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olivia 3 star member
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Thread: Hidden meaning of song lyrics--all about the PhD experience

posted
03-Apr-11, 21:56
edited about 7 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
:$

OK, this is a just for fun thread about how song lyrics have hidden meaning about the PhD experience....

I think that in addition to the Jimi Hendrix song All Along the Watch Tower being about doing a PhD that there can be deep meaning about doing a PhD found in the song by Prince called Purple Rain.

I think

:-x

that Purple Rain is the song your thesis would sing to you--not wanting you to hate it, or make you suffer ( with Purple Rain standing for the moment that you are awarded your PhD degree, and the special hat you get and the graduation robe you wear...)

"I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby I could never steal you from another
Its such a shame our friendship had to end....

I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain.."

means your thesis does not want to take over your life and have you hate it...but it wants to see you end and successfully get your doctorate ( well that is what I think the hidden meaning of these lyrics are! ,-) )

Thread: Will I ever get through it?

posted
03-Apr-11, 21:43
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Apologies for double post--otherwise it would just get way too long! But I used to find some musical inspiration and energy again in listening to a very loud version of Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower". I am convinced the secret meaning of his lyrics is about trying to get a PhD completed...

:p

The song that begins

"There must be some kind of way out of here
Said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief"

can only be about trying to finish a PhD!

and it ends though with the viva being held. That surely is what these lyrics mean

"Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl - Hey!"

Because the two riders must certainly be the internal and the external examiner showing up to conduct the viva. And the wind that is starting to howl must certainly symbolise the start of a viva!!





:p

Thread: Will I ever get through it?

posted
03-Apr-11, 21:35
edited about 21 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Hang in there, Pineapple! You are so close to the finish line--and whether or not in view, it is there. Your university must surely have regulations which require the time frame within which the viva is to be held. Seek some impartial advise and assistance if need be ( if you have not already) from the student union.

I had a something similiar feeling when I was trying to get my thesis submitted...it just felt like obstacles kept coming up that would prevent physically turning it in. ( I often felt like the poster of the penguin who says Oh....blank it...I am going home...). My oddyssey to turning in the thesis was met by a malfunctioning printer, a copy centre ( for which I paid dearly and to which I had turned in desperation to submit a sufficient number of copies for binding..) that messed up the copy job and then made me pay again to get it done right ( I should have fought them but by this point I utterly had no will left to fight about it...)...can you imagine the nearly sobbing relief of getting the soft bound copies back in proper shape to turn in?

OH, and I was told that the only place to get soft bound copies done was like 200 miles from the university! What! I found out in fact they could be bound on campus--but...why that information was not widely made available to PhD students and we were directed to some place 200 miles away....etc....

When I finally submitted, there was no sense of euphoria, relief, happiness or sadness--just numb and weary after all the drama of trying to get the physical pages together in the right format to submit. I thought I might never get it turned in, and trust me there were plenty of moments along that final episode where I just wanted to say forget it (or other words beginning with F). :p

Hang in there. The end will come. Rattle some cages around your university, stomp your foot, and insist they get a viva scheduled for you on a date certain with an external that will not wishy washy out after making the commitment. :-s

Thread: I passed! Now for an important question...

posted
03-Apr-11, 19:33
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Mackem_Beefy:

Quote From olivia:

For quite some time after getting the PhD I did not use the Dr title much...I used it in academic circumstances such as job applications...that was about it. Then someone pointed out the very useful neutral nature of the title--it gets rid of that hideous ( IMO) Mrs/Ms/Miss title stuff you have to fill out on forms for banks, etc. Men are lucky in having the single choice of Mister. This designation of marital status, for women only, on forms drives me insane. Many places in the UK do not have the Ms. option, so then you have to choose between Miss and Mrs....and I dither. Being divorced and having never changed my name to my (ex) husband's when married, am I a Mrs? a Miss? Dr. solves it all rather nicely. ;-)

Now when someone is filling out a form and asks me, I gave a sweet smile and say as modestly as I can, "Actually, its Dr".


If you're a divorcee, you revert to being Miss.

