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page 1 of 131 recent posts

Thread: PhD number two - an experiment of merry madness!

posted
05-Jun-14, 14:39
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posted about 3 years ago
Firstly I'm partly with HazyJane. Unless you're going for a radically different field second time, I'm not sure why a second PhD is necessary, rather than retraining and e.g. an RA post.

But that aside! I wish you the best of luck. And I do have some experience of this. I only have one completed PhD (history, part-time), but before that I had to leave a science PhD (computer science, full-time) after developing a progressive neurological illness.

I hadn't got too far into the writing of my science PhD, but I learned a lot from that first experience that I think made the second time go better. For example the second time I didn't do the recommended spend a whole year doing your literature survey, which I think is a complete waste of time. Rather I did that in 3 months, part-time, and then got on with research.

I also knew the processes better the second time, even though it was a different university this time. Basically I was a much more efficient PhD student, and took more control of my PhD.

On the downside, writing did not go smoothly time #2. In my case I was switching to a radically different subject area, albeit one I had retrained in, picking up two more degrees first. But I struggled to find my writing voice, and at one point had to restart the writing completely. With hindsight it's just as well I saved time earlier, because I needed it later! But I did complete within the six years allowed me as a part-time student, even though for much of that time I was managing on no more than 5 hours total a week as my illness worsened. I didn't need to ask for extensions, and passed my viva easily.

So there are swings and roundabouts. You might find things don't go so smoothly in unexpected ways. But I think you will find it easier second time in other ways.

And again, good luck!

Thread: Can I get funding for a second bio a PhD ...

posted
30-May-14, 12:59
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posted about 3 years ago
It depends on what the source of your original funding was, what the source for any second funding would be, and how good a case you can make to any prospective new supervisor.

If your first PhD was funded by e.g. a UK research council (any of them), then it's very unlikely that you will get research council funding again. When you apply they ask you to declare what past RCUK you've had, and will reduce anything you get accordingly. Probably.

If your first PhD was research council funded you may have more luck getting funding from another source the second time around, though that's very scarce. For example industry funding, or charity, or unviersity's own scholarship.

If your first PhD wasn't research council funded you might have more options, but you're still going to have to persuade any potential supervisor (1) why they should take you on, and (2) why they should risk giving you scarce funding, given that you didn't complete last time.

I have personal experience of this. I was a full-time EPSRC-funded science PhD student for nearly 2 years, but had to leave that PhD after developing a progressive neurological disease. Years later, after retraining as a historian (picking up a part-time BA(Hons) and PG taught Masters) I decided to have another go, history this time. I thought I'd be self-funding throughout, but was encouraged during my first year to apply to AHRC for funding from the second year onwards. I had to declare my past RCUK funding. They gave me a full (part-time) award, and didn't reduce it at all. It may have been partly because of why I'd had to leave PhD #1 (severe health problems, totally outside my control), and also that PhD #2 was in a completely different field. And I completed that second PhD.

But if you have another go for funding you're really going to have to sell yourself well. Or self-fund.

Thread: Feeling stuck

posted
29-May-14, 15:36
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posted about 3 years ago
I think there are two main strategies here.

The first, not very pleasant, is to wait until the sheer terrror hits enough that you start working in earnest, despite procrastination attempts. I do not recommend this approach!

Alternatively, BevCha's advice is really good. I know you said lists haven't helped you, but I found they were my way out of a non-productive phase, time and time again. I'd pick the easiest item on the list, tackle that, then reward myself, and cross it off the list. It gave me a boost, which I could use to then move on to the next item and so son.

The big advantage of a list, in particular breaking down what you have to do still into manageable tasks, is that it turns what would otherwise be a completely overwhelming mountain of work (as indeed you've described) into something you can tackle, one small step at a time. And the more you do, the more confident you'll feel.

Good luck!

Thread: Seriously considering "suing" ex-supervisor

posted
27-May-14, 06:06
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From grizzle:
Well I have looked in to Manon Gauthier, and that case was a student suing the institution, I then stumbled upon the idea of mediation. What do you think? I would formally ask the person in question to pay a fair sum for messing me about at an absolutely crucial time, something which would reflect that he bears some responsibility for the position I am now in. I would have contacted him directly but I am wary of anything being misconstrued.


You've asked what we think. You're not listening.

But here goes again. If you try mediation I think the supervisor will say no. You then have the option of an expensive and prolonged legal case, which you are unlikely to win.

Just do those revisions!

