A young me, BSc grad (Physics; UK RG uni), got a PhD (physics) offer in a field I did not apply for and then accepted (and rejected an offer from a topic I did have experience for) -- now I've 'experienced' the error in my ways, I want to start again. I'm sure some others have gone through the same thing!
The condensed sob story is the PhD I signed up for is for a project that has given me no new skills since my last UG summer internship, is too easy and unstimulating, and fails to push any scientific boundaries because it is more-or-less aiming to test a technique at a UK national lab that has been well documented at other labs; overall has lacklustre scientific impact and does not align with my future interests. Despite asking 4 times to switch topic, my supervsiors always say no and it seems to be funding related; this national lab is the most inflexible research environment I've ever worked in, and I've worked in 5 other research groups now. The 'sob' part of the story is I can't begin to tell you how for the last year this has ruined my mental health. Right now I have suspended my studies and am doing an academic internship in economics (which is going well and I feel better).
- Finish current PhD and somehow find opportunities to gain research skills to apply for a postdoc in a demanding and competitive field (e.g. climate modelling)
- Apply for a new PhD in desired area, start afresh
- Apply for a new PhD in a desired area, but race to submit PhD thesis before joining -- obviously supervisor would state that intention in reference letter. (Yes they know I'm searching for something new; one of them said he'd write me a reference)
The establishment would of course say #1, but unless I start actively disobeying my superiors by doing my own thing (I have very little research freedom; again, I've been in multiple other groups so I can say this), I fail to see how I can gain the skills to switch field to do a postdoc somewhere worthwhile.
I want #2, as it means I can spend the intervenning time upskilling on the relevant things before embarking on some real research in a PhD. However, I simply know the incredibly backward academic culture / doctrines that exist, meaning that between #2 and #3, I suspect the
P(admission|#2)/P(admission|#3) << 1. However it still would be useful to know if
So, any thoughts / advice?