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I started graduate course in a national research institute abroad (3 years ago). I just realized now this is my third year and every year we had different projects.

Main problem is that I am not having enough time to focus in one area to publish papers. Second problem is that I am not obtaining knowledge from the other doctors.

Should I stop pursuing PhD if I feel I am not learning as much as I expected and feeling I am doing someone else work and tasks?

  • Are you working toward a PhD, or do you already have one? In the former case, you should have a thesis -- are you making progress on that at least? – cag51 Feb 6 at 3:37
  • Right I should have already started writing it but haven't yet, I don't have real advisor either. Maybe change to master course and try to finish it. Really messy program – pb772 Feb 6 at 4:12
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You need a path to completion. This means identifying an advisor, a topic, a schedule, etc. I think it's worth taking the time to really try to identify a path before giving up -- but if there is no path, better to recognize this now so you can cut your losses. In this case, switching to a master's and then doing your PhD somewhere else (or not pursuing a PhD at all) could make sense -- it all depends on what you want to do long-term, we can't make your decision for you.

Focus on publishing in the meantime. If you publish lots of interesting papers, you'll have more options no matter what you decide to do next. Fix yourself a set budget (e.g., 20-30 hours per week) for all tasks other than papers and thesis-related research and don't exceed that.

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  1. The downside of academia that you are describing definitely exists. Have been hearing this for generations now (don't get me started on the pyramid, tournament style rewards, job prospects, etc.).

  2. All that said, it is irrelevant to you. Do NOT cut your nose off to spite yourself. You are too close now. Just buckle down and finish and get the degree. It is helpful. And you will kick yourself if you miss it.

  3. Be a little selfish about taking care of yourself on papers, etc. Focus, focus, focus. Pick your spots, but I would avoid volunteering always and also occasionally push back on collateral duties. And push, push, push for papers. They really are the score card...don't let anyone kid you the opposite.

  • +1 for point #3...make time for papers, find time (or not) for everything else – cag51 Feb 6 at 3:54
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At my university, there are some programs that have the students work on projects full time for 2-3 years and then having reduced workload for the other 2-3 years, to write a thesis. This way, the PhD student basically acquires his own funding.
Thus, at least when you are in such a program, it is not uncommon to not have a topic to work on, nor time for papers or anything, in the first few years. Of course if this is the case, it should be made clear, and you should be told (if possible, in your contract) when you will get time and advision (is this a word? No? too bad...) for your thesis.

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