I know this was asked here many times, but each situation is different than others. I'll tell you my story to get some insight.

Roughly 6 months ago I started a fully funded position for a PhD abroad. My supervisor is good, there's no issue with him, and at first I was really motivated.

Rather quickly, I realized that I was not cut for this, as I don't see myself during this in the future, could easily do that with a MSc and I come from a different background. To add up, during COVID times not everyone is going to the lab, feels really alone and I really don't like the city, walking like a complete stranger.

I feel demotivated, every time more, already seeked professional help, but things were only changing for worst, feeling completely depressed. Obviously, that affects my performance and it grows my frustration even more.

I would resign even before having another job. I don't mind too much about career implications since I don't plan on enrolling on another PhD program. Main thing is that guilt is all around:

  • What would my supervisor say? Since I'm here, 2 students of the lab left. Would that affect him? It's not related to his supervision in my case.
  • What happens with the funding? I'm really worried I'll have to pay something back, although it never mentions that in the contract.
  • What is the best way to address this with my supervisor?

What would you guys suggest? Have you gone through this / do you know someone with a similar experience?

Thank you. Best

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Guilt about quitting PhD as first student of the lab I know it doesn't handle the paying back money, but you don't need to worry about that if it is not in your contract.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 8:46
  • Thank you Jeroen. Yes, I've read that particular answer and that was what motivated me to write here. It does contain a lot of helpful answers, but the case is a bit different here. Maybe I was looking for a similar experience between former PhD candidates.
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 9:59
  • 1
    Are you sure that leaving your PhD will solve your problems? Covid-19 also affects work in the private sector, or when you are without a job.
    – Louic
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 12:40


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