Reassure me- I’m about to quit!

posted
07-Jan-19, 13:07
Avatar for DownAtTheRubicon
posted about 8 months ago
Hi, I’m hoping to get some perspective and reassurance on my decision to quit my PhD. I’m three months in, fully funded , great university, great project. But... it’s just not for me. I’ve known this since I started, although I explained my doubts away by the fact that I’d just stared and hoped I’d settle into things. Before Christmas, I was enormously depressed. Over Christmas I’ve had some time away and it’s given me some clarity. I decided inwardly that I didn’t want to continue. I felt hugely relieved and I feel my cloud has lifted!

However! There’s still a part of me that is worried about letting go. It’s like I’m caught between what I think I should want and what I really want. I also don’t have a solid plan for life afterwards, although I’m pursuing some avenues.

Not sure what I’m hoping for from posting but I guess just some reassurance that this isn’t the most stupid decision ever made. My family are, understandably, reluctant to lean heavily one way or another but I’d just really like someone to back me up in this!I think I’d like to know that people have quit and gone on to lead full and happy lives!
posted
07-Jan-19, 14:06
edited about 1 minute later
by PhDhere
Avatar for PhDhere
posted about 8 months ago
You have not said why you want to quit and why "it's just not for you". Some perspective may help others give sound advice.
posted
07-Jan-19, 14:08
by Mark_B
« Moderator »
Avatar for Mark_B
posted about 8 months ago
Hi,

First up, people have definitely quit and gone on to lead full and happy lives. I know a few. You're also at a very early stage so getting out now won't leave you with a large amount of wasted work, or an odd looking gap in your CV. Some reassurance there, I hope.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you're not enjoying the actual work and don't feel an academic career (or other career 'with the PhD') is for you. There's no shame in that, but do sit down and discuss with your supervisor. PhDs evolve quite a bit and your experience three months in won't necessarily be a good indicator for the remainder (the first three months of my PhD were probably the dullest and most 'grindy', for what that's worth).

I'd also suggest chatting to some other students in your field. How did they feel after three months? Did they ever feel like you do now?

Best of luck with the decision.

Mark
posted
07-Jan-19, 14:16
edited about 26 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 8 months ago
Hi,

Can you please tell us why it isn't for you and what made you take this decision, everything you mentioned seems great! Do you love research? Did you speak to your supervisor? Please list the actual thoughts you had in your mind that lead you to consider that. No one knows where the best should be, but as the answer above, three months isn't too long, so there are no worries, however, what is your alternative plans?. In any case and whatever decision you are going to take is going to the best for your life and fulfilling your goals, good luck dude!
posted
07-Jan-19, 17:19
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for DownAtTheRubicon
posted about 8 months ago
Thanks for all your replies, and apologies for the delay in responding. I haven't spoken to my supervisor about it yet.

The main reason for wanting to leave is simply that I don't think I'm cut out for the pressures that come along with research at this level. I've always been pushed to succeed academically and so have sort of blindly followed this path. Don't get me wrong, I know I *can* do it. I'm just not sure how much I want to. My masters was 2 years of utter hell. I was depressed and miserable, and spent the whole time beating myself up that my work wasn't good enough. Turns out it was- my examiners praised my thesis very highly, despite my data collection being enormously inadequate (not my fault). You think I'd have learned from that experience but I had a combination of project and supervisor issues that I "blamed", and managed to convince myself that I'd feel differently about this. Now, I have a great supervisor, a great project, great support... I'm at a really good uni, I have money. There isn't anything to blame this time. But I'm feeling the anxiety and misery creep back in. I absolutely don't want to spend the next 3-4 years like that again.

On top of that, I think that my interests have changed so much over the last 18months or so that I don't even want to be in this field anymore.

I'm pretty worried about speaking to my supervisor as I just feel like I'm letting everyone down!
posted
07-Jan-19, 18:53
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 8 months ago
Follow your passion! May I ask what is your plans if you left the program as I am nearly in the same situation.
posted
08-Jan-19, 12:35
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for DownAtTheRubicon
posted about 8 months ago
Thanks, monkia! I've been volunteering with homeless outreach and I think I'd like to get more involved an look at career options around that. It's a massive change but it's something I really care about and I think that's worth pursuing. Good luck with your situation!
posted
08-Jan-19, 13:12
edited about 23 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 8 months ago
Sounds impressive, I wish I had enough courage to do that and free myself from the pain and the stress and do what I want to do. Up to the moment, I feel I am inside a cage and didn't find the place where I belong to. I wish for you the success and peace of mind for your next steps.
posted
08-Jan-19, 13:51
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From DownAtTheRubicon:
Thanks, monkia! I've been volunteering with homeless outreach and I think I'd like to get more involved an look at career options around that. It's a massive change but it's something I really care about and I think that's worth pursuing. Good luck with your situation!


Then this is an easy decision. You don't enjoy the line of work you are pursuing in your PhD and your work with homeless outreach fires you up.
Life is too short to waste. You should pursue the thing which makes you happy. Once you do that your head will be in a great place to make future decisions.
Good luck.
posted
14-Jan-19, 15:01
Avatar for Dr_Crabby
posted about 8 months ago
In all honestly, I wish I had realised it wasn't for me sooner and saved myself all these years of misery. If you feel like this already, I say quit now and follow your passion.

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