Taking a Break

15-Nov-18, 16:38
by elley89
Avatar for elley89
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi everyone.

I know that many have faced this dilemma during the course of their PhD so I'm just looking for some wisdom.

I am currently in the middle of the fourth year of my part-time PhD (humanities) and I have seriously hit a wall. I don't mean 'struggling to make progress' or 'things are a bit difficult at the moment,' I mean I've actually hit the wall, slid down and I'm just sitting there on the ground feeling sorry for myself. I haven't made any proper progress is months.

I don't know if part of the problem is the length of time I've been working on this and the fact that it has been a very drawn out process but I just seem to have lost all enthusiasm. I simply just don't care about it anymore in the way that I once did. I'm not planning to go into academia so the PhD was never something I've been counting on career-wise. It was always just interest.

My dilemma is that I feel like I've done so much work and spent so much money and time that I should just keep going to finish. It would be a bit of a waste to just throw it all away at this point. At the same time, that push to actually get to the end is going to take a lot of effort, effort that I'm just not sure I have. How do you determine if it's just a longer than usual slump vs. actually time to consdier taking a break/giving up on the pursuit?
16-Nov-18, 21:33
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hello. I am sorry for the pain you encounter. I am in a different situation but we have something in common. I want to pursue a part time PhD. I also have no real pragmatic reasons for doing so. Only an interest.
When a propective PhD student shows interest in a PhD, other PhD and Postdocs tell him/her, "Oh dear, you cannot do a PhD for career reasons or just to work in academia or indusrty. You have to do a PhD just for the sake of PhD with little (if any) pragmatic reasons". When someone like us wants to do a part time PhD beside work. They say to you "You want to do a PhD only because you are interested ina PhD? what a shame. If PhD won't benefit your career, it is meaningless. What are your pragmatic reasons? You cannot continue without "real" reasons"
Having a passion to do a PhD is a good cause to carry on. Take a break. Nothing wrong with that. A month or two. But do not give up. Hitting the wall happens to full time students. From the forum here, I can see it happening after 1-2 years which is relatively 3-4 years part time PhD. I would call it mid-PhD crisis. Deal with it as it is really crisis but keep believing you will go through it. Set a break time and after the break start gradually. Go forward not because you have already spent time and money but because you wanted that from the beginning and you still want it. I wish you all the success.
19-Nov-18, 13:01
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 weeks ago
I agree with eng77, take a break. A few weeks or months were you forget about the project and work and rediscover other things. Meet old friends, rekindle old interests find a new hobby. After a while out you will probably come back to your PhD with new found enthusiasm. Burn-out is real and most PhD students will suffer some sort of it.


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