I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my PhD/project in chemistry, and over the past few months have contemplating leaving with a Masters and going on to a different field altogether (physics). Here is what gets at me:

• I am not motivated by my project because a lot of requires boring bench work that I was not told I’d be doing/nor am I good at doing; I was told my project would be one thing (spectroscopy-oriented), but it is becoming something else that I don’t really care for nor am I good at.

• The post-docs in my lab have a favourite and constantly help him and provide me with little insight and put my project constantly on the backburner for our system

• My supervisor is never around, and despite mentioning I want to focus on becoming a physicist, he constantly forgets and pushes more dull chemistry stuff that I am not good at nor interested in

• I don’t like my department at all, the lack of direction in my project, and the city I live in

• I don’t get to actually do anything by myself, I’m always having to watch somebody else or help a little here or there. I don’t understand why my groupmates are like this and it is infuriating to no end. I feel like I have no role in the group/no real purpose

My parents tell me I look miserable all of the time. My friends say the same. I realize that I am not happy at all, mostly because I’m doing something that doesn’t make me feel passionate. I have my passions in a different branch of chemistry and physics altogether, and now I know I need to pursue those because I can’t see myself sustaining myself in this state for an additional 3 years.

My plan is to ask my supervisor kindly to change to a Masters. I even have a plan for what I can do for that thesis that I came up with and could probably get a paper out of it so it should appease him. Furthermore, I want to express to him that is not him, but rather my lack of passion for this project, and that I wish to pursue a PhD in a physics department elsewhere. My plan is then to apply for PhD positions in Northern Europe (dual citizenship, EU passport, but born in Canada). I can then focus on doing a PhD I am genuinely interested in, not a project that I sort of half-assed an interest with just because I was so stoked to do a PhD (I applied for a Masters but was offered a PhD instead and jumped at it without thinking). I applied to one school because I didn’t think I’d be serious about it. I was not too smart 3 years ago.

I have good grades, lots of research experience, and skills in optics/optical engineering. How do you think my chances of getting a PhD position in physics in either Germany, Denmark, Norway, or Sweden?

Thank you!

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