First of all, I need to apologize for another PhD quitting tread. I’ve been reading tons and tons of similar posts over the past few months but nevertheless my story is quite different and not just another 2nd year blues. I’d very appreciate your suggestions and opinions. It is not going to be short but you might find it interesting anyway 🙂

Unlike many other people who go very straight up with their education, my path was very curvy and unpredictable: I am from a eastern European (non-EU) country where I began studying medicine at the age of 16 (right after 10 years of school). 6 years later I graduated with an MD in Preventive Medicine and Public Health. This was followed by a year of professional specialization in Epidemiology that I did in the same medical school. My diploma project was related to some specific infectious diseaseses. After I finished and became a Doctor of Epidemiology, I was still unsure if I really want to stay in epidemiology but I knew I want to continue with infectious diseases. At the same time I felt a huge urge to get out of the country and experience something new as well as challenge myself. That actual feeling of proving myself was the engine that drove me further and further later on. So, I set to find an internship somewhere working with those infectious diseases. It happened that I found a place in the prestigious university of one of the Middle Eastern countries. This internship was a lab-based research.. It was new and exciting. I saved some money, got a small scholarship and went for this adventure. I jumped into unknown world of biomedical research and academic lifestyle. It was not easy but I needed to prove myself that I can do it. I worked hard and was very interested to study everything I could in that lab. Initially planned 5 months became more that 1.5 years of at some point paid internship. I worked on the applied projects and I liked it as it was clear to me why I am doing it and what’s the goal of it. My PI appreciated my courage and dedication and as I was involved in many projects – I became a co-author of several papers. That experience convinced me that molecular biology and science are the things I want to do as it was interesting to discover so many things medical students are never taught. So, I decided to study molecular biology and I needed a new challenge. Europe seemed like a next step. I applied for several universities and got accepted for MSc in molecular biology in a old and well known university of a rich European country. That was super hard-core and unexpected experience. The program was international and very very competitive. The work load was super high and things were extremely difficult. I was sitting on the lectures and panicking, as I could not understand what they are about. There was no language barrier. There were years of BSc in biology that I did not have… Nevertheless, I locked myself in the library and managed to stick to it despite enormous stress and anxiety. I passed all the exams with good grades and got very confident and proud of myself. I was very interested and really liked most of what I studied, so I guess it was the driving force. For my Msc thesis, I wanted to stay in the same area of infectious diseases, but there were no such labs in that university. I was searching for a lab worldwide doing this kind of research, sending lots and lots of emails and eventually I found a place in a lab in a good University of another even richer and more prestigious European country. More importantly the proposed project was in line with experiences in the Middle Eastern University so I was happy to continue doing applied research in that area. I had to arrange all the formalities and organize that external Msc thesis. Did that. Went on- spent 9 months working on the MSc thesis. Really liked that subject and technology I worked with. This work got even published and I am co-first author there. I wanted to stay in that area and do more applied projects and grow in that narrow field that would allow me to become an expert in that applied area of that disease. Asked the PI in that lab to stay as a PhD and told him that I want to continue working on the same applied topic. He agreed. However, when I started the PhD he convinced me that it’s not gonna be a good topic and talked me to accept a very vagus idea of a basic research that I was supposed to develop into something. I was not very sure, confused, very reluctant, but decided to try doing basic reasearch as I trusted my adviser and….. That was a beginning of a big mistake.

