I know there are lots of other similar "Should I drop out?" threads, but I think my case is a bit different from what I've seen.
I'm currently a Master's degree student in Computer Science, about to start the second and final year (I've finished all required courses, now there's only research left to be done). My problem is that I'm unhappy with the program itself and my dissertation subject. I don't have any motivation to actually do research, I don't like scientific writing (My adviser says I write like a novelist, and I enjoy writing like that as I like literature, and I find scientific writing way too boring and soulless...).
The thing is that I started doing Masters because I've finished BSc with top marks on my final research project, and I had previously worked in industry and didn't have much of a pleasant experience, so I believed I would fit right in to academic life. Plus, I thought it would be an easier way to find a job or study opportunity abroad, and finally leave my hometown (I've no love for this city, there's nothing for me to do and I've got almost no friends here). As it turns out, however, I got frustrated from all the classes I had (even if I had good grades in all of them), and from what I've seen of my colleagues', adviser's and other professors' academic lives, it just isn't the kind of life for me. Even if it helps me get out of here, it's no use if I end up just as unhappy. I think to really enjoy academic life, your motivations should be academic, and I now realize that my motivations certainly aren't.
I've also been told that every grad student thinks about quitting at least once, and I know many others like that, but that doesn't make the situation better. Actually, it makes it worse for me, because it seems that nobody has any confidence in their work, and nobody is expected to have that confidence whatsoever. I find that extremely unhealthy and demotivating.
Summarizing, the problem with going on with masters is that it makes me unhappy, and it is destroying my self confidence (really, I hate myself when I'm doing it). I don't enjoy the things I do, and I can never appreciate the results I get. I don't see why I should finish a degree that I don't see myself using in the future, so to me it just seems like a waste of precious time. (I'm 24, by the way) The problem with dropping out, however, is that I'm in a scholarship, so I'll have to return the money that I've received so far to cover for the program's fees. While I do have that money, it would be quite a setback considering that I intend to make a big trip soon. I thought about starting freelancing in software development so I could work from just about anywhere in the world, but I'm not sure how feasible that actually is. Even so, I'm not sure that's what I would like to do for the rest of my life. The upside in dropping out now is that I would gain a whole year to actually focus on my life, instead of focusing on some research I'm not willing to do just for the sake of not paying the scholarship back.
Does anyone have any advice or similar stories to share? I know the decision is mine to make, but I would like to know other people's opinions on my situation.