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confused due to advisor behaviour
T

Hi, chinnu,

Clearly there is favourism at work, and sorry you are not the favoured one.

I am sorry to hear of your suffering.

To try and salvage things, I suggest
1) Record every single thing over the last 4 years - emails, verbal communications, event/incidence in to a book. Make it as detail as possible. Save all your research data into your own folder.
2) When you have collected your evidence, go and find your postgrad coordinator who oversees PhD students
3) Do not mention the book
4) Explain to him/her about your situation - publication, stipend, etc
5) Ask him/her to interfere and mediate a plan with timeline to publications and graduation
6) At the same time, go talk to student union if you have one
7) The book is only for last resort when your supervisor retaliates and tries to pin the blame on you being a poor student. So make sure that you detail every damn thing and collect your evidence now quietly. Once they know that you are collecting evidence, they may within 24h cut your emails and access to any uni folder

Alternative:
If you have had enough, would you consider
1) Completing with a MPhil and get out? Get a corporate job and leave the world of academia behind.
2) Get a PhD with a much better supervisor

Loss of direction and ask for advise
T

Hi, jw5,

Sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time.

I do think that what your psychologist suggested is actually good. Part time would allow you to more time to recover and get well. You can always go back to full time later.

I would also like to suggest a 4th option. Have you ever thought that maybe a Master and a Phd are not right for you? Not everyone has to go down the academic path and to be fair, it's not all that wonderful either down the other end - the perpetual need to justify your research, being torn apart during presentations, applying for grants with low level of success, worrying about if you will still have a job the following year... I don't know if you want to cope with all that.

If you desire for a academic job to pursue your passion, then yes, a Master and a PhD will be absolutely essential. If you do not, then really, perhaps focus on recovering and then get a company role and work your way up. Experience is more important than qualification in companies. You can always get a Master or Phd later on in life if you change your mind.

Second year blues or time to quit?
T

Second year PhD depression is real. Your initial euphoria of embarking on a novel PhD is gone. As you reflect on your progress or lack of and think of the mammoth steps needed to complete the PhD, you begin stressing and doubting yourself. It is made worse if the project and supervisor are not what was promoted in the beginning.

During these times, it is important to reassess why you do your PhD and objectively see if the situation is truly that bad. I ran these questions when I was in my second year blues too:

1) Am I wanting to have a career in academia after my PhD?
2) Am I loving my subject area despite all the challenges?
3) Am I able to negotiate more resources to overcome the challenges I face?
4) Am I supported by my supervisor/ mentor/team? Should have at least one or you are at higher chance of failing
5) Am I only having a temporary down time that can be resolved by taking time off to clear my mind?
6) Do I absolutely need this PhD in my future role?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, perhaps it is time to think deeply and have a conversation with your supervisor or graduate school to come up with a plan of attack to successfully finish the PhD or downgrade to MPhil and get a job. I am a strong believer that if your supervisory team is shit, change your supervisor or get out. It’s not worth it.

My suggestion is for you to talk to as many post docs or companies in your area to understand which life after PhD/Mphil is really what you want.

Good luck

PhD student that desperately needs/appreciates advice! :( Any Psychologists would also be helpful!
T

My PhD was in oncology and I moved into business.

PhD student that desperately needs/appreciates advice! :( Any Psychologists would also be helpful!
T

Hi, anony9812,

Sorry to hear that you are very stressed out.

To answer your questions, these are my personal opinions:

- Is it true that a PhD can help with higher up NHS jobs- e.g. either in research or patient care?
No. Work experience is more important.

- Is it better to just finish a PhD to get the qualification for the chance I might need it in the future even if the subject isn't the field I want to go into?
If you KNOW that you are not going into your PhD subject field, why continue on? especially if you do not want to work in academia. Finish up with a MPhil, get a job in field you have strong interest in for a more satisfactory work life.

I would also like to point out that many PhD graduates cannot find jobs in non-academic organisations. They are deemed too overqualified academically but underqualified in terms of job experience. if you want to pursue an academic life writing grant after grant justifying why you should be given funding to continue your career and go through with the uncertainty of it all, then sure go get a PhD. If not, do yourself a favour and get out and land yourself a job in a field and company you like.

By the way, I am speaking from my personal view as a PhD holder/former academic who left for industry. I have met too many Phd students, postdocs and mid-career researchers and seen their despair as they worry permanently if they will still have a job the following year. There is no work life balance as you are expected to work long hours and come in during the weekends. Only a small percentage of researchers end up as Professors and get that elusive tenure (1 in 200).

Take good care of yourself. You matter. If you do decide to do a PhD again in future, that's something you can consider later. You are 80% sure of quitting. Do the right thing for you.

