strydomj
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#1
Hi all, I am looking for some honest advice.
I graduated with a BA in Molecular Medicine in 2020. During the summer I was terrified that I wont have anything to do in September so I applied for masters degrees, PhDs and also sat the GAMSAT for graduate entry medicine during my final year. In the end I received both a funded PhD and graduate medicine offer. I decided to start my PhD in respiratory immunology and defer medicine for a year just in case things dont work out.
Here I am now, 6 months into my PhD. The science is very interesting but also quite overwhelming. My supervisor moved labs so things are only getting set up now and I havent actually set foot in the lab at all. She is also pregnant and will be going on maternity leave. I am miserable and extremely negative about my situation but I dont want to blame my supervisor either (a lot of it is not her fault). However, I feel that I have not been given a lot of support or guidance and a lot of false promises have been made. The idea of medicine is attracting me more and more, especially with the fact that I have a place to start in September. A job in academia is becoming more and more awful to me.
Graduate entry medicine will be a big financial burden and many say that it is not wise to quit a fully funded phd for no income and debt.
I guess I just want some advice on whether it is worth continuing with my PhD and just hope it gets better or quit while I am not that far into it with little valuable lab experience and start medicine in September?
0
reply
ecolier
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 week ago
#2
(Original post by strydomj)
Hi all, I am looking for some honest advice.
I graduated with a BA in Molecular Medicine in 2020. During the summer I was terrified that I wont have anything to do in September so I applied for masters degrees, PhDs and also sat the GAMSAT for graduate entry medicine during my final year. In the end I received both a funded PhD and graduate medicine offer. I decided to start my PhD in respiratory immunology and defer medicine for a year just in case things dont work out.
Here I am now, 6 months into my PhD. The science is very interesting but also quite overwhelming. My supervisor moved labs so things are only getting set up now and I havent actually set foot in the lab at all. She is also pregnant and will be going on maternity leave. I am miserable and extremely negative about my situation but I dont want to blame my supervisor either (a lot of it is not her fault). However, I feel that I have not been given a lot of support or guidance and a lot of false promises have been made. The idea of medicine is attracting me more and more, especially with the fact that I have a place to start in September. A job in academia is becoming more and more awful to me.
Graduate entry medicine will be a big financial burden and many say that it is not wise to quit a fully funded phd for no income and debt.
I guess I just want some advice on whether it is worth continuing with my PhD and just hope it gets better or quit while I am not that far into it with little valuable lab experience and start medicine in September?
As you already have a medicine offer, your question is more appropriate for this forum rather than the medicine forum - which is to ask about getting into medicine.

I hope you can get the answers in this forum.
1
reply
Helloworld_95
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 week ago
#3
Quitting a PhD can definitely be a wise choice, I don't think anyone who has done a PhD themselves would dispute that. In particular you've highlighted a number of issues which come up again and again which are a big problem for PhDs and academia in general which you don't really get exposed to before you start your PhD, and if you came straight from your bachelor's this will be even more difficult. PhDs aren't a magic key to employment so they're not something which inherently gives a lot of value unless you want to go into academia.

That said you should also consider whether medicine is what you really want to do. You've potentially made a wrong decision once with the PhD so you should consider if the same circumstances exist for medicine. You have quite a few months to decide so take your time.
1
reply
Secretariat123
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 week ago
#4
Doing a PhD does leave you in a lonely place a lot of the time, but, you do have to be pragmatic here. You are funded, so where will funds come from if you do medicine? I would stick with it and be a bit more proactive,speak to your supervisor about your concerns, they are there to help.
0
reply
QuentinM
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#5
Report 1 week ago
#5
(Original post by strydomj)
Hi all, I am looking for some honest advice.
I graduated with a BA in Molecular Medicine in 2020. During the summer I was terrified that I wont have anything to do in September so I applied for masters degrees, PhDs and also sat the GAMSAT for graduate entry medicine during my final year. In the end I received both a funded PhD and graduate medicine offer. I decided to start my PhD in respiratory immunology and defer medicine for a year just in case things dont work out.
Here I am now, 6 months into my PhD. The science is very interesting but also quite overwhelming. My supervisor moved labs so things are only getting set up now and I havent actually set foot in the lab at all. She is also pregnant and will be going on maternity leave. I am miserable and extremely negative about my situation but I dont want to blame my supervisor either (a lot of it is not her fault). However, I feel that I have not been given a lot of support or guidance and a lot of false promises have been made. The idea of medicine is attracting me more and more, especially with the fact that I have a place to start in September. A job in academia is becoming more and more awful to me.
Graduate entry medicine will be a big financial burden and many say that it is not wise to quit a fully funded phd for no income and debt.
I guess I just want some advice on whether it is worth continuing with my PhD and just hope it gets better or quit while I am not that far into it with little valuable lab experience and start medicine in September?
Most PhD's have a secondary supervisor who you should be able to rely on if there are any difficulties with the first supervisor (being absent on maternity leave, for example), is this the case for you?

