Last summer I participated in a physics REU. The REU was a ten week program. Things started to go wrong as soon as I arrived. One of my official mentors had already left and gone to work at CERN for the summer and my other official mentor was going to work at CERN the next day. By elsewhere I mean at another institution. So, they basically threw me on two different professors who had no idea (OK, well very little idea) that I was coming. They literally had nowhere for me to sit on the first day. My first assignment was just to do a lot of background reading. Then they started giving me real research assignments but basically these assignments were all disconnected and short and relatively trivial. Furthermore, the two professors didn't really seem interested in the results. So after about a week-and-a-half, I realized that my project was going nowhere. I won't bore you with the rest of the story, but in fact my project did go nowhere for the rest of the ten weeks. In fact after the fifth week, one of my substitute mentors went off to work at CERN and then during the last week the other substitute mentor went to work at CERN, leaving me all alone, having lost four different mentors. My question is: should I have quit? Should I have returned my stipend paycheck, gone home or gone back to my university? I know several professors who probably would have offered me much much better work if had asked them at that time. And if not I could have taken summer classes and knocked off some liberal arts requirements. I didn't even think of quitting at the time. But if I had thought of it, there are probably some ethical issues involved. There is no "official" contract that I signed that bound me to stay or anything. But I did accept the offer to do the project in an e-mail and I'm not sure if that legally binds me to stay out the whole duration. Would I have been on shaky legal ground if I quit? What would you have done?