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Applying to PhD after failing quals- SOP and LOR advice needed


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Hello all, I failed my quals after my first year due to physical illness and a string of family tragedies all in a year. My PI was supportive, but when I asked to push back quals because I did not feel ready, he said it wasn't necessary. I did my work, produced data, and made sure to actively read, but I missed time in the lab due to coming home often. I was not able to pass my quals and I was heartbroken because I did all that I could. I just needed more time

Ive taken a bit of time to reflect, but I'm positive that I want my PhD. I will be mastering out of my program and finishing this December. I am in the meantime looking to apply to new programs and schools

How can I write about this? Its been hell this year, but do I need to explain my failure or just maybe act like I was getting my masters all along. I've suffered alot and I want to show my perseverance and dedication to science, but I don't want to sound pitiful. Any advice?


Im also embarrassed to ask my PI for an LOR as he was supportive with my family issues, but did not advocate for me in anything else. He doesn't want me in his lab. Do I just reach out to my undergrad advisors now? Everything is so confusing

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