Thread: Seriously considering "suing" ex-supervisor

posted
26-May-14, 22:20
edited about 31 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 3 years ago
Just read that you have family responsibilities. So the getting a job isn't an option, I understand. But you should still be able to find time to work on this. Break down what you need to do into a to-do list, and start working through it systematically. I recommend starting with the hardest tasks, to get them out of the way. Alternatively if you prefer go for the easiest things, and tick each one off the list as you do it - good for the motivation, and to see progress. It does not sound from your description as if it should take too long. And focus on that. Do not think you can sue and get an income to cover you. Also any legal case would probably be extremely lengthy, never mind extremely expensive in fees.

Thread: Seriously considering "suing" ex-supervisor

posted
26-May-14, 22:16
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 3 years ago
I think any case is unlikely to be successful, and unless you can find a firm to take you on a no-win no-fee basis you are likely to spend a lot in legal fees that you will not get back.

And it will impact on future references. Your ex supervisor will never write you a positive reference after this, and it's unlikely others at your university would either.

My best advice is that you get on with the revisions, and move on from this. Chalk it up as experience. Yes there is still a legacy that may impact on other students, especially at your supervisor's new university, but you have done enough to try to fix it.

And I'm sorry, but storming an upgrade does not mean that you won't end up with major revisions. Equally someone who has the most attentive supervisor can still fail.

Also as an ex part-time student I find it hard to believe that you cannot claw out hours here and there to work on your revisions. I had to manage my PhD near the end in 5 hours total a week, in 1 hour chunks spread throughout the week. I got through. PhD revisions do not need to be all-consuming in time terms. Get yourself a job, and work in the evening and/or weekends. That's how part-time PhD students manage.

And at least you haven't been given a fail. If you do your revisions you should pass. Focus on that. That's what you need to spend your limited time and other resources on, not a futile legal case.

Thread: Question for the Arts and Humanities PhD students.

posted
05-May-14, 14:56
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posted about 3 years ago
If you're self-funded then it should be relatively easy to get a place. The key thing is you meet the minimum entrance requirements for your department, which are typically 2.1 for undergrad degree and a PG Masters as well.

The extremely hard thing with arts and humanities PhD students is getting a funded place. That is a little like winning the lottery - ok maybe not that bad, but it sort of feels it! This is because funding in this field is so extremely scarce, much more so than in sciences.

But if you are self-funding it should be much easier to get your foot in the door.

Good luck!

Thread: corrections

posted
14-Feb-14, 09:43
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 3 years ago
A friend of mine went through multiple versions of the corrections until her external was happy. This is a *very* unusual thing to happen. Her external was being extremely difficult. This does not normally happen. Usually if you do your corrections, even the vague ones, and show that you've done them, then that is just fine. People worry unduly over corrections I think, but it is an understandable thing, and a funny limbo stage to be in. Good luck!

Thread: drop out of this PhD , start a new one

posted
10-Feb-14, 16:56
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 3 years ago
Are you relying on getting funding for your new PhD? If so what funding have you already? If you currently have research council funding then you are very unlikely to get that again in a second PhD. Can you self fund? There are other funding options which may not be so restricted, such as university scholarships, but even with these the staff may not look kindly on someone who has walked away from one PhD.

I did just that, but in my case it was because I fell long-term ill with a progressive neurological illness similar to multiple sclerosis. I had funding for the first full-time science PhD from EPSRC. Years later I applied for funding for a part-time history PhD from AHRC. The application form asked me to declare what past funding I had received from research councils, and warned that my award now would be reduced because of any of this. It is not a good idea to lie on these forms! I declared everything, and explained my circumstances. I was very lucky, they awarded me full funding for the second PhD, which I completed. Though I initially started self-funding, and expected to self-fund throughout.

Thread: How did you celebrate or what did you do after PhD Viva ???????????

posted
10-Dec-13, 16:58
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 4 years ago
I didn't celebrate much, because I was shattered! I hadn't slept at all the night before, and although I managed to get 2/3 hours sleep in the morning, come 2pm and my viva, well I don't quite know how I got through it. So all I really wanted to do afterwards was sleep. But I bought a pack of French Fancy cakes (sponge cakes, with cream in them), and a mini Moet et Chandon bottle of champagne. A week or two later my husband and I went out for a nice dinner to celebrate.

Ha the Bilbo-05! I like that :) Hope your viva went ok Bwad.

