Why I dropped out of my PhD

As my masters was coming to an end, I came to realise that
I really enjoyed researching and that I wasn’t ready to stop learning, I wanted to learn more Mathematics and enhance my knowledge further. Not only this but I wanted to also make my contribution to knowledge and to the scientific field. Therefore the next natural step was a PhD. To be honest I couldn’t afford to study for one, my best bet was to find a scholarship and that’s exactly what I did. I searched on jobs.ac.uk and I managed to secure a place at one of the best universities in the UK. University of Warwick. I was pretty shocked myself. The only problem was the start date was clashing with my current masters degree, and I had not yet completed my masters. I ended up in a crazy situation where I was finishing my masters and starting a PhD at the same time. WORST MISTAKE EVER!!! I was literally running around like a headless chicken! Aston Uni to Warwick Uni and vice versa. I was emotionally and physically drained. This was actually when I met one of the biggest blessings in my life today. My best friend Reham. She had just started her PhD at Aston University and I just thought I’d ask her how it was going, I was simply being nice. I didn’t care too much as I knew I’d never see the girl ever again as I was leaving Aston lol. The conversation went something like this…
Reham: ‘oh wow you’re at Warwick, that’s so amazing, what do you want to do after?’
Me: ‘ tbh I’m done, I just want to get married and have kids’
So that was Reham’s first impression of me 😂😂😂 she thought I had no ambition or goals or I was slightly weird. But tbh I was just tired and sick of it all. I swear I’m ambitious lol.
So back to the actual PhD… So the course turned out to be more chemistry than mathematics :/ how disappointing. I tried my best to just get on with it, but it just wasn’t happening. The lack of mathematics really made me question why I was actually there. PhDs take at least 3-4 years, so was I ready to make that kind of commitment for something I’m so doubtful about? After 3 months it was time to leave. My soul wasn’t happy. Yes I’m a drop out, I don’t care. I’m in a much happier place than I ever was.
When I did drop out, my parents weren’t thrilled. Which made no sense because initially when I was offered the scholarship they weren’t thrilled either looooool parents are weird, tbh they wanted me to get married and not study another 4 years! I guess all the hype about Warwick uni compensated for their concerns. After I dropped out, I was in a really bad place. Completely clueless, I just hated life, nothing made sense.
Now two years later, I can honestly say that dropping out was the best decision I have ever made. Don’t commit yourself to something you’re not passionate about. I’ve also realised that I’m not a PhD type of person. The mindset required for PhD is unique. Your life revolves around research and it’s not like a 9-5 job, na, you work infinitely many hours! So you literally have no time to do other things on the side.
I was also put off by the fact that most researchers don’t ever have the opportunity to see their research come into any valuable use. What’s the point then? Also, if you want to make money, don’t even think about a PhD. It ain’t gonna make you rich! Even some graduate jobs pay better than post doc roles (roles after you complete a PhD). To do a PhD you have to REALLY LOVE researching and not care too much about salary. Doesn’t fit in great with my car goals tbh lmao.
My point is really research into what you want to do. Get experience, even if it’s voluntary, that way you get a taste of a certain profession or field. And most importantly, TALK! Yes talk to people, people who are where you want to be, people who are experienced in your desired field. But most of all make sure your soul is happy 🙂

2 thoughts on “Why I dropped out of my PhD

  1. Proud of you for posting this one Atiya, and for making the decision to leave something that was making you unhappy.

    1. Thank you for reading 😘

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