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PhD topic not as expected

You are highlighting all the hallmarks of a potential bad PhD. Lack of PhD structure, no direction, complete dependence on another project, no supervisory or lab support and no materials.

I prefer to tell PhD students to trust their gut feeling. You felt that this was a bad decision. You may be right in this case. You are early in your PhD and it is easy for you to change to another project with another supervisor. Perhaps it may be time for you to start talking to other PhD students and supervisors to identify a new project and direction for yourself.

I don't believe in waiting because in all the cases I have seen and from what I experience, bad projects never change to become a good or excellent one. At best, a bad project just becomes an "ok-can-somewhat-be-considered-as-PhD-material" and at worst, the poor student fails the PhD at the end despite all the efforts to rescue it.

Quitting a PhD - How to do it?

How to quit? Just tell your current supervisor that this PhD is not for you and that you quit. Apologize and thank her for her time and wish her the best for the future. There are more students than PhD positions so she should be able to get another very quickly.

You do not need to tell her where you are going. Some grudgeful profs contact the new employer or PhD supervisor to badmouth their former student. You don't want that. Quiting is usually pretty immediate after you inform verbally and then send an email to your uni. Maybe you need to tidy up your desk and lab feezer, but all in all, you should leave the place in a few days tops. Meanwhile, you can get a temp job till you start your new PhD.

Motivational advice

Quote From orchid11:
Hi! I've just started my phd 3 months ago in a different field from my masters, moved to another country and feeling already low and overwhelmed perhaps by the culture differences. I've finished my project outline and has kind of a plan of what to do. But the problem is, I'm not sure how to approach it, because the techniques are totally new to me. I try to read up a lot but when I seen other people starting on their project although they started the same time as me, I feel like I'm stuck. There is this constant feeling that I'm not as smart as others although I should not feeling that way. I used to be really cheerful and happy but after starting this phd I feel like I'm not myself. I'm not sure if this is a common situation or do others feel the same way as me too?

Starting a PhD itself is hard, let alone in a new country. Give yourself some time to adjust. On learning the techniques, could you ask an experienced technician or postdoc to show you the ropes? Reading and practical are two different things and you can learn so much quicker in person. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Major Corrections questions! Contacting old supervisor?

In my uni, minor = 3months, major = 6 months. So you are alright.

If you are unclear about any comment from your external, then you can contact them. But you are not allowed to ask back and forth on your answers to their questions and comments.

Ask you current supervisory team before you contact your old supervisor, just to be sure that they are happy with it.

Most people with major corrections do get through. Revise and resubmit is a more tricky position to be in. I have only heard of one student whose correction got rejected and she ended up with a master but I do not know the details at all as it was way before my time. Not in the UK by the way.

going to HK for PhD after Bachelor vs. staying in Europe for the Master

Quote From jasonger:
Thanks for your replies... I also felt this actually is a a very good chance cause of the lab environment and so on is good.

And I do not really plan to settle in Asia, even though it would be acceptable if there would be really good career chances (with good working environment and salary, especially maybe in places like HK/SG/Japan/Korea). But I plan something else. And I do realize that many of the faculty did not get their PhDs in HK, however I am wondering if it is a bias or also cause research (especially in physics) was not big in HK 20-30 years ago.

The professor has very close ties to some european and asian universities, but I am not aware of much connections to North America / Australia.

I guess, my situation is really difficult to decide, probably just can flip a coin in the end.

You have an excellent well-known potential supervisor with good, supportive working lab environment from which graduates got good postdocs later in their career. To say that you will flip a coin to decide if you want to join this lab is an insult.

Since you do not realise the gold in your hands, I guess it is perfectly fine for you to just pass on this opportunity to someone else who can appreciate it better.

Worried about unemployment after graduating...

Dear FP,

Looking for employment can be a challenging process, depending on your location and the type of roles that you are aiming for. It can take from 6 months to one year to land a job. And yes, it can be emotionally draining.

I note that you are currently doing a master and going to apply for a PhD. Could you stop to think why you are doing a PhD? Is it because you truly want to become a Professor? Or is it to delay/avoid job finding? Your field is computer science, and I know that in this field, work experience is more valued than high academic qualifications so you may wish to reconsider that PhD if you intend to look for a job in the industry after doing a PhD as you may be seen as academically overqualified but having little work experience. If you wish to pursue an academic career or maybe even start your own consulting business, then yes, continue with your PhD.

How to cope with the inevitability of job hunting and stress it brings? Try telling yourself that every rejection gets you one step closer to the your dream job as you have learned from that application. Some people apply for up to 50 or more jobs before they land on one (depending on your current location). You can also take on minor roles (cleaner, tutoring, waitressing, etc) while waiting for your dream job, to reduce financial stress. In summary, you just have to deal with it head on because job hunting is unpleasant, but hey, we all have bills to pay.

Failed PhD

Hi, adamA,

Congrats over overcoming crazy hurdles and coming out victorious. Thanks for the share.

Not academia or industry, what else?

Quote From kenziebob:
Hi everybody.

