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To the point, I do love conducting research, however, I have put myself in a very difficult point of research that made me switch to another Ph.D. program for the sake of more technical support. However, I found the other group doesn't have the required set-up devices as they have mentioned earlier before arrival, moreover, they don't have any idea how to solve this complicated point which they are interested in already. Finally, I felt I am in the same blank loop.

To be honest, I began to lose motivation and passion and sometimes I feel lost. I don't know what to do, I see crappy research published and seems everything to me to be fake, I am asking myself: Why this happens to me?.

My dream is to be like Carl Segan, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and present interesting science TV show one day, but I don't know how to reach this goal and present what I am really interested in.

Honestly, I don't know how should be the exact question, but I feel miserable, I don't know whether I have to look for another different point of research and easy to be solved. This would obligate me to look for another different research lab.

Maybe I am not smart enough, but, I began to feel academic field is so dull and boring. I would like to hear what I should do in that complex situation as I cannot dare to speak with anyone in my current research lab about my situation.

marked as duplicate by Cape Code, Scientist, Buzz, scaaahu, OBu Nov 16 '18 at 11:56

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  • Just would like to note, that after switching labs, Unis and advisers once before, it could become very difficult to convince another adviser/University/lab to accept you as a PhD student unless you can motivate it brilliantly (I currently can't think of a sufficiently good motivation however) - from your current record, it does not seem likely you will stick with yet another new lab and finish. As a side-note, PhD salaries (or bursaries) are typically quite low everywhere. Also, success in academia comes from persisting through a lot of failures; which you might perceive as dull and boring. – penelope Nov 6 '18 at 17:53
  • No, honestly no, i am workaholic person, but I was like a prey this lab welcomed me and promise to do what I was missing from devices. The idea, I need to be in supportive vibes, a good supervisor I can exchange what I did and have a constructive feedback, it was always one side. I don’t know where this be end, but what I know I still like do research, but not in that conditions. – Julain Nov 6 '18 at 18:08
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    One can make a mistake with a supervisor once; doing it twice may still be bad luck, but indicates that you may want to evaluate the criteria by which you choose either supervisor or topic. It still may be bad luck, Can you move to a more theoretical treatment which does not require the particular equipment you need? – Captain Emacs Nov 6 '18 at 22:27
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    @Julain It sounds like you're going through a really hard time. I'd really like to help you, but unfortunately, we're not well-equipped to do so here. Your best option is probably to call a Suicide Prevention Lifeline. People are on call there to talk to people struggling with the same kind of issues you are, regardless of location. US: +1-800-273-8255. If calling's not good, they can chat with you live online. Just go to this site, and you can talk with someone online from 10PM-6AM UTC: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx It might not help, but what's the harm? – StrongBad Nov 8 '18 at 16:21
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    Julain, since according to your comments you seem to live in Europe, you can refer to one of these suicide hotlines. People are on call there to talk to people struggling with the same kind of issues you are, regardless of location. If calling is not good, you can chat with them live online here. – Massimo Ortolano Nov 8 '18 at 18:47
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If you lack motivation in your research because you feel like you lack the resources/knowledge to tackle the problem, then you should probably discuss this with your advisor. It is important that the advisor offers you projects that can be 'broken down' into small, manageable pieces, rather than some monolithic task.

A PhD is often an isolating and depressing experience. You should find a support system of some sort to help you through the process. This can be family, friends, or fellow students. You can consider taking up a hobby (preferably something social, like sports) to give you an outlet that's not research.

I can't comment on what exactly makes some people great thinkers, but I can say that in successful research takes a lot of hard work, vision, and a hearty willingness to fail 90% of the time.

Finally, and I am sorry to say this, but you need to be mentally prepared for the fact that academia is not the right place for you. If it truly depresses you to the point where you don't feel like it's worth it, you should seriously reevaluate your prospects.

