel slighty sorry for the idiots who might buy it thinking it will get them high!

The horrible realisation...

Argh that's harsh Keenbean. If anything, you need to ensure you get enough sleep every night so you are fit to face whatever is thrown at you.

Keep_calm, I would feel soo patronised and frustrated if my supervisor played an invisible violin at me! I wouldn't be surprised if they did at the moment to be honest though!

Cold Feet about Academia

Thanks algaequeen.
Things haven't really improved in the last few weeks. I have just finished my 11th day in uni in a row, and I have to work this weekend too due to experiments. The work is in a room alone, and I am actually normally fine with being alone but now it's sending me a bit insane! Perhaps this is partly due to obsessing over whether I should continue.

I am absolutely shattered physically and mentally. The lab recently got 3 grants rejected and there is only 1 postdoc and myself staying on after a few months if we don't get the next grant, so things are going to get very lonely indeed, if it wasn't bad enough already! My supervisors think I'm hard working but now I have to take on work from the people who are leaving plus my PhD and it's way too much. :-(

Advice please

======= Date Modified 22 Mar 2010 18:13:00 =======
It sounds pretty dreadful! Is it a science PhD? I've never heard of people not being allowed to listen to music quietly, wear hoodies or book holidays for sports!
However, the 9-5 work and telling your sup where you are all the time sounds normal for science, it's what I have to do anyway! I was really surprised when they said I could have a few days off in lieu of the weekends I worked, without taking it out of my holiday entitlement.

Perhaps you could ask them why exactly they want you to wear different clothes and not listen to music? Stand up to them a bit! :)

Quitting a PhD advice needed

Hi Vini,

I am feeling really similar to you right now. It is really difficult to know whether quitting is the right thing to do. I'm sure like me you are worried you might regret the decision at some point - but if you're really unhappy there is no point in feeling like this for years just for the title of Dr.

Are there any other PhD students around who you can talk to and perhaps establish a support network? Do you have a personal/pastoral tutor you could talk to? What would your situation be like if you went back to the place you lived in before the PhD?

If the job you're thinking of applying to involves research in this area, perhaps you could focus on the fact you are already doing a good project in this area and eventually you'll be an expert in it with a PhD, so could go into better paying and higher positions in that area in a few years?

Personally I have been thinking of leaving partly as I miss living with my fiance and partly because I have started to realise that it might not be the ideal career for me - in fact it is far from it. I have talked about it with friends but not my pastoral tutor or supervisors yet - I am afraid of how they will react :( My project is quite promising.. but I dunno if there is any point if I am so depressed!!

PM me if you want to chat more xx

Food addictions

Sometimes I feel the need to chew ice (due to hormones apparently!) Does the uncooked frozen food not give you indigestion?

Food at lunchtime!

I tend to have cup soups with pitta bread, pitta filled with cheese and lettuce or another filling, or thai noodle pot things! Pre-cooked chickpeas with tomatoes, sweetcorn, a bit of chilli powder and garlic makes a good filling for pitta imho, or perhaps hummus would be nice too.

Things you miss about being a PhD student

Wow you had an easy deal during your PhD! I'm in at least 9-6 every weekday, and have to go in both days this weekend and next :( I can't wait til this is over, a normal job would feel like a holiday!
I thought, if I leave I will miss wearing my own clothes rather than a uniform... um...and being able to access journals... can't think of much else!

Cold Feet about Academia

======= Date Modified 09 Mar 2010 19:38:29 =======
Thanks for the advice Algaequeen and Bewildered :-)

What were the best bits of doing your PhD Algaequeen? One thing that encourages me to stay is the thought of going to conferences in interesting locations - but I am very shy so the thought of presenting (let alone lecturing on a regular basis) scares me senseless!

I will go to the careers advisor soon - I do have other things I'm interested in but they involve spending money on courses so I might have to do temporary work for a while first. That's a good point about having yearly progress reports etc. Algaequeen. I think it doesn't help that there is a Dr. in my office who is 40 and still hasn't found a permanent post despite plenty of publications. As we are running out of funding I am the only one actually in the lab the majority of the time, but I can talk to her when I finish the practical stuff. There is also 1 guy who has just finished writing up, and a woman who works part-time. I do have some lovely PhD mates who I can see at seminars and who I go to the pub with, but they don't appear to share the same career concerns as me and are more determined.

Wow, long distance relationships in different countries must be really difficult, I shouldn't complain too much! My fiance would never pressure me to leave, I just miss the cosiness of living together!