I'm part way through my second year of a PhD that is interdisciplinary in psychology (covering health and clinical psychology). I am starting to think about what to do after I finish and I'm really not sure which route to follow. I am thinking about academia but I realise how competitive it is, and as I am quite unique in where I 'fit' academically I'm not sure there will be a lot of room for me anywhere.

I'm also not in a lab-based field, so I can't really go to industry.

I realise this is an odd ask and I have done extensive googling before posting this, but I was wondering if those of you who have finished your PhD's could share about what you have been up to since you finished? If you are in academia how do you find it, and for those not in academia what do you do?



Hi, Kenzie,

Think deeply about where your interests lie. If you are not interested in pursuing a career in academia, then finishing with a master and getting into a role to build up work experience maybe a better strategy. Your PhD may not be appreciated as much outside academia. However, if you want to be a lecturer or a researcher, then a PhD is absolutely necessary.

If you are researching going into industry, have a look at Versatile phd, Cheeky Scientist, and various articles online including https://medium.com/@pwolgin/an-academics-guide-to-getting-a-non-academic-job-fa9d566b57fb. All the best!

PhD in Physics and still unemployed after 3 months

You didn't actually say what type of jobs you are applying for besides data science or the organisations that you are targeting.

If your are targeting postdoc positions in academia, could your supervisor help? Usually the first postdoc position is secured by recommendation from your supervisor.

If you are targeting industry positions, then just having a PhD does not mean that you will have the advantage of getting the job. Big companies like Astra Zeneca, GSK and GE has industry postdoc programmes which you could apply. Or you could also try getting into the graduate roles with the Big Four accounting firms.

Searching for a job can take from 6 months to a year. Don't give up. Persevere on.

Judging whether to working under a Potential Junior Supervisor at a Prestigious Institute

Please take a break, maybe even a couple of months and then try looking for a job. After you got a job, you can try to look for a PhD again so you can choose a good one without desperation. You are tired, stressed and confused at the moment. No one can make a good rational decision in your state. Stop. Take a break. Then try again.

Judging whether to working under a Potential Junior Supervisor at a Prestigious Institute

Quote From monkia:
I totally agree with you, and I am afraid of course to jump in another bad experience, however, this is going to be interview by the end of January and have to travel to the country institute for conducting the interview. One of the big concerns now is my financial situation as my contract is ending by the end of this month and I don't know whether they are going to renew it, indeed I need a vacation, but I have to financially stable, it is not easy. The other supervisor he told me he doesn't guarantee to get the fund, but he will deposit an application for me, I felt really good with another potential supervisor, however, this isn't definite. However, I agree that this junior supervisor is weird, but I will give it a try and see in him in person and see whether there are other applicants rather than me with him. Thanks again for your advice and wish for me the good luck.

I don't think you should waste your already limited finance to travel for the interview with the junior PI. It is also a very small world. The likelihood of you finding a other supervisor while interviewing with him is very small. No other supervisor would be that rude to take in another supervisor's finalist candidate. You may wish to rethink this. Additionally, what if the junior PI tries to power pressure you into accepting the position? Like introducing you to all the big players in the instute as his future student? Are you in the right state of mind to say no? Turning an interview down due to change of circumstance is always acceptable.

If finance is your main concern, it would be more rational to apply for jobs and work while searching or waiting for better opportunities. Take a break from phD. I think you need it.

Judging whether to working under a Potential Junior Supervisor at a Prestigious Institute

Quote From monkia:
Hello Guys again,

Now there are different updates! This junior PI has selected me as a finalist candidate to visit the institute although he didnot reply to my emails. In this official email, I have to do presentation and so on. As you may know, my current situation is so awful and working on topic way off from my background and also not interesting. Moreover, there is no other opportunities in the recent time, someone promised me, but have to wait another year. I really feel lost, but have no options.

There is always an option. It is very weird that this junior PI is forcing you to be his student. He probably didn't get any other application at all, hence his desperation. My opinion is that it is better to wait one year for an awesome supervisor than to get one now who is awful. Don't jump into another bad PhD. Have a break too. Your health needs it.

PhD Affecting all of my Relationships (family, friends, partner)

Hi, Fifthyear,

Ah the joy of the final year.... not... I do remember without fondness how I felt then. The stress of toiling away while no one truly understands you does get to you sometimes. And you envy what others have in their life that you don't.

Don't worry. As TreeofLife says, you will find it changes for you once you finish your PhD.

1.5 months into PhD and I'm really struggling. How long to give it before considering quitting?

Hi, YorkFuller,

1.5 months is too early to judge if you should or shouldn't continue your PhD. Give yourself another 2 months to try it out. Aside from sports club, you can join postgrad clubs. Try to sort out your personal life too. If after a total of 3 months you still have not settled or if you feel strongly that PhD is not for you, then you may go at that stage knowing that you have tried.

I'm failing grad school

Hi, doradorawis,

I agree with the advices given here. You do need to get counselling and talk to your advisor about your issues. The counselling should help sort out your emotional and mental state while the open discussion with your supervisor may buy you some time and even additional help to sort out your PhD and get you back on track.You have been through a lot of hardship. Please seek help to get through these difficult times.