Sorry... It's another should I quit question

19-May-19, 15:28
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for Justaverage
posted about 1 year ago
Hi everyone,

I know there's been a few 'should I quit' posts on here but I'd really appreciate your advice.
I'm coming to the end of my 2nd year of PhD and I've just passed my APR.
I've had some doubts about being good enough for PhD from the beginning. I guess I didn't enter into PhD for the reasons most do. I qualified as a teacher in 2017 and with no jobs in my region, especially in my subjects, I thought an education based PhD related to my subjects might help in the interim. However, I am miserable.
I have an awesome supervisor who is extremely supportive but I feel they are supportive to the point of not telling me the truth about my abilities and the amount I have achieved to date.
Working with schools and teachers is really difficult. To date, I am nowhere near the amount of data I need. This was brought up during my APR and one member of the panel was very concerned that I wouldn't get enough done in time. I got a by-ball at APR because I lost my lifelong best friend to suicide back in March and have been having a hard time coping with it.
In light of the recent tragedy, I'm again questioning why I keep doing this, if I don't enjoy it. I'm not convinced about my topic because it has had to be expanded - I feel like it's now very wishy washy and I don't see it ever making any difference.

I think I might be happier if I quit but I feel so guilty. Guilty for my amazing supervisor and for my participants who have also been very supportive and given up their time to get involved.
I'm also afraid to quit. Would it look bad to a future potential employer? Would schools be put off employing me if they knew I had let others schools down by quitting my study?
Would quitting now be a huge mistake?
20-May-19, 16:06
edited about 22 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 year ago
Hi Justaverage (and I'm sure you're not!)

I think a lot of people feel like this during their PhD. And it's about overcoming that feeling and just carrying on. So I would say don't quit, keep at it!

It sounds like you're concerned though about how yours is going. So maybe arranging to meet with your supervisor and just being very up front - asking him if he genuinely sees it being enough for a PhD - could be the way to go. You could downgrade it to a masters instead most probably if you wanted to. And it would be better to have that conversation now, and initiated by you, than later on (if you really suspect that it isn't going to be enough for a PhD). Also, it sounds like you're not enjoying it much, so maybe this is the route to go down anyway? (That is if it is how you feel about it and that feeling isn't changing). Whatever the outcome, you'll probably feel a lot better after having an honest conversation.

In response to your final paragraph, I don't think that any of those things would be issues. People change their plans all the time, and that is OK. Even better if you can come away with something to show for it (e.g., a masters or a paper maybe).

Hope this helps somewhat. I'm sure others will have good advice!

18-Jul-19, 21:16
by kt123
Avatar for kt123
posted about 1 year ago
Quitting is a bit of a horrible word isn't it!? It has expectations attached and those can make our decisions to leave or change field quite difficult sometimes.
I am in a similar boat. I will leave my PhD...I think :-)
I don't enjoy the work and don't see how this is going to change any time soon. I don't really feel too bad about leaving...conflicted about disappointing people, but less so about leaving in and of itself.
Here's the good news - there are always other and new opportunities. There are more PhDs out there too. In the grand scheme of things, the only thing that matters is that you did what you loved.
So my advice is this: if you love the discipline you're in and you want to continue within that field, try to speak to advisors, get help from counselling and take some leave and then come back to your PhD.
If you're not in love with your subject or discipline, leave. You won't regret it and feel relieved you do.
20-Jul-19, 17:00
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 year ago
Hi kt123, it is as if you wrote this advice for yourself! :) Hope it helps!
20-Jul-19, 17:46
edited about 42 seconds later
by kt123
Avatar for kt123
posted about 1 year ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Hi kt123, it is as if you wrote this advice for yourself! :) Hope it helps!

Lol, probably. It's definitely a hard decision and one I feel 99% certain about, but that 1% just keeps tripping me up...


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