I am now 2 years into my PhD. The project got stuck and I have very little data on it. I tried hard to make some progress but faced tons of failed experiments. Than one day my PI came to me and said “ok, this stuff is not working, try that one” and gave another vague topic that I was not interested at all. It was so random, even more random that the initial idea. This together with the toxic environment in the lab led to a complete burn out. I have never felt that bad in my life. Anxiety and panic attacks and also realization that during last 7 years I was chasing a career dream I do not want to do anymore. I lost all the confidence and literally hate going to the lab and doing experiments. And because of that- I procrastinate a lot and do very little and even these things do not work. My PI is a very nice guy and he is trying to help but I am so mad at myself that I bought his argument in the beginning of my Phd and did not search for other options. I’ve lost all the motivation to continue doing this and realized that it is not he right path for me and I do not want to do research anymore at all. Moreover I see that those who finish struggle to find a job outside of academia anf those who manage – mostly go into pharma. I could’ve gone there 7 years ago, right after the medical school. In fact some of my friends did that and now have progressed in their carriers very high and they do not have a Phd. All these years I was driven by the idea to prove myself I can go up higher and higher. And I know that I can- I just don’t see the point anymore. I feel like wasting another 2 years of doing something I do not like would be even more hurtful that quitting after 2years of PhD. I do not regret the master I did but regret starting the PhD without giving it a good thought (well, as many I suppose). My adviser will retire in 2 years, so I need to come up with a thesis on the subject I am not interested in almost no time. Moreover the environment in the lab became very toxic. All the people who were there during my MSc thesis left and the new ones are busy playing politics and fighting. I’m turning 30 in 6 months. If I quit it now- I would regret, if I do not quit- I will be miserable and extremely unhappy. And then finish (if) at 32 to start a new career again… This alone makes me extremely stressed.

On a good site- I realized that I’m quite good at presenting and teaching and I enjoy solving logical problems and thinking as well as talking about science and communicating with people in general. Lab work can be very isolating and depressing. So, I am trying to see if I can apply for some position in pharma, such as medical affairs but of course unfinished PhD is a shitty stain on my quite interesting and overall successful CV. I know that dropping out would ruin it but I feel completely drained and out of energy to continue doing this as this PhD has became something I never wanted to do and now I am stuck thinking what to do with it and with my life. I did not mention all the high expectations of my family and friends and that they would be disappointed. It is also ruining my relationship and I need to change something not to go crazy again. All these years I needed to challenge myself and prove that I CAN go one step higher. Now I know that I probably can do it, it is just so pointless and unpleasant.

I am sorry for such a long text. Would very much appreciate your ideas on what the hell I am doing with my life. Thanks.

About me:

  1. I’m in my last year of undergraduate studies majoring in cognitive science at a very prestigious university.
  2. I’m very interested in going to graduate school for neuroscience.

My concerns:

  1. I lack research experience. I recently just learned about how wonderful neuroscience is so I have a very late start compared to my already-competent peers. I did apply to RA positions but was rejected to all of them. I will be graduating in one semester so I do not have enough time to build up my research experience. After graduating, what can I do to be more competent – research experience wise?

  2. I have a mediocre GPA (3.077). I did not take any courses like chemistry, or physics. Many programs make these a requirement. I also did poorly in my math classes – as it is not my strength. But I did very well in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, biology psychology, philosophy, and sociology. Since I only have one semester left, I don’t have enough time to take classes that programs want. Will GRE subject tests be able to compensate?

  3. Is there any hope for someone in a situation like mine? I feel very lost and hopeful, to be honest. Any words of advice would be helpful.

My current plans:

  1. Self-learn R, Matlab, Python, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  2. Take on the habit of reading papers related to the field, in order to build knowledge.
  3. Will apply to many RA positions.

So, I am a Ph.D. student and maintaining a very good GPA. My offer letter said that I only need to maintain 3.0 GPA to renew my TA fellowship. However, when I came to the place, I got RA very early. My PI has a very stressful character (she keeps comparing me to some students she thinks failure and saying that I should stay away from science as well as say that I am the bottom line of her group ). Finally I cannot stand all the stress and had a tense discussion with her that I will leave my group.
I do not know what she has said to people in my department but the chairman said I would need a supervisor to get even TA funding from the department but it is already winter break and it is very hard for me to get a supervisor.
If they want to cut my funding, will they send me an official notification about that? Or I just stay here and in the next spring, they will say that I do not get fund.

