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About StressedPhD

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    2019 Fall
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  1. Hi Misslitty, I am currently going through a very similar thing, I hope things work out for you!
  2. Hey everyone, SO, I am not happy in my current lab for a few reasons. For starters, I feel alienated from the rest of my group members because I don't speak their language and they prefer to not speak english, which I totally understand. If I moved to a new country and couldn't speak the language very well I would prefer to interact with those who can easily converse with me and are familiar with my culture. They have all started to form a bond and seem to like working together but have left me out. In addition to this, my PI does not have my back and has made it clear that she will not hesitate to kick me out if I am not productive enough. She has set up an environment where we are all kind of competing against each other because we don't want to be the next person who gets kicked out. On top of this, and perhaps a source of it, is that we have no funding. We are still operating off of start up funds and have not gotten any grants. Right now I am on a 1 year department fellowship, so she isn't paying me but come next fall, I will need to find funding elsewhere because I doubt it's coming from her. I also suspect that she will keep me as a member of the lab until my fellowship is over and then kick me out. I also do not like the research that much. I want to be involved in bioengineering but my current work is strictly materials science. She has said she would like to move more in the direction of biomaterials, but on top of everything else, idk how I'd feel about doing my work in that environment with such unstable support. Bringing it back to the title of this post, I feel I am at a crossroads. I am trying to find a position in a new lab more aligned with my interests, with a supportive PI, and a welcoming work environment but I am having a hard time with it. Out of my labs of interest, all of them but one are not taking on new students. The one that is, is worried about taking me from another lab since he is a new professor. I don't blame him and I also feel bad about putting him in that position and don't want to cause him any problems at work. If I can't find a new lab I don't know what I should do. Should I just suck it up with my current lab, keep pushing through and get my degree or should I cut my loses? I was so excited to start my PhD but this has turned it into something else. I suppose some other options are I switch to a new lab that isn't really doing research that I am that interested in but it has a supportive PI with a good working environment. Or I could hold out in my current lab and see if spots open up in the labs I want, but how long could that be? I am in the middle of my first year, I feel like the time to switch is now, not in another year or so. I would love to hear any advice or insight y'all have on this matter. I could use some outside perspective on this. Thank you all of your help
  3. I definitely agree with you, there will always be parts of a project that you don't entirely like or are interested in. However I'm starting to think that I don't necessarily want to study what my lab is focusing on. I find the idea of it interesting but actually doing research on it isn't doing it for me. On my previous project in undergrad I was constantly reading papers and trying to understand more and more. However here, I find myself not reading into it as much. And when I have to read into things I read much further into the biomedical side of it than what I'm actually working on. I'm wondering if this is a sign that I should switch to a lab that is more involved in the biomedical field. This is certainly a driving factor for me as well. I think if the research really did align with my interests I would maybe stay, but it seems like it might be too much of a risk. That is a good point, I think I will talk with him. Thanks for all of your advice!
