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Transferring vs. Withdrawing

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This may seem a little off the wall but - I am in my first semester of my PhD program at a fairly well respected midwest university. However, I'm finding that not only are professors here very difficult to approach - that is if you can track them down to begin with - and very unwilling to answer questions or even just discuss research options or point me in the right direction in terms books to read, other profs to talk to etc.

My adviser in particular has been nearly impossible to deal with, on several occasions implying that I do not deserve to be in the program and that I am wasting her time. In addition, I was promised teaching experience by the graduate director and yet was assigned as an RA to a prof who's research is nowhere near anything my research focuses on (I focus on product placement, new media and new marketing techniques as they affect the industry - ie writers and producers of television shows) and as a TA to a teacher who didn't need a TA.

I have spent several years working in the television industry both in my hometown and in Los Angeles and thus I bring with me a perspective on research and study that is industry-focused. I feel I got an excellent education when I did my MA and I have a very strong theoretical background, but my plain English style of writing and thinking seems to be looked down upon here and in turn, so am I. I realize that it is only my first semester, but it has become nearly unbearable.

I'm curious as to anyone's experience or knowledge about general processes or possibilities in a Mass Communication field of transferring to a different PhD program. Is this something that is "just not done"? Is it a possibility? Does anyone have any experience with this? Does anyone have any experience in dealing with a situation similar to what I've described? Is this just "the way it is" in PhD programs? I'm feeling very lost right now and very out of place... Any advice or knowledge about any of this is much appreciated!

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I have no experience in this area, but thought I'd offer some general support.

Do you feel like you're being singled out (i.e. treated differently from other students)? If so, it may be a matter of fit, in which case I'd personally move on to a different program. But if everyone's treated that way, maybe it's just the way that program is run, and I'd personally adjust my own expectations/attitude.

Do you have other programs you're interested in? Check out their FAQs, or make some calls to see if they allow transfers. Penn, for example, does: http://www.asc.upenn.edu/prospective/Faq.aspx.

I don't know what the sentiment in departments is about transfers, since I'm just an lowly applicant myself. My impression is that if your program is a bad fit, a lot of programs and faculty would understand why you would transfer, and wouldn't hold it against you. Other more prickly types (like some of the people you're dealing with) may look down on it, wondering why you joined that program in the first place. But if you're being systematically bullied and excluded, I would definitely look for other programs that would take transfers and would be a better fit.

Good luck, and I hope you get some feedback from some posters that have experience in this area. Maybe try cross posting to a more general forum section.

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