  • I like research, But I don’t know why you judge on me that academia is it for me. I am looking for set-up devices which was not found, how to verify what I am thinking about unless I have real measurement. I am sorry to say that half people in academia or more not doing science, it is just crappy research. Where you can find a genuine supervisor, academia need recorrection. – Julain Nov 6 '18 at 17:58
  • There is one solution fabricate results as other big names in research do. I am seeking to do a real scientific work and that costed me a lot and yet there is no green light. – Julain Nov 6 '18 at 18:01
  • Your comments sound like you are frustrated with the academic world and your place in it. I am not judging you, since I don't know you or your situation. All I am saying is that if doing X causes you frustration, aggravation and a general distaste for doing X, then perhaps not doing X anymore is a viable option. – Spark Nov 6 '18 at 18:04
  • I see, I wish only to have a good supervisor, it could makes difference. From my experience, you could have a very interesting point, but your supervisor or other researches don’t have time for you to discuss, I think you understand what boggles my mind. – Julain Nov 6 '18 at 18:14
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You seem to have jumped from one bad situation into another. You can't do that very often and reach success in a reasonable amount of time. You may just have to "tough it out" and do some of the background work yourself if support isn't available.

You should note that your idols spent a long time building scientific reputations before they could become public intellectuals. No one really gets into the public eye without a lot of background work and respect from other professionals.

As to the question of passion, it is hard to say and impossible in general. Many people are motivated by working to solve hard problems, as long as those problems are interesting. Maybe that is what you lack. But hard problems are hard, and many of them require a long time to solve along with a lot of "scut work" that may not be entirely pleasing.

As for short term suggestions, you might talk to your advisor or another trusted faculty member. You might form a group of your fellow students to talk about the bigger issues of your field. Trying to go it alone may not be the best solution.

  • Besides that, I am getting very low salary and this lab in a very isolated European country, it is a dull city, which makes everything unbearable. I am really interested in this point, as it new, but again, I will reach to a wall. Recently, my mental and physical health is getting worse. May be I have to find another lab, as the vibes of this lab is so boring and the same as previous. – Julain Nov 6 '18 at 17:15
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Doing a PhD can be very stressful and socially isolating. We all can have a run of bad luck (I speak from experience and thankfully I got through it).

I suggest you look at the difficulties others have had and, more importantly how they overcame them. Sheer determination and the right strategy can overcome many obstacles.

Here are quotes from the lives of just two famous people.

In 1968, Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard. He later indicated the decision was very much unexpected.[26] The tenure denial has been blamed on several factors, including that he focused his interests too broadly across a number of areas (while the norm in academia is to become a renowned expert in a narrow specialty), and perhaps because of his well-publicized scientific advocacy, which some scientists perceived as borrowing the ideas of others for little more than self-promotion.[22] An advisor from his years as an undergraduate student, Harold Urey, wrote a letter to the tenure committee recommending strongly against tenure for Sagan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan


Steven Spielberg is arguably the most famous director in the world... he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film, and Television three times. It didn't prevent him from achieving world-wide acclaim, though. http://uk.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-didnt-do-well-at-school-2017-5/#steven-spielberg-was-rejected-from-film-school-13

  • Personally, I find arguments like these unconvincing, because they do not seem to be representative and therefore not applicable to ones own situation. For every very successful person who was rejected or failed in some way, there are 100 that stayed mediocre or kept failing. You wouldn't recomend to people to drop out of college, for example, just because Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out but still became hugely successful. Similar to how playing the lottery is not a viable method to earn one's income. – problemofficer Nov 15 '18 at 15:38
  • I didn't advocate dropping out. Spielberg kept trying to get into college - he was determinedly trying to drop in. It's important to use a portion of one's intellect to strategise and change direction if necessary. To be successful one needs to meet and overcome a series of challenges including bullying, plagiarism, lack of funding and so on. There's no shame in evaluating your personality to see if you actually would enjoy that lifestyle and the pressure it brings. Famous people are particularly prone to bullying by the press who are always looking for scandals to bring them down. – chasly from UK Nov 15 '18 at 16:12

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