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Want to quit my PhD

Hi everyone! I'm 26, female, final year PhD student.
I want to quit. I have problems with my physical and mental health because of my studies, was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADHD, chronic migraines. Usually 1-2 times per month I have flu-like illnesses because my immune system is weak.
I struggle every day and I have absolutely lost interest to my work and subject. I started my PhD in my early 20-s, right after masters. I was enthusiastic and really wanted to become a lecturer or an academic. At the same time I started during the pandemic and PhD was the only choice at that time (issues with work or further education).
I worked hard. My supervisors are amazing and supportive and first two years of work were amazing. During my third year I got a burnout because of the amount of work and deadlines (in our uni you have to submit a piece of writing of a particular length every year). These drafts were incomplete and bad quality because of the timeline, so I can't conduct my research how I actually want. I had a severe burnout and I'm still recovering, I'm absolutely unable to work and write. Everyday I experience bad emotions and guilt. I am overthinking and making mistakes. I feel scared and stressed.
I am depressed and days go by with no work done. I am tired, I have no interest, it feels like a burden. I just want to quit or finish it and never think about it again.
I realized that I've made lots of mistakes in my data collection and theoretical framework and now I'm trying to fix it. I realized that I misunderstood many things and that I don't have enough background and theoretical knowledge necessary for the project.
I have no friends, hobbies or relationships. My life is miserable and I'm unhappy. I feel that PhD was my biggest mistake.
Some of my friends took extensions or suspensions but I don't want it because I'm sure that I won't be able to come back to the level of stress that PhD gives me after trying something else in life and living happily.
I have help - therapist and my family, my parents are ok with my decision.
Summer is the hardest part of the academic year at my course. I just want to spend time with my family and have holidays. I feel that there is no end in my work and the amount of work scares me.
I want to prioritize my health and do something that I really like. I realized that I hate writing and hate academic writing, I want a job where I can communicate with people. I want to wake up happy and have a happy life.
I'm at my lowest point of my life now. I don't want to be a failure, I'm turning 27 soon and I feel that I simply wasted the most exciting years of my life. Maybe I should defend it as an MPhil and then do something else. I really want to be an academic librarian or work in a student centre in a university. Since my current work is connected with education, I believe that it will help me somehow.
Thank you for reading this.
(edited 1 month ago)
In my opinion, stopping doing something you hate which is making you unwell is a sign of maturity, not failure.

You sound like a bright young lady with insight, so make a decision which is good for you!
No learning, positive or negative, is ever totally wasted in my experience.

I gave my PhD up much older than you, and for different reasons. Although I had always wanted to do a doctorate, I was pregnant and wanted to give 100% to my child.
Walking away from study was the sanest decision I’ve ever made in retrospect!
It’s perfectly possible to lead a happy, successful life without a PhD.

The suggestion of getting some academic credit for what you’ve done so far is really sensible. I would also suggest asking for an academic reference, if you think it would be reasonable.
You never know if it might come in handy later on.

It’s the beginning of a new phase of your life. Good luck!
Hi there,

I'm really sorry to hear about your severe burnout and everything that you've been through. What you're experiencing is a lot and it'd inevitably take its toll. There's absolutely no shame in quitting, with or without an MPhil to your name. Health and happiness should always take priority, and it seems the sensible way forward.

You mention about wanting to become an academic librarian. I'm not sure what qualifications are needed for that - it is possible that having an MPhil might help, but there may be other ways into that career path. Maybe schedule an appointment with your uni's careers service, or ask your supervisors (if you haven't already - seeing as they seem generally great and supportive?).

Wishing you better health going forward! :hugs:
Don’t do it! Just complete it. You can’t worry about what others are doing. You are young get it out of the way so you can enjoy life in the later years. Guess what time still goes on so why not finish. I finished my course work in 2014 wanted to quit but finally defended in 2019. I too felt my whole life was evolved around the PhD I hated it it was no longer fun or engaging. I had a full-time job and was a single parent but get it’s doable. With that said only YOU can make this decision because you know what you’re capable of and your thresholds. Best of luck but 27 is really young to get a feat like this out of the way. Who is to say down the road you won’t be married or have kids demands of work where you really will be stretched thin. Do what’s best for you but just know it’s never a waste. Best wishes!

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