I am in my first year of a finance PhD at a top 25 program. I could get through the program and get an okay job, but my goal isn’t just to be another professor, I want to be absolutely outstanding, which I think I am capable of, but I feel like right now I don’t have the math and stats background to be the best, and I can’t take enough electives during my coursework years to get that foundation I’m looking for.

Honestly I’d also like to get my PhD at a better school. Part of it is looking for better placement opportunities, part of it is looking for a better education/mentor, and part of it simply vanity I guess – if I’m going to get a PhD I want it to be the way is prefer, and I’d prefer a degree from a school I can really feel proud of.

So… what I’d LIKE to do is get an MS in statistics, an MS in math, then reapply to top 10 finance PhD programs (not only am I looking for more background, yes, I actually WANT to do this). And no, I’m not interested in just “learning after I’m an assistant professor”. I don’t see myself having time to get top publications while learning a bunch of background information, and I want to hit the ground running with my first job.

I’ve had some people tell me getting an MS in math before beginning my PhD was pointless and a waste of time, but I’ve discovered that a lot of the PhD advice I’ve been given was bad advice and I should have simply done what I thought was a good idea.

My question is whether this is a feasible plan or not.

This question already has an answer here:

I am a Full-Time research scholar in finance about to submit my thesis in a month or two.

After this is it good to go for post-doc or as a lecturer in finance?

If I apply for lecturer will colleges entertain it as I am a fresher?

And one more doubt I got is, Am I eligible to apply for Post-doc position after submitting my thesis? or should I wait until the completion of Vivo-voce and/or graduation? Because its time-consuming process to receive Vivo-voce.

Kindly give your valuable suggestions

I am currently almost done with my undergraduate education as a physics major in the US. I’m applying to graduate schools for Fall 2018, and when applying, I noticed that many (if not all) universities require that my ‘Home/Permanent’ address be an address from my home country.

So, when they issue an i20, is that going to be sent to my home country’s permanent address (where my parents live), even though I’m already living in the USA?

If so, I have two questions:

i) Can I re-apply for a fresh F1 Visa (as a PhD student) while still living in the USA, or would I have to go to the consulate in my home country and go through the formalities as I did the first time?

ii) If the answer to i) is that I can do so while in the USA, do I simply ask my parents to send the i20 to myself once they receive it?

Please feel free to move/suggest a more appropriate forum for this question!

I planning to drop out of a PhD program after one semester because of my encounter with a professor with little experience.

This professor is also very intervening, non-perceptable, unapproachable, and worst of all, willing to go to any extent to sabotage my career.

The advisor altered credits of some courses to make sure that even though I got As in those courses, they will have a tiny efect on my cumulative average grade.
Obviously, when I apply for another university, the fact that I’ve quit and my average grade will raise some questions.

So, what can I say in my statement of purpose that will put my quitting in the best possible light?

My friend is on his way to graduate with PharmD (outside US). He wants to apply for PhD program in US, and have asked his professors that he has worked with in the lab for recommendation letters. However, his professors refused to write him a recommendation letter unless he stays in the lab for 1 more year after graduation to work with the current on-going project (2 of them refused, another one has written him a recommendation letter).

The professor also belittled him when he asked for the recommendation letter, saying things along the line of

Am I, or this university not good enough for you? You must be pompous
for wanting to go to another university.

That particular professor has also shared the rumor in the department that he thinks he is too good to be part of this university. In the past, they have offered him PhD program with scholarship, but have later retracted the scholarship so he rejected the offer to stay with them. He needs the recommendation letter to apply for PhD program.

What can he do when professors refuse to write recommendation letter for him unless he works with them longer? He definitely do not want to stay in that toxic environment anymore.

I am a PhD student in Y university in United States and I finished my MS in X university before my PhD. All professors who provided my recommendation letters work for X. Lately, I have been feeling that I made the wrong choice coming to Y and wanted to go to back to X and talked to my professors from X university. They were very sympathetic to my concerns and agreed to recommend me again for X university. I don’t think I am applying to X anymore and will stay in Y. How do I get back to my professors about this? I wish to maintain a cordial relationship with them.