Advice on Quitting

25-Jun-19, 21:05
edited about 22 minutes later
by joojoo
Avatar for joojoo
posted about 3 weeks ago
Thank you for reading this question. I've been looking for a place to ask for advice anonymously and I'm very glad I finally found it.
I’m a PhD student going into my third year. I had recently graduated undergrad before starting graduate school and had experience in computational biology. It led to two papers before starting the PhD. I was very interested in computational biology and wanted a lab that would give me experiences that were applicable to industry. I rotated in a cancer biology lab at first which did not have funding. When I spoke to join later on in the year, the PI said yes at first but then decided he wanted to retire in the next two years and we didn’t complete the paperwork. My second rotation was in a lab that was focused on math cell modeling and it had lot of funding. I was rejected from this lab, because the PI thought I did not have the right skills. My third rotation had funding, however the professor was not very open to accepting students. They liked my previous work, but in the end they were not open to accepting me. My final rotation was with a PI who mentioned that they had “potential funding”. During this rotation, I was asked to work on a pipeline to process the lab’s data. After my rotation when I asked to join the PI said no at first however after thinking about it for a few days he accepted me again. I was accepted in this lab and it is where I currently work.
I’m going into my third year now and I’ve unfortunately had to TA every quarter since I have rotated. In summer, I don’t have to TA and I’m covered. The hardest part is that TA-ships are not guaranteed, students will apply and most likely never hear back from professors. A lot of my time during the school year is spent TAing and taking courses.
25-Jun-19, 21:26
edited about 1 minute later
by joojoo
Avatar for joojoo
posted about 3 weeks ago
Despite all this, my main issue now is finding a thesis or project to work on. I finished the major pipeline I was asked to write in my rotation. My program requires students to complete their QE by their third year. I spoke with my PI about finding a topic to focus on since making pipelines is not really answering a biological question. Another major issue was that my lab focused on plant research while my program was solely focused on human biology. He mentioned that I should find something on my own and that graduate school does not involve a PI giving their student a project/direction.
I came up with something on my own and presented at a lab meeting. My project required funding to do wet lab work, the rest is computer work and free of cost. My PI believes I can do my project without the wet lab work and that I should only use the data he already has available However another graduate student in his fourth year, is doing the same project I presented on that requires the same wet lab work and funding but on another plant.
I’ve decided to switch graduate programs to another one that let me extend my QE deadline since I don’t have a project. I feel like I'm all on my own and thinking of quitting.

I was wondering if anyone else feels the same way or if it is normal to come up with a. project all on your own. I need to come up with something that uses the lab's data, from another project, to make a new one for my thesis. Since I had a difficult rotation journey I'm hesitant to switch labs and rotate again.

Thank you for your advice!


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