  4. Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to read this. I am freaking out a bit about whether or not I should switch labs and Could use your advice on what to do in this situation. I will lay out the whole thing here: So, I am one semester into my PhD and up until about a month ago I have been really enjoying it. I thankfully got into a lab right away but it is in a field entirely new to me. I received my bachelors in biomedical engineering and did research on electrochemical biosensors. My current research is on 3D printable temperature sensitive hydrogels. My project does have a biomedical application but the actual research is strict materials science. At first I really liked the idea but my initial excitement is starting to wear off. I still really like working with the 3D printer but I fear I may not want to work with temperature sensitive hydrogels for the rest of my life, or at least the rest of the phd (but isnt your research now going to determine what jobs you get later on?). Our lab is strictly temperature sensitive hydrogels right now but we are a very new lab and our direction hasn't been entirely solidified I suppose. However, what if the lab and my projects stay like this or stray even further from my interests? I am not sure if I should look to switch labs now or just stick with my current direction. I left biomedical engineering behind so far but I am feeling drawn back to it. I am even debating maybe switching my degree from nanoengineering to bioengineering. I don't know if this is necessary or not but I like to consider all of my options, for better or worse. I am nervous to speak with my advisor about this since we recently just had one person fired from the lab. Also before I joined another person was also fired. The reason for the last person to be fired was due to his inability to make enough progress on his project and that he wasn't suited for research. The other person was fired, from my knowledge, for simply not being productive enough. this person currently works in a new lab at the school apparently. My PI has mentioned that she thinks I may not be as interested in my work as the other people in the lab, but at the time I told her I didnt feel that way and that I would be doubling down on my productivity. I said this because I was scared of being fired. Since she is a new lab and funding is tight, I understand why she is so cutthroat; she wants to make sure she is investing what little money she has into those who will be the most dedicated and productive (we dont have any grants yet). I am worried that if she finds out that I have these feelings and am maybe considering switching, she will fire me for not being dedicated enough or because it is wasteful to invest in me if I may leave. I am still looking around at the research in other labs but one in particular that I like is a professor that is friendly with my PI. I am worried that if I speak with him word may get back to my PI about it and I'll be in a really bad situation. I am also worried about switching labs and how it will set me back. I don't really know what to do here. I would really appreciate any advice on what to do in this situation or just from others who are experiencing something similar. Thanks again.
  5. I completely forgot that turbotax was a thing. Thanks for the reminder!! I am definitely going to look into that
  6. Hey everyone, I just got my first check from my stipend! My excitement has been dampened slightly by the prospect of having to pay my own taxes but I am resilient. Does anyone have any idea on how to go about this stuff? Do we pay all at once at the end of the year or at various points for example. I figured starting a thread like this would be a good idea since I'm sure there are many people in my position as well.
  7. I am moving to california and will be applying for residency for tuition purposes once I arrive. I was hoping to go back to my home state to visit my family for christmas, but I just saw that if I return to my home state on any of the breaks in the year before I am awarded residency I am considered as only being in california for school. How would the school even know if I went to visit my parents over break unless I told them? I don't really see how they could get access to the information...maybe they'll install trackers in our school IDs lol. Does anyone know how the school could find out if I went back to my home state? Are they able to look up plane tickets bought in my name or something? Thanks for the help everyone!
  8. Thanks for the response! I'll def give those a shot!!
  9. Oh wow this is a great idea! I didn't think to maybe apply for F20. I just got awarded one year of full funding so thats amazing! But if I run into the same problem after that year is up (that labs aren't taking on more students w/o external funding) having a back up plan sounds great. I could master out and get into a different PhD program now with a stronger application. I think I will do this, maybe apply to a program or two to be safe!
  10. This is really good advice, thank you. I didn't realize there was a general time in which grant notifications went out. Perhaps I should ask my potential PI if she has applied to any grants recently! I will thankfully be debt free now but if I have to TA the second year I may just be eating pasta every night to get by, but thats life haha. And the if things don't work out I certainly can master out, I shouldn't force something thats not clicking, solid point!
  11. Hey feralgrad, where would I go about finding this type of information? Do schools generally have info on where their grads end up?
  12. I agree as well now that I think about it, I've always been under the impression that funding was much simpler and that there is no way I would have to pay anything but I appear to be wrong. Things have actually worked out now, I got the one year fellowship and a PI that I was originally interested who already filled her positions changed her mind about me after an interview today. She also told me she could pay the non resident fees for me! She's a new professor but she said as soon as she gets the money to take me on a GRA she will! I think I'm going to go with this option because she also said she could fill in the gaps TAing doesn't fill if I have to TA for a year
  13. Thanks for your input! One thing I would be worried about though is going back on my acceptance. I've heard that it can sometimes be very bad for you in the future. It's almost like you get blacklisted. I may be off base but thats how it was described to me! also perhaps you are right, but the nanoengineering program is on the newer side so they may not have as much funding as other programs.
  14. Alright, I'm guessing tuesday April 9th for us. def not this week because of the shutdown and April 12th seems a bit too late
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