Entirely lost motivation and interest in PhD (after 1+ year)

posted
27-Oct-18, 11:55
Avatar for bluegrass
posted about 3 weeks ago
MAIN QUESTION: is anyone with a similar experience out here?

Hi all,

Please let me give you some context. I had a very successful time during my Bachelor's and Master's and certainly the best time of my life in nearly all aspects. After I graduated I found a job and started working. I've been working there for about a year, but had to leave as things were deeply dissatisfying (I was doing "intern" tasks with no end in sight; small town and zero social life). I went then for another year to Asia (to work), which did not turn out to be much better. Then I came to the idea to do a PhD as I always enjoyed uni, did well, and loved the atmosphere and everything. I found a PhD position (self-funded), but lost the interest in my PhD quite quickly. This is probably also the reason, why I never managed to find a topic. I have not really done anything for my PhD in several months and I'm only coming into uni to work on one of my three jobs (tutoring, research assistant), which I more or less enjoy. The rest of the time, I'm trying to work on my PhD, but instead I am only procrastinating and get nothing done.

The rest of my life did not improve (social life, living conditions), the only light is that my partner is present and came to this city because of me.

If I would have an alternative, I would had already quit, but I don't have any and I also don't even know what I possibly do with my life. This may sound quite surprising for someone at a PhD level, being self-funded, and being 31 years old.

If someone is or was in a similar - unfortunate - situation like this,I would like to hear about your experience. general advice would also be appreciated.

Thanks in any case.

bluegrass
posted
03-Nov-18, 12:39
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi! Sounds a bit stressful to say the least! Only general advice from me though... think about what you could do and what you would like to do (career wise). Do you need a PhD to get there? Also seeing a careers adviser and visiting those sorts of websites could help.
posted
07-Nov-18, 20:07
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for aliceknowles
posted about 1 week ago
I think, you should complete your PhD and only then decide what to do. If you don't have any idea of what to do in your life, so don't leave PhD, because at least you'll have a degree, if you leave -- you'll have nothing.
For making a descent research there are a lot of services that make them at a low price.
During your studying start to think, what you want to do, so by graduating you'll have a plan.
posted
08-Nov-18, 11:49
edited about 13 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 week ago
It sounds to me like you prefer well-defined tasks with shorter focus time. That is why you excelled in your BSc and MSc and enjoy your tutoring, research assistant jobs.

To self fund and continue down a PhD which you have no interest in is torture. Would you consider applying for a full time position before leaving PhD? You have only invested a short time (1 year plus) so this is an option.
posted
08-Nov-18, 14:34
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
bluegrass, you need to find a job and then quit your PhD.
The problem you have is that you can't think of anything to do and your previous attempts at a decent job have both ended in frustration.
You need to invest time finding out who you are, what makes you tick on a general level and then figuring out what job comes closest to that.
There's no quick solution.
You need to treat finding the right lifestyle as a full time job and start your research.
There isn't another way as far as I can tell.

It may be that what suits you best is a series of jobs rather than looking for one single job for the next 5 years.
posted
12-Nov-18, 19:38
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 week ago
Fixed-term RA posts might be ideal - interesting projects, short term then you move on. I find this rewarding and varied. Disadvantage of course is the lack of security.
posted
13-Nov-18, 09:31
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for Dr_Crabby
posted about 1 week ago
I would suggest if you already have no interest in your PhD at this stage, quit before you invest any more time into it. The further on you go with a lack of interest, the harder it will get and the worse you will feel.
posted
15-Nov-18, 15:48
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for doradorawis
posted about 5 days ago
Buddy, here I am, same boat.

I am a soc sci grad student in a very prestigious dept. My PhD isnt self-funded, but I am miserable nonetheless. So miserable that I stopped going to classes and fail them. So miserable that I have virtually no friends in the department, and don't want to make one.

My partner moved to this country for me, but that is not the light, that is a burden. He sacrificed his career for me, and I can't prove his sacrifice worthwhile with a stupid, useless degree.

I struggle to follow the rules in academic because, deep down, I find them to be B.S.

But, like you, I have always been a top student, I know I am smart. I have never disappointed my family, and to think about disappointing my parents is devastating to me. My partner is also a grad student now, but pnly because of me. He has been supportive about my constant thoughts of leaving academia, but still I feel very bad about dragging him into this.

I am 32.

PM me so we can talk more about this?
posted
16-Nov-18, 08:07
edited about 7 seconds later
Avatar for bluegrass
posted about 5 days ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Fixed-term RA posts might be ideal - interesting projects, short term then you move on. I find this rewarding and varied. Disadvantage of course is the lack of security.


Thanks Tudor_Queen. I have not come across any of those, which wouldn't need a PhD. At least not here in the UK.
posted
16-Nov-18, 08:09
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for bluegrass
posted about 5 days ago
I would like to thank everyone for their replies, which I all consider as options. However, I don't really know. Maybe I need to see some career adviser, but I'm not very confident that this will help...
posted
16-Nov-18, 08:11
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for bluegrass
posted about 5 days ago
Quote From doradorawis:
Buddy, here I am, same boat.

I am a soc sci grad student in a very prestigious dept. My PhD isnt self-funded, but I am miserable nonetheless. So miserable that I stopped going to classes and fail them. So miserable that I have virtually no friends in the department, and don't want to make one.

My partner moved to this country for me, but that is not the light, that is a burden. He sacrificed his career for me, and I can't prove his sacrifice worthwhile with a stupid, useless degree.

I struggle to follow the rules in academic because, deep down, I find them to be B.S.

But, like you, I have always been a top student, I know I am smart. I have never disappointed my family, and to think about disappointing my parents is devastating to me. My partner is also a grad student now, but pnly because of me. He has been supportive about my constant thoughts of leaving academia, but still I feel very bad about dragging him into this.

I am 32.

PM me so we can talk more about this?


Hi doradorawis,

I've just sent you a PM.

My partner also moved here, got a good job now, and I'm about to say "hey, I want to leave this place". Not perfect... So, I fully understand your problem. Seems to look quite similar... Let's continue via PM

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