I know Ms. came about with the best of intentions, with the intention of getting away with the image of ownership by men. However, I cringe when I hear it. If all women use 'Miss', it sounds better and solves the problem.



Hmmm....but whose name is it? Is the name done for the benefit of the identity of the individual whose name it is, or for the world at large?!
and is there some equivalent male gender term for divorcee?

Not that springs to mind.

Ms may not be an ideal term, but it is certainly preferential to the lack of choice available to women in terms of prefixes. If women want to have a title that does not make a statement about their marital status, what is wrong with that? Men after all have a simple title that does not announce their marital status.

But at any rate, the problem is all nicely solved by now making use of the title Dr. :p(up)

Thread: PhD Working Hours & Responsibility

posted
03-Apr-11, 15:05
edited about 12 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
My own personal view is that when supervisors start offering you rules or advise on anything outside your research/PhD that they have over stepped their boundaries. Red flags should go up at that point. Autocratic tendencies in supervisors are not healthy and do not speak to a good supervisor/student relationship. I do not know what it is that makes supervisors think they own the student, including their soul! ( or so it seems).

I am sure that supervisor contact varies by discipline-but if you are making satisfactory progress in your work, whatever is going on outside or besides that surely is none of your supervisor's business!!!

I see the student/supervisor relationship as a professional not a personal one. The supervisor is like a supervisor or line manager at work. So long as you do your job, what you do off the job surely is not for the supervisor/line manager to get involved with! ( ie what you eat, when you sleep, what hobbies or interests you have...) but somehow PhD supervisors ( or some) seem to think doing a PhD is an invitation for them into very private aspects of your life.

Some advise given by PhD supervisors into your personal life might be inappropriate--and best taken with a pinch ( or ten, or the entire salt shaker) of salt! Its your life, your finances, your belly that needs fed. It is surely harder if the PhD supervisor has some financial strangelhold over you to assert your needs--but there needs to be some way to get a person to back off when they have overstepped boundaries.

Thread: Highs and lows

posted
02-Apr-11, 19:08
edited about 1 second later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Academia is a strange place. ( I like it or I would not be here, but its very...interesting...) I think that there is a danger that academics start to "believe their own press", get a sort of "God complex" about themselves and their knowledge. It can be quite ego flattering when students look up to you, respect your knowledge, seek you out for insight, etc...so perhaps some people forget to have a reality check on that and their egos expand out of proportion to anything that makes sense! Others I think are sort of insecure, or perhaps have become bitter and jaded from years of petty politics within academic administration, and pass on the meanness and bitterness in their behaviour.

In my experience, genuinely top of their game academics don't act like this--they are humble, polite and almost self-effacing. Certainly they are not trumpeting their expertise in everyone's face. At the same conference where Mrs Loo was, another much more prominent academic was also there. He could not have been a more wonderful person. He helped settle the nerves of several of us who were presenting for the first time. He was offering coffee to people, he had a very gentle and kind demeanor--yet he was by far a more advanced and respected academic than Mrs Loo!

You get all sorts of people in any work place, academia is no exception. I am glad I had lots of "real world" experience in the work world before I wandered into academia...I think cutting your teeth on work experience on nothing but academia could be very disheartening. I think having had some work experience in other settings gives some realistic grounding that everyone is human, no one is a demi God ( even if they are in the own mind) and the world is round--you will see lots of the same faces over and over again in different settings, and people remember who was kind and remember who was unkind.

Thread: Highs and lows

posted
02-Apr-11, 14:04
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
You might be surprised ( or maybe not) to know that a lot of academics still wrestle with the fraud thing--the fear of being exposed as knowing nothing, not being worthy. I think that this is what contributes to the sometimes somewhat toxic environment at universities and gives academia a reputation for cut throat egotistical researchers/academics.

I myself struggled ( and from time to time) still get into that awful knot of thinking...but I have also tried to make my peace with the fact I *DON'T* know everything, I might well mistakes from time to time. It doesn't mean I am incompetent or not worthy of whatever...it means I am a human being.

Unrealistic expectations create a lot of pressure to accomplish the impossible. And its an easy cycle to stumble into, harder to recognise it when you are in the middle of it and sometimes feels impossible to extract yourself from.

