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Lost desire for research, should I stick out the Ph.D.?

  1. Nov 2, 2011 #1
    I'm currently about half-way (3.5 years) through a Ph.D. program at a top optics program in the U.S., my research is in experimental AMO. I've come to realize that I've lost the passion for research I once had, and really have no desire to enter any career field requiring a Ph.D. I have a hard time connecting with the academic world in general anymore, and just getting through a day of research is a struggle. The thing is, I've already passed all my comprehensive and oral exams and have a master's degree. I have no problems with my advisor or research group, though. Given how far I've come, it seems stupid to drop out now, but I just can't see myself making it through a dissertation. I do have the masters to fall back on, but even so, the economy right now isn't exactly outstanding, so I'm uncertain of the chances of finding a job. My life feels stalled right now due to how much I dislike what I'm doing. Should I just suck it up and finish? My research skills are in the area of lasers (semiconductor, fiber), ultracold atoms, and spectroscopy. Anyone familiar with how well these would transfer to industry?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2011 #2
    If you can finish, then do. One thing that you need to figure out is whether or not you are having a bad moment which is typical for all Ph.d.'s, or if there is something more serious going on.

    As far as employment goes, you will be much more employable with a Ph.D. than without one, simply because having the Ph.D. shows that you were able to overcome obstacles and get something done.
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