2nd year blues?

20-Nov-18, 17:18
edited about 5 seconds later
by elski
Avatar for elski
posted about 2 years ago
Hi all, I've just begun my 2nd year of a PhD on the gut microbiome. Feeling a bit deflated, unmotivated and like I haven't achieved anything throughout my 1st year.

Basically all of first year I was reading, preparing for probation review, applying for funding, developing my research questions and study documents and applying for ethics. I also published a review on my subject area. I have ethical approval now but there are amendments I need to make before I can start the actual research. All the admin stuff (writing study documents, ethics etc.) - I wasn't expecting that. Other PhD students I know have been cracking on with lab work, but I don't even have any samples to work with yet.

I know it's not good to compare your PhD to others, but is there anyone who's in a similar position to me? As in 2nd year, no results, still faffing about with ethics/study design? It's so frustrating and I feel like I'm so far behind!
21-Nov-18, 10:46
edited about 6 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 years ago
That sounds typical. I know people who didnt get any results until their 3rd year. It can feel like a bummer but it is necessary and it is better that you do all that admin stuff. Though you have published a review paper, which is more than most people can say. Also once you get started you will be surprised how fast the results can come in.
21-Nov-18, 17:16
edited about 14 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 years ago
It is very common to find that second year is a struggle.
My second year was my worst.

I think you need to forget about what other people are doing. They are on a different path and career to you and you will all probably graduate anyway, regardless of differences. A career is a 40 year marathon not a 3 year PhD sprint.

If you had to start 1st year again what would you have done differently.
If the answer is nothing then you need to crack on with this phase.
If there are gaps then go and fix them.

If you stop worrying about the progress of others you might find you regain some of your momentum.

Good luck.
22-Nov-18, 17:12
by Raysa
Avatar for Raysa
posted about 2 years ago
I feel exactly the same way. I just started my second year having spent my entire first year going through admin stuff and ethics. I am planning on starting recruitment in January but currently feel like I made no progress. I feel really discouraged every time I see fellow students who started with me talking about their results or their pilot studies while I am sitting there replying to emails. However, I was told by my supervisors when I discussed this with them that it is better to put in extra time to properly set up a study because it ensures that you have everything ready for analysis once you are finished with data collection. Hope this makes you feel better; you are not the only one in this situation.
23-Nov-18, 12:34
edited a moment later
Avatar for kenziebob
posted about 2 years ago
Yes, I think I understand. It feels like everything has suddenly slowed right down; I had a mad rush with ethics wherein I was applying for three separate studies (pretty much my entire PhD) at once in one application. Now that I have approval and have my data collected, it feels like my work has slowed down a lot - my supervisors don't seem concerned but I am definitely aware of it. I am hoping this is a natural part of finishing data collection and starting analysis.....
26-Nov-18, 10:57
edited about 31 seconds later
Avatar for Dr_Crabby
posted about 2 years ago
Hey it could be worse, you could have 10 weeks left to do most of your qualitative analysis and write your entire 100k word thesis with no chance of an extension, like me, I'd say you're doing fine lol.
27-Nov-18, 01:18
Avatar for consistently
posted about 2 years ago
Same here. Had a very unproductive Summer and it's left me very demotivated - all I can see is the mountain of work I have to do before my upgrade/confirmation in the Spring, and I'm absolutely bricking it.

I guess we just have to take it one step at a time. But remember, you *CAN* do it - otherwise they wouldn't have accepted you on the programme.


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