I want to quit my PhD. Advice and Reassurance.
T

Hi, CanIStopNow,

If you want to quit your PhD because you are burnt out, having poor health, and not wanting to pursue an academic career, you have strong reasons to quit and no one should judge you.

If you still have the energy to, perhaps you could see if you could change it to a MPhil.

If you are on paid PhD and don't wanna bother with the MPhil, look for a job first before you quit so you can continue to support yourself financially

Is it too late
T

I am not in films, so it is difficult to judge. Have an honest discussion with your supervisor. If he/she thinks your progress is too slow and beyond what you can catch up on, perhaps you may need to make a difficult decision on your PhD

Intellectual Property issue?
T

Hi, Cat123,

I am not sure what you are asking but I hope I'll be able to answer your question as I do understand IP and tech transfer well.

1) Do you own the IP to your project?
Depending on your university policy, students may or may not own the IP to their PhD project. At my university in Australia, student own/co-own the IP generated in their PhD study.

2) Does this stop other people from doing the same research?
No, you cannot stop other people from working on the same research topic. You have rights to the IP generated in your own research but you cannot stop other people's work. Unless you have filed a patent over your IP and would like to sue the other party for infringement. Then again, a patent can only be filed on an IP that is both novel and inventive, so it must never have been disclosed/published/presented on before. I believe both you and this ex-postdoc have published the key concept and possibly presented the research data at conferences previously. In that case, there is a chance that both of you cannot file a patent on the IP.

3) What to do then?
You are in your final year, complete your PhD. I don't think it would be good to work in the same lab as the ex-postdoc. You will not be given a fair opportunity to shine at work and may have difficulty getting a reference when you leave.

If you really want to pursue your original stolen PhD idea, you could apply for a research grant yourself when you are a postdoc. But the ex-postdoc is already ahead of you.

Or you can get a job, either in academia or in industry with a more supportive group. If you do wish to go into industry, do so immediately after you graduate as the industry prefers fresh PhD graduates over seasoned people in academia whom they see as too ingrained in the system to adapt to non-academic life.

Thinking about quitting my PhD
T

You are not interested in what you do and do not want to stay in academia. You are right. You should probably go get a job in industry. It is easier to get an industry job without a Phd, otherwise you may be deemed under experienced but overqualified. Get a job then inform your supervisor and quit. Tell no one beforehand. You don't want to be fired from your Phd and RA role before getting a paid position

Salary bands / Grades / Pay scale
T

Many universities around the world uses salary banding system. However, the same level in the different universities may not equate to the same salary. This is true for the universities I have encountered. Best to check their website for their definition of the different salary bands. These are usually public, at least where I am anyway.

Should I switch advisors and how to do it?
T

I would trust your close friend's words over that senior lab person. The senior person probably depended on your supervisors to advance his career and will never admit that results were "enhanced". It would also be an admission of him being complicit in the generating fraudulent data.

If you want to change labs, never tell your supervisor. That is assuming that he was not already informed by this senior lab person. Have a look around other labs with good supervisors and no link to your supervisors. Ask confidentially as your supervisor will not take it lightly that you left him and inform him only after you have secured a supervisor

Urgent advice on PhD offers needed! Should I accept my Australian DTP offer?!
T

A PhD should not be full of pain and sufferring. It only is when you have bad supervisors, have no guidance and lack resources, in which case it's probably best to get out of that PhD ASAP.

Choose a PhD project and supervisor carefully. In fact, I would say that the supervisor is top priority. If the UWA project has a good superviosr, then perhaps consider it. If you have no interest however, perhaps letting go of this opportunity would be best. Life is short, so do a research on a topic that you like. You will need to love the topic to get through the good times and bad in the 3-4 year project.

Help! Do I continue my PhD?
T

I have a very different opinion. I don't think you are suffering from imposter syndrome. People with imposter syndrome usually care a lot about their research, but worry too much about their perceived weakness and may overwork to try to compensate for said weakness. You have no motivation nor interest in your study. You feel bored and put little effort in your research. Usually motivation for Phd is highest in first year and drops steadily as people get setbacks in research. You are just in your first few months and it seems that you are already lacking motivation. Perhaps you may wish to consider if this Phd is truly for you.

I want to quit, but will regre the work I've put in
T

You are still early in your candidature, only about a year in and for half the duration you wanted to quit. No offence, I think you may find the PhD years ahead difficult to go through. You also said that you got a good job lined up for the autumn. Would you consider taking a break, going for that job, and then using that time to think if you still want that PhD?

Thinking of quitting
T

Just finish your PhD, you are so close to the finishing line. Think it as completing a mission. It maybe a bit hard to explain your 4 year gap in your CV too, if you quit now. Use that as a motivation to finish