Thinking of abandoning grad school for seasonal work….

Hi All,

I recently started a PhD program at a Uni that I love in a place that I love with an advisor I deeply respect but I am not feeling fulfilled by the project I am on. At first I thought this was just an intro project to get funding and get in the door and that I would get time to explore my passions, but now I have found out that my advisor expects me to make it my dissertation. She is also dictating to me other projects she wants me to to do and I feel a death of my creative freedoms. No other PhD that I have talked to here has been so constrained. Additionally, I am working in an ecosystem that I do not want to stay in and my advisor shrugs off any suggestions to work in my desired ecosystem even if the projects are up her alley. I recently ran into a FS booth in the union and they seemed like they really wanted me to work at the forest near where I live and that they would basically give me the job right away if I applied. Now I am selfishly wanting to quit and get back in the field working closely with nature and the ecosystems I am truly passionate about. But I feel like if I quit, I will never have another chance to go back into research. I also feel like if I stay, I’ll just be a glorified technician for 5 years working at a site I dislike while everyone around me is in love with their projects and field sites. I know these are stupid, selfish, immature thoughts but they don’t go away no matter what and I don’t know what to do :(. It’s like I got my dream and it just wasn’t quite right.

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