Anita Posted January 21, 2010 Share Posted January 21, 2010 I'm applying to grad school to study a handful of topics I'm genuinely fascinated by. Problem is, as my school is a tiny liberal arts college, the psyc department is, naturally, tiny. The profs, in true liberal-arts fashion, don't do much research, and their labs can barely support the surging numbers of senior psyc-major honors thesis writers, which means until senior year when I can write a thesis too, I couldn't get into any lab with which to gain research experience. What's worse, since the department is so small, there is exactly one professor whose work is close to what I'm interested in. So last year, when I applied for a thesis advisor, there was a record number of thesis applications, causing a shortage of advisors in the department for the first time. Through some unfortunate series of departmental decisions that may or may not have involved politics (as far as I know, I hadn't been troublesome in any way that may cause people to have reservations about advising me), I ended up being rejected by all 3 of my advisor choices. Worse, my first choice, a wildly popular professor because of her fun research interests and her being a fun person in general, took 7 out of the 8 people who applied to work with her. As you can guess, I'm not quite over the bitterness of it all. But long story short, I scrambled to secure a spot with one of two, apparently least popular, professors, just so I can write a thesis with which to get experience to apply to grad school. I'll admit, I care very little about the topic. I also admit that I'm still a lucky bastard in that my advisor is much better than your stereotyped PHD Comics type. There's nothing I can blame her about my lack of interest or lackluster performance. The way she works is, I would do a lit review for my intro section in the fall, and run experiments in the spring. So I've somehow scraped together a satisfactory intro section, but the semester in which I wrote it was spent roughly like this, this, and this. The dilemma of the situation is that my heart is in other topics, so I'm continually trying to resist reading papers and books on my "pet topics" although they make me tingle with excitement (there, I said it), because finishing my thesis is a higher priority. That doesn't make me love my thesis any better. All it does is drive me nuts with guilt because I have, after all, been given an opportunity, and I'm on the fast track to squander it because I failed at self-discipline. But I seem to be simply unable to devote myself to something I don't care about. So now I'm faced with the option of quitting my thesis. My advisor has noticed my lack of interest, although I tried to hide it, and she thinks I should quit because I've acquired some research experience, and since I already submitted my applications, it wouldn't matter whether I get any more experience. I, on the other hand, am afraid of the possibility of having to apply again in the future, and of being asked about my supposedly ongoing thesis during grad school interviews. Also, if I quit now, I won't acquire any lab experience (it's been just library research so far). There may be other repercussions that I haven't thought of too. The benefits of quitting are many: I'll have massively more time to devour the psychology literature that I do enjoy. I'll also get a chance to explore other subjects that I've had to put on hold. I will, hopefully, be happier without an ongoing project continually kicking me in the ass. I have a week to decide. Classes start next week, and if I'm quitting, I need to find classes to replace the thesis. I'm, quite frankly, relying on y'all to point out if I've made erroneous assumptions or limiting my possibilities. I've talked to other people, but none who knows the Ph.D. process well, and they all say I should go on writing it, just to be safe. But the prospect of spending the remainder of my college life being a tool and writing 70 more pages of bullsh*t is terrible. To anyone who's going to recommend volunteering in a lab next year: I'm looking into that too. I'm not a US citizen, so the lab has to hire me as a paid employee, and only for a year at that. That is a possibility, but the chances of there being an open paid position in an interesting lab that people will hire me for are slim enough that I don't know if I should risk it. Sorry I'm incoherent. It's late, folks Anyway, TIA for any advice/insight/recommendation/commiseration Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now