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Programs Wrong PhD?

  1. May 7, 2010 #1
    hi everyone,
    I'm in the first year of my PhD in theoretical physics. I had to make a choice between three institutions/subjects last year, and I am starting to think that I made the completely wrong choice. Basically I was hestitating between two of my offers - one of which was exactly what I thought would be my field of choice and more theoretical, but location-wise not ideal (esp. as I wanted to live with my girlfriend), while the other was broader, a bit more 'unknown territory', but I finally chose it as I thought it wouldn't make that much of a difference subject-wise. Research now is not going bad, we're posting our first paper soon, but somehow I've lost all my passion for what I'm doing. I noticed this when I realised that I don't like talking about my work anymore - usually I love explaining what I'm working on and I've always had pretty precise ideas of what kind of work I enjoy in theoretical physics, but this isn't the case at all anymore. I still think what my supervisor does is interesting, and I like his down-to-earth/interested/varied approach to theophys. But it is not the kind of work that I had hoped to pursue, and now I wish more and more I had taken the other offer last year. I'm almost considering quitting and applying again, but I suppose that would mean I loose 2 years. Or I continue this PhD, hoping it gets better and hope to apply for postdocs that allow me to go more theoretical / more into the stuff I feel I'm interested in and good at. I just don't want to do anything drastic as it wouldn't be great for my relationship with my supervisor. Has anyone been in this kind of situation before?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2010 #2


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    I started hating my research about the time we started publishing. I have since graduated, and I hate my research topic so much now that I have not applied to any post doc in that research area. I have been applying to different research areas that I didn't think would be too far-fetched, but so far only rejections. I wish that I would have taken the opportunity to change to a more interesting research topic while I was still a grad student (i.e. while they were still paying me, even if it was in bird crap). And that means, I wish that I would have changed my advisor, even after 3 years of working with him.

    If you really do still find your advisor's research interesting, you need to have a thorough discussion with him/her about why you are working on the most uninteresting part of his/her research, or at least both of you try to figure out why you are not being inspired/challenged. Maybe you need to take on more responsibility? If that doesn't work, then I would change advisor in your situation. It is nothing (necessarily) personal against your advisor, and it is better in the long run for both you and your advisor to avoid the situation that I'm in right now, I think.
  4. May 8, 2010 #3


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    You can always reapply to another PhD progrmme but in an interesting one this time, I understand that the prospect of getting back to a student status isn't ideal, but being unemployed at 31 isn't as well...
  5. May 8, 2010 #4


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    Most universities will not take on doctoral students who already hold a doctorate.
  6. May 8, 2010 #5


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    Which are the most universities?
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