Advice wanted - Feeling hopeless in PhD and wanting to quit

posted
15-Jan-18, 21:01
edited about 6 minutes later
by melodie
Avatar for melodie
posted about 5 months ago
Jamie I'm so sorry to hear of your circumstances as they sound incredibly tough and you've done really well to continue on as you have! I can definitely empathise with the difficulties regarding your mum's sectioning due to the similarities to my situation. My own mother is also worrying my brother and I currently with her behaviour being similar to the last time she was sectioned, making it hard to know what may happen next both for her and therefore also for the situation with my father and his care for his dementia. So Christmas is always just a trauma to get through, not a break.

I'm really quite shocked at your supervisor's response. Does he know the full picture? And if he really is that callous, are there no academic administrators or graduate study directors you could speak to instead? It sounds like your treatment has been incredibly unfair.

I also really think you should make the effort to access the counselling. If I didn't have that, along with good friends, I don't think I'd be here now.

Your last point is certainly true, but as I'm sure you know it becomes increasingly hard to know what the right thing is that's important. I certainly have spent times not knowing if my family, PhD, or personal survival are the right thing to prioritise, and each one has sadly been damaging to the other at some point.

Thankyou, and I really hope things get easier for you. Remember that the PhD isn't everything you are.
posted
16-Jan-18, 20:54
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 5 months ago
Hi Melodie,

Thank you for your kind words and support! I'm so sorry to hear about your parents. How are you doing now?

My supervisor has been really good over the years. It was only because I had to quit the job, and he probably felt embarassed in the department, and perhaps didn't want to ask the head of department to help me out. I did complain because I didn't find that this was appropriate behaviour -- possibly he had a bad day himself, or was just detering me from seeking his support - but no excuse really.

As for conflicts in prioritising, I can completely relate to that.

I do hope things work out for you.

Good luck!
posted
20-Jan-18, 22:34
by melodie
Avatar for melodie
posted about 5 months ago
Thankyou Jamie. I had my scan at the hospital which unfortunately confirmed it was as bad as feared which has been quite a lot to deal with and process, but oddly, if anything it has cemented my determination to find some positive way forward to lead a life i find rewarding, as at the moment i feel stuck in a lot of unnecessary pain out of obligation, but truly think my future lies outside of academia. So i guess im still in a state of flux and so of course trying not to rush decisions, but also feel determine to see if I can find a better way.

Yeah, and i can definitely empathise with that regarding your supervisor problems. I normally get on really well and find him very understanding, but they are currently in their busiest time and have said some pretty callous things at the moment which disappointed me, but reminded be that its only me that can understand the reasons for any decisions i make . (The supervisor does not yet know of my plans to leave).
Well done for complaining, it was the right thing to do as a lot of these things only occur on the basis of the power imbalance, which allows for a lot of injustice on a human level. I hope things may have improved?

Thanks again, and I hope so for you too.

Melodie
posted
20-Jan-18, 23:33
edited about 2 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 5 months ago
Hi, melodie,

I am sorry for all the things that you are going through. It is a lot to cope. I am sure that the doctors will be able to recommend some good advices for you.

Since you have decided that your future lies outside of academia and you have different priorities now including your health (which is important), I think that your decision to leave is right for you. Could you drop them an ultimatum that you would like to write everything up now as a PhD or leave with an Mphil? I believe that they would accept the former as it looks better for them.

You can also slowly start exploring what sort of non-academic roles are interesting to you. Talk to people in the area that you are interested in to learn more about the roles and see if they are truly suitable for you.

But above all, put your health first. Take care.
posted
21-Jan-18, 13:10
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 5 months ago
Hi Melodie, Sorry to hear about your scan results. I do hope your health improves, as does your PhD situation.

As for my end, things are improving a bit, but I still feel a bit overwhelmed and exhausted by it all.

Anyway, I do hope things improve for you, in particular with your health. I wish you all the best!
posted
21-Jan-18, 20:06
by melodie
Avatar for melodie
posted about 5 months ago
Thanks again guys, it helps a lot to have some sort of advice in figuring my way through all this mess!

Tru, yes exactly , we're on the same wavelength :) Naturally i'd love to get some result from the last few years in the form of writing up, or writing up to MPhil, but I really do think I need to move onto something else as my current situation is only making everything harder. Of course I also need to stick around longer for any surgery etc, argh! I have spoken to the graduate studies director about options, but this week I intend to tell my supervisor of my need to wrap things up faster. So fingers crossed!

Jamie I'm glad things are getting a bit better but I realise it often still feels like such an uphill struggle with the impact on one's self. Remember to also prioritise your own well-being, as life is short and full of possibilities, so try not to find yourself prioritising things that are detracting from your life. (Of course this is all easier to say than do!).

Thanks, you too!
posted
21-Jan-18, 21:48
Avatar for newlease36
posted about 5 months ago
Hi Melodie,

Just wanted to say sorry to hear about your scan results.

I hope things work out for you. I don't think there is any objective right or wrong path to follow, but I do wonder if you should give some your time before making any final decisions. You are dealing with an awful lot of shocking news, maybe it's best to let the dust settle a bit?

Best,

N
posted
24-Jan-18, 19:43
by melodie
Avatar for melodie
posted about 5 months ago
Hi Newlease,

Thanks; yeah its taking some time to let it all sink in, but I went to see my supervisor the other day and told him about my thoughts on leaving or writing up an MPhil. He took it pretty well, as I think he already knew I'd been thinking along those lines for a little while. He's very busy with teaching etc atm so has asked me to wait a little bit before any final decisions so he can think of any way to get a phd without pursuing this second failed experiment which will just take too much time for someone to develop at my late stage of the PhD. So I guess I am indeed just letting the dust settle waiting for that, and have more doc appointments etc to sort out al the medical business. I guess it feel good that I'm taking the steps forward to sort everything, but from here on in I have no idea what my future will be!

I guess it's time to just carry on and see as I go. It feels better than I was feeling very stuck and in limbo before at least!

Hope you guys are all finding ways forward too,

Melodie
posted
09-Jun-18, 09:38
by melodie
Avatar for melodie
posted about 1 week ago
Hey guys,

It's been a while since my original post...but I'm still clinging on! Little progress has been made on the medical side, given how slow the NHS works nowadays, but there has been some good news!
I discovered the official guidelines about my PhD funding, and was quite shocked to discover that it looked like I should have always been entitled to 13 weeks paid sick pay per year. I inquired directly with the funding body with my specific case, and entered yet more additional limbo while waiting feeling confused and angry.

Family problems also elevated, with one of my parents sectioned and the ensuing chaos for the rest of us dealing with that. So very recently I was at the very end of my tether and preparing to leave. However, I got confirmation yesterday that I was indeed correct on the funding front, and so will be getting 26 weeks further funding after September! It's a bit crazy that I had to fight for what were clearly my basic working rights, and so an official complaint is going in to find out why on earth the administration was such a shambles and why I was messed around for a year and a half. But of course the upside is finally some acknowledgment of the fight i've been fighting, and some help to actually get a veritable PhD at the end of this saga.

So not at the finish line yet...and in fact even further away from it I guess haha, but at least I'm back in the game!
posted
11-Jun-18, 18:09
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 6 days ago
Hi Melody,

Sorry to hear about your mother. I hope things improve in that area. I totally understand how stressful it can be. Thankfully my mother has recovered now, but her anxiety disorder can be difficult to deal with.

Great to hear about your funding and PhD. I hope it all works out :-)

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