If you aren't interested in a job in academia, there are plenty of other options post-PhD that it might be worth considering as well. If you aren't enjoying it though I don't think there is any shame in quitting
0
reply
strydomj
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#6
(Original post by Secretariat123)
Doing a PhD does leave you in a lonely place a lot of the time, but, you do have to be pragmatic here. You are funded, so where will funds come from if you do medicine? I would stick with it and be a bit more proactive,speak to your supervisor about your concerns, they are there to help.
This is exactly why I posted in this forum. I want to make an informed decision and not make a rash one based on my current unhappiness. I am lucky that my parents have agreed to financially support me if I do decide to do medicine. They are also both doctors so I dont feel that I would be going into medicine blind. It has always been around me and in my house but I always said that I would not do what my parents do. Now their job looks like something that I really want to do, while I dont envy my supervisor at all!
I definitely agree that I need to speak to my supervisor but I have no idea how to approach her about it at all...
0
reply
strydomj
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#7
(Original post by QuentinM)
Most PhD's have a secondary supervisor who you should be able to rely on if there are any difficulties with the first supervisor (being absent on maternity leave, for example), is this the case for you?

If you aren't interested in a job in academia, there are plenty of other options post-PhD that it might be worth considering as well. If you aren't enjoying it though I don't think there is any shame in quitting
I would love to approach my supervisor or even my secondary supervisor who are both lovely people but I am so afraid of letting them down! I have no idea how to approach the conversation, even just to say that I am unhappy and am considering quitting but it is not a definitive decision yet..
0
reply
strydomj
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#8
(Original post by Helloworld_95)
Quitting a PhD can definitely be a wise choice, I don't think anyone who has done a PhD themselves would dispute that. In particular you've highlighted a number of issues which come up again and again which are a big problem for PhDs and academia in general which you don't really get exposed to before you start your PhD, and if you came straight from your bachelor's this will be even more difficult. PhDs aren't a magic key to employment so they're not something which inherently gives a lot of value unless you want to go into academia.

That said you should also consider whether medicine is what you really want to do. You've potentially made a wrong decision once with the PhD so you should consider if the same circumstances exist for medicine. You have quite a few months to decide so take your time.
I did not realise that there would be this many issues in my first year. I have no passion for what I do and envy some of my friends who love what they do. Some other people that I know do not have these problems at all and have actively been doing their research from day1. Job security is a massive issue for me and so I was never told that a PhD does not guarantee a well paid job. Both my parents are medical doctors and I envy their job more and more as the time goes on.
I am just terrified of making a mistake by giving up this opportunity but how long will it take for the lab to get settled? I have already lost 6 months and dont know if I am prepared to lose any more...
0
reply
mnot
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report 1 week ago
#9
(Original post by strydomj)
Hi all, I am looking for some honest advice.
I graduated with a BA in Molecular Medicine in 2020. During the summer I was terrified that I wont have anything to do in September so I applied for masters degrees, PhDs and also sat the GAMSAT for graduate entry medicine during my final year. In the end I received both a funded PhD and graduate medicine offer. I decided to start my PhD in respiratory immunology and defer medicine for a year just in case things dont work out.
Here I am now, 6 months into my PhD. The science is very interesting but also quite overwhelming. My supervisor moved labs so things are only getting set up now and I havent actually set foot in the lab at all. She is also pregnant and will be going on maternity leave. I am miserable and extremely negative about my situation but I dont want to blame my supervisor either (a lot of it is not her fault). However, I feel that I have not been given a lot of support or guidance and a lot of false promises have been made. The idea of medicine is attracting me more and more, especially with the fact that I have a place to start in September. A job in academia is becoming more and more awful to me.
Graduate entry medicine will be a big financial burden and many say that it is not wise to quit a fully funded phd for no income and debt.
I guess I just want some advice on whether it is worth continuing with my PhD and just hope it gets better or quit while I am not that far into it with little valuable lab experience and start medicine in September?
I would speak to your supervisor about your concerns. Them going on maternity leave so early into your PhD isnt great for you. You pretty much need a new primary supervisor if they plan to take a substantial maternity leave.