I recall vividly my first conference presentation...my part on the panel went fine, if not brilliant. But then in the women's bathroom during a break, a sort of senior academic/Grande Dame ( in her mind) of the subject verbally attacked me telling me how wrong I had gotten some point. She was very cruel in her approach. I felt literally sick the rest of the day. But when I went back to check the point, in fact, I had been right and she had been wrong.

*light bulb moment* Academics get it wrong too--but if their egos are really large, they don't even have the room to step back and realise error, they just compound it.

Fast forward a few years--I am now a relative veteran of the conference circuit, have some publications under my belt. Conference presentation by the same small circles of academics that include Mrs Loo. Panel annihilates some poor man in the audience who dares to ask a question about something he did not agree on. Olivia's hand in the air--asking, politely, how their point of view can be reconciled with the latest decision from the xxx courts ( a big decision anyone in the field *ought* to have been aware of) . Blank looks all round. No they had not heard of it. Olivia smiles politely and asks then how their point of view can be reconciled with the xxx document from Large International Organisation from a year ago ( again, important statement, anyone in the field *ought* to have been aware of..) More muttering, more blank looks. Olivia offers her best, "Oh, thank you anyway," statement politely, with a slight shake of the head as if to dismiss the academics.

Ahhh sorry losing the train of thought. Long ramble to say--keep your own faith and belief in yourself. Its impossible to know everything, never make a mistake, have every answer on the tip of your tongue. Only a fraud would make those claims. Its not fraudulent to say you don't know, are not sure, can check and clarify.

So the very things that you fear make you a fraud--guarantee that you are not!
(up)

Thread: Social Care in Heathrow??!!

posted
31-Mar-11, 10:10
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
*blink blink* I saw a job advertised up at the top of the webpage of this forum for a social worker to work in Heathrow.....my first thought was that it must be to comfort and assist the travellers coming and going through the labyrinthine system of Heathrow....

very unreal job advert, but on a further look, it was a different role all together...

I need more coffee, methinks! :$

Thread: Conference dinner outfit?

posted
31-Mar-11, 10:06
edited about 11 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Agreed--conference dress can run the gamut from super formal to super casual--all at the same event. I usually try for something slightly up from business casual--a nice skirt and top, but nothing over done. The only time that led me astray was at a conference where everyone else--EVERYONE else was in blue jeans. It was a small conference and I felt hideously out of place, but there was nothing to be done. In the end it turned out to be the best conference I have been at, and the fact of what anyone was wearing became very secondary as we all enjoyed great discussions over dinner and wine and beer!

Thread: Finished PhD but still unemployed

posted
31-Mar-11, 10:03
edited about 28 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I sympathise with the plight of having a PhD or nearly finished and the job prospects looking bleak. My fortunes turned around when I was truly not expecting it and now am delightfully happy in a lovely job. However, that feeling of wondering if you have wasted years of your life, money, effort, etc in the search for a PhD related job--it can be very upsetting.

One thing might be to come up with a strategy to maximise your employability in your chosen field--ie, do publications and conference papers count? Can you crank out some papers, put in some proposals to do conference presentations ( a lot of conferences have subsidies or bursaries if you are in need--an email explaining financial hardship circumstances to a conference organiser might also help even if there are no official funds available--rules can be adjusted in hardship circumstances!)

The other thing-a finished PhD is worth a lot more on the market than a nearly finished PhD. I found a huge difference in responses from potential employers as soon as I had the final degree in hand. So you may find that once you have the corrections in and the degree awarded, you will get more consideration from employers than you did before you had the degree. I know people will tell you a nearly done PhD is as good as the finished one...but in a bad economy, if you were sifting through CVs, one way to sort them is those who have the degree done and those who do not.

Hang in there--and keep trying. Do whatever you can to get the corrections in and done, ask for feedback on the job apps you have put in but not been successful with, look for chances to publish, do conference papers, etc....all you need is one employer to offer you a job, and life will look much different!

Thread: Length of literature review?

posted
29-Mar-11, 15:56
edited about 3 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Optimal length of chapters can be sometimes discerned by dividing word count by number of chapters--so that you know in an 80,000 word thesis for example, with six chapters, you would have approximately 13,000 words per chapter.

