I'm a fifth year graduate student in the life sciences. To cut to the chase, I hate this PhD, I hate research and I hate academia. It didn't used to be this way.
I have been juggling three different projects and none of them are at the stage where something can be published. One of them was a pilot project, something that my lab or even my advisor has no expertise or basic knowledge for that matter. I have pretty much figured things on my own until we got a collaborator who really helped train me and has gotten this project off the ground. But now my advisor has decided to give this project that now has all the resources, grants etc to a new student.
I'm left with two other projects that are about 3/4th complete but there are quite a bit of holes to fill in. I could probably finish it in the next one year or so and that's what I thought i will do.
But my advisor is not an advisor at all. She thinks I have wasted my time and now I'm left with a lot of work to do. She has told me that several times - that I'm not a hard worker and I am not like X or Y in the lab who pretty much live in the lab and have no life outside. I work 10-6 pm everyday and I know that's not a lot in the PhD world, but I feel like I am not productive beyond that. I also work on most weekends. In the past year, I have really tried to motivate myself and get as much work done as possible. Everyone around me says I'm so close and I should just stick it out for another year.
But my advisor keeps telling me that I will never graduate if I don't pick up my pace. No matter how much data I give her, she says this is not fast enough. Also she makes me re-do a lot of it if the data suggests something she doesn't agree with. She has a very narrow mindset and hates being wrong. She always chooses, seminars or committee meetings to tell me that my data is shit and my interpretations are meaningless. And of course, that I am a slacker and I'm useless.
My self-confidence is at an all-time low. I'm depressed and anxious all the time. The thought of lab or my advisor makes me want to run away from all this. To make things worse, my husband just got a job across the country and I see him once a month at the most. Ours has always been a long distance marriage so I'm not a rookie but I think I'm at a point where I really need a support system outside of lab. I have no family around as I'm an international student.
I'm so miserable all the time and I just want this agony to end. I finally gathered the courage to tell my advisor I want to quit with a masters. She is furious - she told me she is disappointed in me (no surprise there) and she has spent a lot of grant money on my stipend and I owe it to her to publish. My department requires advisors to pay a stipend to every student. And it's not like I have not worked at all. She has added guilt and shame to the wide range of negative emotions I'm already feeling. She says I have wasted her money and done no work.
Anyway, I'm trying to negotiate a masters so I can get out and try to find a job. I need to do something that makes me happy and regain my confidence. I don't even care what I do anymore, I just don't want to feel this way anymore. She is making it hard for me to leave. There is no one in the department that I trust will really help me out. My advisor is powerful and i don't know if anyone can change her mind.
I can't take a break, that is not an option. What do I do? I just want to be told it's okay to leave. People leave jobs all the time but there is so much shame associated with leaving a phd. I also want to know if I can still find jobs in the industry. Please help. Thanks