Living in misery for another 3 years is simply not viable, I would have a pragmatic chat about the work packages & supervision and see if you can resolve some concerns and figure out a plan with regards to supervision.

I wouldn't quit straight up, see if the situation is salvageable, you can easily re-address leaving in a few weeks if you are still unhappy and continue to lose confidence in the project but given you have a funded position I would at least see what's possible before walking away.
0
reply
Jpw1097
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 week ago
#10
(Original post by strydomj)
Hi all, I am looking for some honest advice.
I graduated with a BA in Molecular Medicine in 2020. During the summer I was terrified that I wont have anything to do in September so I applied for masters degrees, PhDs and also sat the GAMSAT for graduate entry medicine during my final year. In the end I received both a funded PhD and graduate medicine offer. I decided to start my PhD in respiratory immunology and defer medicine for a year just in case things dont work out.
Here I am now, 6 months into my PhD. The science is very interesting but also quite overwhelming. My supervisor moved labs so things are only getting set up now and I havent actually set foot in the lab at all. She is also pregnant and will be going on maternity leave. I am miserable and extremely negative about my situation but I dont want to blame my supervisor either (a lot of it is not her fault). However, I feel that I have not been given a lot of support or guidance and a lot of false promises have been made. The idea of medicine is attracting me more and more, especially with the fact that I have a place to start in September. A job in academia is becoming more and more awful to me.
Graduate entry medicine will be a big financial burden and many say that it is not wise to quit a fully funded phd for no income and debt.
I guess I just want some advice on whether it is worth continuing with my PhD and just hope it gets better or quit while I am not that far into it with little valuable lab experience and start medicine in September?
Can you afford to pay for GEM? If you can't then there's not really a choice. Student loans aren't really a debt, more of a graduate tax, however, if you will need to use credit cards and personal loans to pay for it then that could land you in some trouble.

It doesn't sound like you're particularly keen on continuing your PhD, I would say to take up your GEM offer, although I am biased as I am a medical student myself. However, the fact that you have an offer for GEM, which is extremely competitive, and you decided to defer and take on a PhD makes me question whether you want to do medicine. Medicine will also be extremely tough, and if you're not 100% committed you will struggle. Given that you had offers for your PhD and medicine, why did you decide to go for the PhD instead of medicine?
0
reply
Helloworld_95
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 week ago
#11
(Original post by strydomj)
I did not realise that there would be this many issues in my first year. I have no passion for what I do and envy some of my friends who love what they do. Some other people that I know do not have these problems at all and have actively been doing their research from day1. Job security is a massive issue for me and so I was never told that a PhD does not guarantee a well paid job. Both my parents are medical doctors and I envy their job more and more as the time goes on.
I am just terrified of making a mistake by giving up this opportunity but how long will it take for the lab to get settled? I have already lost 6 months and dont know if I am prepared to lose any more...
Yep, pretty much hit the nail on the head there. If you're not well prepared for what can potentially occur during a PhD then your experience is luck of the draw.

Regarding choosing medicine, just because you envy your parents' lifestyle doesn't mean it's right for you, you need to explore options by yourself and not just the PhD and medicine, look at other things too. If you end up studying medicine and then 6 months in you find it's not for you then you've just wasted a tonne of money and time to get to that position.