That can be used as a rough guide--and rough guide only of course. Remember that editing can bring word count down by one-third. As well, for many people the lit review is both the first and last thing that they write. You may find by the time you are wrapping up your research that some of the first literature review is no longer relevant, other parts out of date, other parts need to be added in.

I tried to keep draft chapters in check to around 10-15,000 words as I went, knowing I would and could edit it downwards in writing up.

Different people have different views of course, but my own personal view is/was it is always easier to cut words than to add--so it was no problem when I had to cut words. As said, a briskly applied editing system takes your word count down by a third or so!

Thread: Spring Fever

posted
29-Mar-11, 12:01
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 29 Mar 2011 12:01:55 =======
Oh yes, spring fever!!!
I have just taken up horse riding again after several years of not doing it ( given up due to a weird combination of life events that actually made me scared to ride...) One of my post PhD things was to take one horse riding lesson to just see how I felt, to at least get on one more time. I thought, if I don't like it, I will have at least tried ( sort of the way I was about seafood and fish as an adult, only I still don't like it :$) and if I do like it, well, I can carry on.

So--I called the stable to see if they could have a space for me this evening to ride ( even though or perhaps because I just rode last night!) and they said YES. So I am eagerly looking ahead to it. Its a bit silly but oh well.

I love spring! 8-)

Thread: Networking

posted
29-Mar-11, 11:56
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
*grinning at Ady's post*
Oh, another person with a wandering mind during papers...!
Okay, my full confession about conferences :$

They are hideously boring for the most part. I have a bad attention span for sitting and listening so a lot of this is just a lack on my part. I fidget horribly even sitting in the cinema or watching some sporting event--I hate to just sit. And conferences are lots of sitting and listening...and let's face it, many conference paper presentations are about as interesting as watching paint dry. For me the worst ones are where you are read to. :$

So I see conferences as sort of a necessary evil...but they can be sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boring.

There have been some noteable exceptions that have been fantastic, but these have mostly been small and specially organised in a topic that is sort of fringe to mainstream research with very avante garde and counter culture types of researchers who are not full of themselves and have a good time.

Over time--I have become very unenchanted with conferences--but I live in hope that each one will be worthwhile and not dreadful.

Thread: Spring Fever

posted
29-Mar-11, 11:38
edited about 5 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I have a horrible case of spring fever. I do not feel like working at all whatsoever despite a desk filled with work. Its a lovely, some what hazy but sunny and warm-ish day. My office looks out at a meadow. I want to go roll in the grass and not work. I have very very bad Spring Fever--any one else?

Thread: Networking

posted
29-Mar-11, 11:32
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 29 Mar 2011 11:34:18 =======
Does the conference offer some social breaks, ie coffee, or tea or whatever? Networking is as simple as simply making very casual talk with someone over shared interests, and many, if not most people at the conference likely feel like you do--dreading but feeling like they must circulate and network.

Whilst great networking at events can occur, in my own experience, this is the exception rather than the rule.

I would suggest approaching the speaker of a presentation after the talk has wound down, and pay a sincere compliment ( if you liked the presentation of course) and say it was interesting, you enjoyed it, or you really learned some new insights--whatever would be the case.

Or look around at who is attending what sessions and maybe approach one of them, or a group of them and ask where they are from, what their research interests are, etc, how are they enjoying the conference...


I have been to zillions of conferences and find that the networking payout is never what you are lead to believe ( and this is not from being a bad networker, well, at least I think not...). I usually collect a clutch of cards and emails and rarely do they amount to follow ups, although a nice exception this week was someone who emailed me notice of a call for papers I am really interested in..

My advise...just relax. Don't put pressure on yourself to have to network and socialise. Just try to get information, relax and enjoy it.

People are generally friendly and approachable at conferences and you might make a conference buddy to hang out with, especially over five days.



And PS--I will confess that sometimes I flee from the socialising at these events--it can be so much work to make small talk with strangers, and repeat the same sort of inane things over and over. Sometimes I flee back to my hotel room and enjoy some solitude instead! :$
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