I am an Indian, who defended his PhD recently in materials science in the US. However, I did not do well in my PhD, as I faced lot of difficulties throughout my PhD. I was doing research in a field different from my supervisors expertise. This did make me independent, but reduced my outcome drastically. I underperformed when compared to my colleagues and research field peers.

I have just two first author publications and two co-authored publications in 5 years of my PhD. I believe that I had worked hard to get the job done. However, I am not sure about my future prospects.

During my PhD, I have taken two undergraduate TA's and found it an interesting experience. Academia has always been my goal. But now, it seems that the career is elusive to me.

I am searching for postdoctoral fellow positions, but not feeling confident about my future academic career.

I realize that my PhD has been mediocre and I don't deserve a career in academia. But, is there no way to recover from a bad PhD outcome? To make the matter worse, I am 30 years old.

I have been offered a postdoc position by my PhD supervisor and that's what I going to do next year.

  • 2
    You might be underestimating yourself. You might want to read this question, which deals with a surprisingly similar case.
    – wimi
    Dec 20, 2019 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


I suggest that you don't give up. You are probably suffering from a bit of letdown after the end of an intense and difficult experience. This is normal and common. But the way forward is to work at it and take advantage of opportunities, as you seem to be doing.

Nothing you say suggests failure. Age is just a number. Two papers is just a start. But I would suggest building a circle of collaborators who can share ideas and work together. Your advisor can introduce you to some people.

But, don't waste time or the post doc opportunity. You have a bit of breathing space. Use it to develop some ideas, perhaps jointly, but also to explore more permanent employment.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .