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  • FIRST POST
    misskool
    PhD support group?
    • #1
    • 17th Aug 06, 10:47 AM
    PhD support group? 17th Aug 06 at 10:47 AM
    Hi all,
    There's been a few threads lately about people stressing about being PhD students and writing up and such things like that.

    A thought that maybe we could have a virtual support group?

    I'm reasonably lucky as I am a scientific type person and I see other people during the day but I have just over run my third year and am now frantically working (10+ hours a day..ouch) to finish so I can submit by January.

    There are nice moments when things are great and flashes of inspiration come by but most of the time it's long hard and boring.

    Hope everyone is doing well today!!


    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 05-09-2006 at 6:09 PM.
Page 1
  • Heth
    • #2
    • 17th Aug 06, 11:18 AM
    • #2
    • 17th Aug 06, 11:18 AM
    I'm just finishing my second year, but am finding it pretty tough going. Also my husband is re-writing up big thesis after his viva going badly (major corrections and to re submit and another viva) as well as doing a full time job, so that is even worse.
    • ffeindadifyr
    • By ffeindadifyr 17th Aug 06, 11:58 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 267 Thanks
    ffeindadifyr
    • #3
    • 17th Aug 06, 11:58 AM
    • #3
    • 17th Aug 06, 11:58 AM
    I graduated with a PhD in Physics in 2005 - If anybody wants any advice or words of wisdom feel free to pm me or leave a message here.

    I also overshot my 3yrs - although 3yrs is VERY optimistic for an experimental PhD - I hear that the EPSRC and other funding councils are considering extending the length of funding in the future (too late for me though) - I got a job at the Uni as a research assisstant in my 4th year.

    I have a few good websites and tips on viva's if anyone is interested - I'll post them here when I can get home and access my PC.
  • melancholly
    • #4
    • 17th Aug 06, 12:24 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Aug 06, 12:24 PM
    I'm at the end of my second year too. The stress is piling up and I have so many experiments to do next year that it's going to be very very busy!

    It is always nice to hear that other people are in the same situation - there is something to the idea that misery loves company!! great idea for a thread!!
  • CrazyChemist
    • #5
    • 17th Aug 06, 8:35 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Aug 06, 8:35 PM
    Maybe you'll show me the door for not being a student, but I've recently completed my PhD in Clinical and Biological Chemistry. I'm currently a trainee Chemical Pathologist (in the NHS, though soon to be privatised ) so I guess if anyone's doing something Chemistry/Medical Science or heaven forbid, Biology based you could PM me for agony aunt uncle advice though be warned I have been known to hunt down and kill Arts students... so be wise

    CC
  • misskool
    • #6
    • 17th Aug 06, 9:26 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Aug 06, 9:26 PM
    All welcome aboard in this thread, as melancholly says, misery loves company.

    Since I started the rant, I thought I could start the rants! I've sent my laptop in to be fixed and it feels like I'm dealing with untrained monkeys....it's too late now to deal with anything so will have to ring them tomorrow. Seems a bit frustrating when it feels like real life gets in the way of the PhD! Or am I the only weird one here?

    Hey CrazyChemist: How's about I grill you in molecular biology techniques. I need to troubleshoot a Western blot,
  • DrFluffy
    • #7
    • 17th Aug 06, 9:40 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Aug 06, 9:40 PM
    I graduated from my D.Phil in 2003, so am now far enough away to have fond memories, but close enough to still remember the pain and fear! Subject matter: molecular biology/cancer research.

    I almost Western blotted my way to an early grave
    April Grocery Challenge 81/120
    • pboae
    • By pboae 17th Aug 06, 9:52 PM
    • 2,674 Posts
    • 3,407 Thanks
    pboae
    • #8
    • 17th Aug 06, 9:52 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Aug 06, 9:52 PM
    I'm not a student anymore either, I graduated from my Cognitive Neuroscience PhD in 2004, those were not the happiest days of my life ;-) I handed it in on the final day of my 4th year. I've got one paper left to write up, and I am still dodging phone calls and emails form my supervisor about it. It was my favourite experiment, and there's probably only a few days work left to do on it, but I can't imagine ever being able to get the courage up to go back to that data again.
    • ffeindadifyr
    • By ffeindadifyr 18th Aug 06, 1:11 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 267 Thanks
    ffeindadifyr
    • #9
    • 18th Aug 06, 1:11 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Aug 06, 1:11 PM
    As promisied a link to a good website with regards to defending your thesis in a viva.

    I know I promised a few... but I can't find the links for them anymore - but this one is great - and not only does it give you info on your viva it goes into how to about your whole PhD...

    http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/thesis.html

    I know its Australian but I still found it invaluable and most of what it says applies to PhDs in this country (in particular scientific theses).
  • cupid_s
    Another PhD student here. I'm having a big stress about my second year report. And i don't even know why cos it doesn't really matter that much. I am just getting bad writers block.

    I have already resigned myself to the fact that i'm going to majorly overrun. The funding at our uni is now for 3 years 6 months to incldue half a year for writing up. Why didn't I take an extra year or 2 out?

    One problem is that my husband is also just about to go into his third year. So we'll both overrun and I can see us having no money at all for 6 months and I just keep stressing that we wont be able to pay the mortgage, and then these crazy ideas keep running around my head.

    And my western blotting hasn't worked for about 7 months now. Grrrrr. Any trouble shooting tips DrFluffy?
  • studentphil
    Of course a good flowing argument throughout the different sections helps. If the thesis is writen like a rag bag of small sections then that is not a good piece of work.
  • studentphil
    Another PhD student here. I'm having a big stress about my second year report. And i don't even know why cos it doesn't really matter that much. I am just getting bad writers block.

    I have already resigned myself to the fact that i'm going to majorly overrun. The funding at our uni is now for 3 years 6 months to incldue half a year for writing up. Why didn't I take an extra year or 2 out?

    One problem is that my husband is also just about to go into his third year. So we'll both overrun and I can see us having no money at all for 6 months and I just keep stressing that we wont be able to pay the mortgage, and then these crazy ideas keep running around my head.

    And my western blotting hasn't worked for about 7 months now. Grrrrr. Any trouble shooting tips DrFluffy?
    by cupid_stunt
    The key to writers block is like anything that stops you working, do something, anything now.
    Try doing a mindmap or a chart to structure your thoughts that might be a good way round it. Money wise, is there no lecturing work going whilst you do the final write up? Some universities employ a lecturer in the final stages of PHD. Assuming you want lecturer.
    • ollyshaw
    • By ollyshaw 18th Aug 06, 1:37 PM
    • 686 Posts
    • 314 Thanks
    ollyshaw
    Hi everyone,

    Looks like this may be a good thread! I am tidying up at the moment, submitting on the 31st August. After reading studentphil's post, I am going to turn off the internet and get stuck in again!

    Olly
    ## No signature by order of the management ##
  • studentphil
    Hi everyone,

    Looks like this may be a good thread! I am tidying up at the moment, submitting on the 31st August. After reading studentphil's post, I am going to turn off the internet and get stuck in again!

    Olly
    by ollyshaw
    I suggest that you always timetable in some fun time at the end of the day. But really doing something is vital be it ideas on flash cards and play with ordering them, draw a mindmap, anything that gets you thinking and thinking in different ways, Sitting there looking at document on word is not always best.
  • studentphil
    Do some quick powerpoint slides (30 sec a slide) to get your ideas in order.

    Another idea
    Last edited by studentphil; 18-08-2006 at 2:47 PM.
  • cupid_s
    The key to writers block is like anything that stops you working, do something, anything now.
    Try doing a mindmap or a chart to structure your thoughts that might be a good way round it. Money wise, is there no lecturing work going whilst you do the final write up? Some universities employ a lecturer in the final stages of PHD. Assuming you want lecturer.
    by studentphil
    In my subject you cannot become a lecturer without at least 2 years post-doc work
    I'd love to lecture but there are so few lectureships it is never going to happen sob sob.
    I could try to get a post-doc job whilst writing up but i could only do that in the final stages or i wouldn't get the writing up done in time. And a major problem is that i don't want to stay in this city any longer than i have to so getting a job for 2 years would kinds screw that up
    • ffeindadifyr
    • By ffeindadifyr 18th Aug 06, 2:35 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 267 Thanks
    ffeindadifyr
    You don't need to become a full lecturer - some unis will employ teaching fellows (sometimes referred to as a lecturing post) which basically means that you give the odd lecture/tutorial/seminar on a pro rata pay - with no research so you can manage your time without having to worry about the next experiment.

    Have you asked within your dept? Does your supervisor have any money in the "pot" to keep you on as a Research Assistant (part time or full time) - this is what I did - Told my supervisor that I had about 3-4 very good papers that needed writing up and it would take years if I went away to another uni to do a Postdoc so he employed me for 3 months and in that time I published 1 paper submitted another 2 and handed in my thesis.

    Worth a try!
  • studentphil
    You don't need to become a full lecturer - some unis will employ teaching fellows (sometimes referred to as a lecturing post) which basically means that you give the odd lecture/tutorial/seminar on a pro rata pay - with no research so you can manage your time without having to worry about the next experiment.

    Have you asked within your dept? Does your supervisor have any money in the "pot" to keep you on as a Research Assistant (part time or full time) - this is what I did - Told my supervisor that I had about 3-4 very good papers that needed writing up and it would take years if I went away to another uni to do a Postdoc so he employed me for 3 months and in that time I published 1 paper submitted another 2 and handed in my thesis.

    Worth a try!
    by ffeindadifyr

    I would have thought most departments would employ part time teaching assistants.
  • talksalot81
    I am finishing writing up... havent had too much issue with writers block. I tend to write around figures. I get the figures into shape then just describe what is there, where it comes from and what it means. Then move onto the next one.
  • cupid_s
    It's my introduction i'm really struggling with at the moment. And piecing the bits together in the discussion. My results bit is going ok (after help from OH)

    There is undergraduate demonstrating and I'll do as much of that as I can and it pays quite well. I'll only have to do about 15 hours per week to cover bills and mortgage as long as OH does the same. As for teaching assistants it's the postgrads who do most of that anyway but it is given out on a first come first served basis whereas last year it was given to those who knew the practical class organisers best (which was me and OH as we did our undergrad degrees here also).

    I will speak to my supervisor a bit nearer the time and ask if there's any spare money in the pot. But unfortunately the year I started there was a big intake of PhD students in our department. In my husbands lab there are 3 due to finish when he is so they'll all be fighting it out for a research post there. And in my lab there's two of us due to finsh at the same time, and unfortunately the other persons work is more publishable as there is more current interest in what she's doing.

    I know there's no sense in worrying now. And to be honest I think its the incessant worrying that's giving me writers block. But worrying is what i do best and I can't help myself.
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