Thread: Chronic illness please help

posted
10-Dec-13, 15:53
edited about 39 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 4 years ago
I completed a part-time PhD despite a severely disabling progressive neurological disease. I'd already had to leave a full-time (science) PhD in the past, as the disease started. When I had another go (part-time, history) I had to be really firm in terms of time I had available, and what help I needed from supervisors. In the last few years of my 6-year degree I was managing on no more than 5 hours total a week, spread throughout the week in 1-hour chunks. Very very difficult. But I made it.

Why can't you take intermission at the moment? If it's financial that is understandable, but it's not going to help you get better, and while you're still too ill you won't be able to do your full-time PhD properly.

Is there a disability services unit at your university? Most UK universities have these. They liaise with staff to make sure that disabled students - and that includes those battling chronic illness - get adequate support. If there is one and you haven't registered with them, see them ASAP.

No university wants students to fail or drop out - it looks really bad for the department, and can reduce their future funding. So the staff - and that includes your supervisor - need to work with you to get you to the end in whatever way you can.

But right now, you need to work out what level of study you can cope with, and whether you should be taking a full break now. Only once you've worked that out can you go to your supervisor and university and sort out arrangements. And you need to get good at saying no!

By the way I took a 5-month break in the middle of my funded second PhD. I had to get medical evidence to back this up, for AHRC to approve the break, but there was no problem about that at all. And they were very happy funding me part-time.

Good luck!

Thread: Funding for second PhD attempt?

posted
04-Dec-13, 11:08
edited about 6 minutes later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 4 years ago
I got funding twice too. The first time, for 2 years, I was a full-time EPSRC-funded science student. I had to leave that after developing a severely disabling progressive neurological disease. I'm probably who HazyJane is referring to :)

I retrained, mainly to take my mind off horrific chemo treatment, part-time as a history student, picking up first an OU BA(Hons), then a Masters. Then, bravely, I thought I'd try for a PhD again, this time part-time. I self-funded my first year. In that first year I applied for AHRC funding. The application form asked me about prior research council (any research council) funding I had received, and warned that any funding I might receive now could be reduced accordingly. I declared my past EPSRC history, and why I had to leave it. And I was delighted to win funding from AHRC, in a competition where only 1 applicant in 5 won anything (humanities funding is very scarce, much more so than in sciences). And AHRC didn't reduce my amount at all in the end.

But I think every case is different. And I think it probably really helped that (1) I was looking at a totally different subject area the second time, and a totally different research council; and (2) the reasons why I had to leave my first PhD (medical, clearly no fault of my own).

Thread: Two Discouraging Verdicts on Publications

posted
02-Oct-13, 10:33
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 4 years ago
Oh and to put that 8% in context, the majority of people submitting to that journal will have PhDs, and many will be long-term seasoned academics. But even that aside just a tiny proportion of papers submitted to that journal are accepted. So the editors can be very very choosy. It's not a bad reflection on you that yours wasn't accepted, just simple numbers and reality. But there should be plenty of other journals you can turn to, and it's likely that you will see the piece in print eventually. So keep going with it!

Thread: Two Discouraging Verdicts on Publications

posted
02-Oct-13, 10:18
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From HazyJane:

MeaninginLife is being honest - sometimes reviewers' comments are meaningful, sometimes they are generic. The point is that unless they give specific feedback on actual details of your work then the comments in the editor's letter are probably not worth spending too much energy on.


Yes I quite agree with this.

Thread: Two Discouraging Verdicts on Publications

posted
02-Oct-13, 10:16
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 4 years ago
I'm working on the revise and resubmit although I must say I find the reviewer's comments in some cases outrageous- do you still think I should just "follow" his/her instructions?

I will try submitting the other paper to another journal and see what happens. If it gets rejected there as well then I'll possibly rewrite it. It was a top journal and have an 8% acceptance rate (which I'm assuming is quite low?). I'm just wondering if this has happened to you and others here so I can learn something from your experiences.


8% is an extremely low acceptance rate. You would be extremely fortunate to be accepted for publication in that journal. And you weren't, so move on to another (probably lower impact) one. Don't mourn for the lost one. It's not worth it, and a waste of time/energy.

How far you bend towards the reviewer's comments is a matter for yourself, but you need to make some concessions, otherwise the editor is likely to just reject your revised version. If you still have a big issue with some of the reviewer's comments you can say why you are not following all of them. But generally I would recommend that you make the changes suggested, or be seen to make the changes, even if it it can be a bit exasperating. And try not to be too emotive in your response / after reading them. It helps to put the paper and the reviewer's comments to one side for a few weeks, to give yourself a bit more emotional distance from it, and to help you to be more brutal in your revisions.

Good luck!
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