Reasons NOT to do a PhD

The anecdotal key-points and observations from the perspective of a PhD student in Europe.

3 min readMar 29, 2022


As tempting it might be to pursue OR not a doctorate (or other) degrees, the right answer is always subjective to an individual’s own circumstances. Following are some infamous reasons of NOT doing a PhD degree.

Cost of starting a boring PhD research 😑

If mediocre results are acceptable for your inner critic, having less or partial interest in your research topic is fine. If you are oriented towards exceptional results, then majorly pursue the topics of your intrinsic interest. Lacking intrinsic interest in your topic only increases the resistance in learning. Your intrinsic interest would help you sustain challenges (which you are, for sure, going to have anyways).

“Dr. Title” is fancy 😏

Having the doctorate title is, without a doubt, is a wonderful addition to your name. But taking on the PhD pledge just for the title is not worth it. Take an internally rewarding adventure instead.

Zero self-discipline 💀

A healthy PhD requires constant learning and improvising depending on the periodic challenges manifesting themselves along the way. If you suffer from chronic lack of self-discipline then it’s a BIG NO ⚠️. It’ll be a pain in the ass(ets) you have 😆.

Peer-pressure 🙇

Getting inspired by others is good. But under-taking an undesired challenge is anti-optimal pill 💊. Avoid giving up into the group-influences that do not serve your true inner goals, and PhD is one of them too.

You found the scholarship but not the drive 😕

There are plenty of opportunities and positions related to one’s field which increase the temptation to apply for all of them, hoping to land on a reasonable position (and that is fine 👍). But avoid undertaking a research position for which you do not have an innate drive at all. This is a recipe of emotional, psychological and academic disaster, leading to a long suffering.

It’s just not your cup of tea / coffee ☕️

Despite of all the glory and valid reasons associated to “doing a PhD”, there are people and situations, that are simply not aligned with the PhD journey. I am not saying you should not undertake a growth-oriented challenge. The point is “take a challenge well-suited for your personal goals, rather a mere suffering or unexciting challenge lauded by others”.

Bottom Line

Whether you would do a PhD or not, the goal is to feel good about oneself. If you feel accomplished with a PhD degree, go ahead 🏃. There’s a high probability that you’d start to like it. If you are not inclined towards it, seek other challenges to grow in life 💪 . Ideally, leave room for flexibility to update, you might consider some options in future, which might not fit now.

Preface The author is a third year PhD student (Marie-curie fellow) in EU Project at the time of writing this article (29–03–2022). The opinions stated are her personal views and findings. They are not universal truths for all PhD aspirants out there. She might or might not consider reviewing and updating these thoughts in future. Please read it with a pinch 👌 of salt (or other spices of your choice) 😏.




Graphics and design researcher who likes digital art, photography and performing arts.