I think it's pretty clear that you should quit the PhD, although as other people have said you should still make an attempt to salvage it. Talk to the PGR tutor for your department, try to talk to a mental health counsellor at your uni, look into what options you have if you quit the PhD and don't do medicine.

You should also consider whether it's a good idea to slog on for a bit longer and get an MPhil, that way you at least get a masters out of it. But the flip side is I think that would make you ineligible for the master's loan, which you will probably need if you decide on a different career.
0
reply
threeportdrift
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 week ago
#12
(Original post by strydomj)
I did not realise that there would be this many issues in my first year. I have no passion for what I do and envy some of my friends who love what they do. Some other people that I know do not have these problems at all and have actively been doing their research from day1. Job security is a massive issue for me and so I was never told that a PhD does not guarantee a well paid job. Both my parents are medical doctors and I envy their job more and more as the time goes on.
I am just terrified of making a mistake by giving up this opportunity but how long will it take for the lab to get settled? I have already lost 6 months and dont know if I am prepared to lose any more...
Your feelings about progress etc are not at all unusual for a PhD half way through the first year and normally I'd say just stick at it. But as you have an offer for grad medicine and have family support for financing that, then you have a very strong alternative.

You aren't letting any Supervisor down by having a discussion about your progress and options. Indeed, the longer you pursue a PhD with a strong chance of dropping out, the more you let them down. At this stage in the academic year they might even be able to negotiate transfer to a new person in October this year.

Getting a funded PhD is very rare, but can be done at any age. Getting an offer for graduate medicine is one of the few things that is even rarer, and probably benefits from doing now rather than later.
0
reply
strydomj
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#13
(Original post by Jpw1097)
Can you afford to pay for GEM? If you can't then there's not really a choice. Student loans aren't really a debt, more of a graduate tax, however, if you will need to use credit cards and personal loans to pay for it then that could land you in some trouble.

It doesn't sound like you're particularly keen on continuing your PhD, I would say to take up your GEM offer, although I am biased as I am a medical student myself. However, the fact that you have an offer for GEM, which is extremely competitive, and you decided to defer and take on a PhD makes me question whether you want to do medicine. Medicine will also be extremely tough, and if you're not 100% committed you will struggle. Given that you had offers for your PhD and medicine, why did you decide to go for the PhD instead of medicine?
I am very lucky that my parents are in a position to financially support me through my studies. My parents are both medical doctors so I do think I have a bit of an idea of what the job entails and the work load. I have looked at some of the course content and it looks super interesting and definitely something that I think I would be able to 100% commit to.
I chose to defer my GEM offer as I got it after my PhD and did not want to let it go. I did not think that I would get the medical school that I wanted with my GAMSAT score and so accepted the PhD. Little did I know that I got an offer for that school and at the time I thought that I should give the phd a go and not just quit without seeing what it is like. 6 months on and I cant stop thinking about medicine and have no interest in my research.
0
reply
Jpw1097
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 week ago
#14
(Original post by strydomj)
I am very lucky that my parents are in a position to financially support me through my studies. My parents are both medical doctors so I do think I have a bit of an idea of what the job entails and the work load. I have looked at some of the course content and it looks super interesting and definitely something that I think I would be able to 100% commit to.
I chose to defer my GEM offer as I got it after my PhD and did not want to let it go. I did not think that I would get the medical school that I wanted with my GAMSAT score and so accepted the PhD. Little did I know that I got an offer for that school and at the time I thought that I should give the phd a go and not just quit without seeing what it is like. 6 months on and I cant stop thinking about medicine and have no interest in my research.
I was going to say that given that your parents are doctors I’m sure the financial aspect isn’t too big a concern, but didn’t want to assume.

I think you have already made up your mind? If I were you I’d probably go for medicine.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Which of these would you use to help with making uni decisions?

Webinars (75)
11.9%
Virtual campus tours/open days (153)
24.29%
Live streaming events (51)
8.1%
Online AMAs/guest lectures (58)
9.21%
A uni comparison tool (146)
23.17%
An in-person event when available (147)
23.33%

Watched Threads

View All