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To continue or not to


NuttyCracker
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Hello all,

I posted this question before I entered PhD (or right after acceptance into the program). Here is my dilemma: I am 2nd year into a Biology PhD program in CA. I got my BA in Physics and during my undegrad years I decided to pursue Biophysics. While taking physics courses, I enjoyed the theory but saw no use for it in practice unless I applied to biological problems. So I decided to join biophysics research groups, eventually did a Master in Physics and Chemistry while doing Biophysics research as well

When time came for Grad School application (Ph.D.), the idea of taking the Subject GRE in Physics dreaded me (especially when I took during my undergrad, I took it without critical courses completed (E&M, QM, and Modern Physics) and did horribly - I thought I was a Physics genius then.

Well, I freaked out and, to worsen things, the idea to get a MS with Chemistry focus and eventually a PhD in Biology, which would cover all my basis in the hardcore science, became fascinating and a future employable scientist.

Now, I realize what a mistake and mess I made. All my joy for science has been sucked out of me to a point of complete disregard to my future, which is problematic since I am now a father too.

Since I did not finish my MS in Physics and Chemistry (a interdisciplinary major I created which is only pending a thesis defense), I am considering returning to Physics. The idea to quit tightens my chest, specially considering my lab is very interdisciplinary and has biophysics. I find it interesting (my project) but I have no joy in pursuing it (unlike other labmates). I have no interest and I find myself looking for jobs more than ever now. Specially now that I have a soon, the idea of quitting really is dramatic. I am so lost and my confidence in finishing if I stay is near to zero.

I was hoping people giving their advice would enlighten me a little. Essentially, my plan was to get a job, quit, go back and finish my MS just in Physics, get ready for GRE, if done well apply to near schools/if not, either try again and think about trying again or quit altogether.

I am really not interested in becoming faculty - I feel I would be happy teaching HS/Community college students physics or even working in the industry. But right now, the idea of running a lab, writing grants is not for me.

Sorry for the length and any comment is appreciated.

NuttyCracker

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Hi nuttycracker,

I just wanted to offer some support. I hope you find a satisfactory path soon. I did want to point out that you don't need a PhD in a subject to teach it in HS. All you need is a masters degree and you don't need to complete a thesis either. Some programs offer a non-thesis option, so that would be worth checking out if you don't enjoy the research anymore.

Best of luck.

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Hi,

It seems like you have hit a rough patch. Indeed a very rough patch. My advice i think is simple. When doing a PhD project, if everything seems crap and you project motivates you to drag youself to the lab, then pls do not quit completely. If the project has become completely immaterial for you, then a smart choice would be to quit PhD, instead get a master's from the same institute. There is no need to reapply again, you have already taken enough courses, get a Master's in the program.

Also, it really it not a requirement for you to get a PhD and enter academia as a research professor. Am sure there are so many colleges, community colleges or just bachelor's granting college where you can go and teach. You can even enter schools witha PhD. if you decide to take this path, then you might need to find middle ground. Forget about what happened. Think about what you have, slowly and steadily tighten your priorites and lower the goal of your research, and try getting a degree ASAp. i guess,with2-3 publication and 2-2.5 more years you can move on.

I am sure, its more easier said then done, but if make a decision when you get panicked, there is a good chance u might regreat this in the future. better take a vacation, come back relaxed a bit and think over lil more. talk to friends and strangers... the more you can discuss the problem the more informed decision u can make

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