Doing PhD after working in an industry for 6 years

Hi everyone,

I did my masters 6 years back and then worked in a industry (RND- Biologics) for 6 years, now I am persuing a PhD , however at times I feel overwhelmed and lost as if I have forgotten everything of Molecular Biology , I don’t know where to start from ? I loose confidence, because sometimes I ask really dumb questions and when I go and look that up, I see I have already worked with that technique or read it way back? Is there a strategy to overcome this?

@zarbuk Do I have a strategy to overcome this? No, I don’t.

The only thing I can tell you is that you are not alone. :fist_right: :fist_left:

I went through only a semester of a Ph.D. program and am applying again at the end of this year but I experienced a similar situation. Several times I was like a dear looking into the headlight. Several times I was in a discussion and I know I know the content but my mind just went blank. Nothing there.

The only thing I can give you is, based on my reflections on my experiences, a couple of hypotheses of why this is happening. Most of them you already mentioned. You don’t know what to say because you are lost. You are being more pushed around rather than conducting the process you are going through. I come from coaching, human behavior, and professional development so my way of help is more on making questions rather than giving you one-solution-fits-all processes.

Do you actually care about what you are working with? I mean, if you didn’t any pressure to work on this, would you still do it? What would you work with if your bills were all paid and you didn’t have any external pressure? My intention here is to discover where your motivation is pointed because that motivation is what will give order to your thoughts.

Considering you don’t have the luxury to reorganize your whole project (most likely), do you know what you want from it? Same thing as the motivation thing I mentioned before. With that answer at hand, it will be easy to put order to your conscience, thoughts, and actions.

There is also the possibility that given you are handling the same content you mastered once but from a different angle that you are not quite adapted to it yet, you are still trying to land with both feet on the ground. High pressure, a lot of content to read and absorb, it takes some time. Once you feel comfortable with your own skin over there, your knowledge will be there for you to access.

Overall, unless there is some strategy for you to download your mind into some place else or write in several thousand post-its, you only have to wait until you get more comfortable with what is going on. I’m sorry… :confused:

Thanks @diegoneto … I feel its more of a burn out than anything else, but I am not sure how to overcome it.

may I ask why are you reapplying for PhD position and maybe the admission committee would be little skeptical of taking a PhD candidate who is abandoning one PhD program for another?
I just want to understand your thought process and see possible solutions

@zarbuk going from the burnout perspective the only suggestion I could give you is to take some sort of a break (dumbest suggestion in the world, I know!!) or try to make the most energizing experience from your free time. Like nailing it right on the spot with what you like. BUT… if you take that approach very seriously you face the risk of being pressured for having a good moment, so not very helpful… :sweat_smile:

One thing I would do if I was in your situation would be to have a good time during my free time and take some time to reflect on why I’m doing this specific thing as a way to reconnect myself with my genuine motivation as a way to getting reenergized and reorder my thoughts. I know this is a very ethereal, very psychological thing rather than a structured and organized process. But it is a way for at least increase your self-awareness.

About my application, this is what I have on my personal statement:

My experience through the Ph.D. program in Management at XXX, although short, was paramount to my understanding of the fundamentals of good empirical research. Due to its approach to life sciences as a dissociated collection of parts, I fell short of considering organizational life as complex snakepit-like systems (Schwartz, 1987) and the enjoyment of interacting with and exploring them. Moreover, taking the last year to investigate deeper into the literature allowed me to find support for considering careful observation and analysis among the available options when investigating organizational behavior (Burke, 2011; Schein, 2015) and to realize that action science and normal science reside in two different worlds (Beer et al., 2016). Additionally, I discovered the fundamentals of positive organizational scholarship and its shift from human deficit to life-giving experiences and organizational performance. Such discoveries redesigned my initial hypothesis about the research field and renovated my motivation to help social systems evolve and adapt their patterns over time by spearheading the domain of organizational behavior. Now considering a systemic perspective and grounded on a greater range of methods to decide according to the studied phenomena.

Schein is a very renowned scholar who was one of the founders of the field I intend to study, Swartz was cited in one of the papers from the faculty of one school I am applying, Burke is a world-renowned scholar who was actually part of the faculty from one of the programs I am applying but he retired this year, and he was one of the authors of the Beer et al paper.

What do you think?? Am I coming too strong?? Overall I want to say that the program I was in was garbage and that they are doing everything wrong. The more support I find for this, the happier I am. And I recently got accepted into a program that I am unable to go to because of its financial support structure. At least this tells me I am somewhat on the right path. But every now and then I tweak it here and there, so I am honestly looking for every opinion I can get so I can have a solid application, so feel free to say what you think!!

@diegoneto … I think its written well. I wish you luck for your applications.

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