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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


Will i stay or will i go??

User: MALVOR87 - 25 November 2020 15:22

Basically I am trying to decide whether to leave my phd or continue.
- started the second year of three year funded inter disciplinary phd (main is arts and humanities and computer science (predominantly research into support for social workers to manage stress etc)
- I was a social worker for many many years and decided to leave sw- not to do the phd- that came a year later.
Reason for wanting to do the phd-
- very interested in the topi
-To ‘give back’ to sw and hopefully help sw by providing an effective intervention.
- A personal challenge
- A personal achievement
- To have a focus for 3 years
- Post phd- who knows! - i had thought about lecturing!
Reason for wanting to give up-
-It has taken over my life
-Is impacting on my emotional wellbeing
-I experience supervision as counter productive- Condescending, unrealistic expectations of time limits, belittling, a one way process where supervisors dominate. One supervisor has a completely different personality one to one but when other (main supervisor) is there is completely different- doesn’t listen, condescending. They seem so busy and not really tuned in, always start meeting with ‘i have to go by ...’; I get contradictory input.
-The interdisciplinary aspect is huge - I feel like im doing 2 phds!

Please note - Im not a moaner, or feel sorry for myself- i am a grown woman with 3 grown children, i am usually a confident, emotionally contained person, able to manage huge amounts of work, prioritise tasks, work under pressure, i am a grafter etc - but all this seemed to be eroding.

So I had enough and had made the decision to leave - it just wasn’t worth it.

I spoke with my main supervisor, (even though i had said prior to making this decision and was basically ignored) and advised of my decision to leave and reasons. It has been suggested to me to drop the technology aspect of the phd in favour of exploring non technical support interventions - which in theory should reduce the workload - and have been given time to think about this and to decide whether to continue or leave.

I am finding it difficult to make this decision as I am fearful that what i have been experiencing will just continue - the impact on wellbeing, the condescension, taking over my life, unrealistic demands etc.

Should I give it another go or just bite the bullet and go? Any advice would be gratefully accepted, thank you.

User: rewt - 25 November 2020 20:46

Do you enjoy your PhD topic?
If you enjoy the research and genuinely like the topic a lot of things can become bearable. As getting a PhD is never easy and everyone has to decide if the end goal is worth the suffering in between. I think a lot of things can be fixed or made bearable if you like the research itself but if you have no interest in the work it is hard to be motivated at all.

User: MALVOR87 - 27 November 2020 00:15

Thank you for replying, I appreciate you taking the time and your question is spot on. I do like the topic, I loved doing the interviews for my research and when I can get in the zone I enjoy it. I find the writing difficult, it doesn't come easy- a born author I’m not, lol. Also, if I’m honest its as much the thought of the sheer magnitude of the writing. I think I have realised in the last day or two that I don't have a strong self belief, I am worried I can’t do it! Imposter syndrome? Further, My dad passed away at the end of July and while I’m doing ok and have a lovely supportive husband and kids , I am also thinking is this why my head is a bit fried and that this will impact on my ability to progress the phd. I took x2. months off after he died and the work is actually a distraction, if that makes sense? OMG I sound like I need a psychiatrist!
Thank you rewt and I hope all is going good with you.

User: rewt - 30 November 2020 22:10

I am glad I can help :)
I am sorry about your Dad and send my deepest sympathies. You don't need a physiatrist, every PhD student has moments like yours when everything goes wrong and wrecks you. Though it sounds like you enjoy the research and that should help you contextualise whatever decision you make.

User: MALVOR87 - 02 December 2020 14:10

Thank you.

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