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What should I do if I hate my research?

  1. Sep 22, 2011 #1
    I really, really dislike my research. I constantly find excuses to avoid doing it. But my advisor is such a great guy, and I'm not sure there's a better one than him in the whole department.

    But, again...I get no pleasure or satisfaction whatsoever out of what I'm working on with him. Part of it is that I find the stuff really uninteresting...another part of it is that I just don't think I'm any good at it.

    What should I do? I have my master's degree (in math), and if I write my dissertation, I have my Ph.D...but again, another 1 1/2 or 2 years of this crap might drive me crazy. Has anyone been in a similar situation and can give some advice?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2011 #2
    How did you originally pick your research area? If you chose a different area, would that make you more happy? Are you sure you like research?

    The reason I ask is because I've seen some grad students that came from a Master's program (where their adviser picked the topic) and then they stay in that same area because they're familiar with it. They never really searched for themselves and became unknowingly pigeon-holed into something that could careless about.
  4. Sep 22, 2011 #3
    (1) "How...?" My advisor sent me an email one day in the second semester of my first year of grad school (before I even had a master's) and asked me if I'd be interested in working on a problem he had in mind. Desperate to get my feet wet with research, I said "Sure!" This became my master's thesis topic. I should note that writing, and defending, that thesis was one of the most deeply unsatisfying experiences of my academic career. It literally felt like he was dragging me through every phase of it.

    So, it sounds like I fit the mold of your "pigeon-holed" graduate student perfectly. There are other topics I think I'd be more interested in, but I am simply not sure if this is just me begin a little grass-is-always-greener brat.

    (2) "Are you sure you like...?" Absolutely not. I've thought about this a lot too. I love classes and working on homework assignments - I know that much.
  5. Sep 22, 2011 #4
    You should talk to your advisor about these things. It's important that he knows what you think about the research. If you hate your research, then you should especially tell him.
    Maybe your advisor can suggest a change of your research where you have to go and research something different??

    The main question that pops up right now, is whether you don't like this special research topic, or whether you hate research in general.
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