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olivia 3 star member
Saturday, 8 December 2007 at 8:33pm
Friday, 4 May 2012 at 1:05pm
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Thread: PhD: worth it?

posted
17-Jan-11, 12:36
edited about 21 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I would say--at least investigate it, and when you have more information, then you will have the basis for a more solid decision. It doesn't cost any money nor require a commitment to look around, see what options there are, and then decide. If you know the general topic or area you would want to do the PhD in, you could start by finding prospective supervisors and making informal inquiries to them about whether they would be willing to supervise you. Then you can start to think about a research proposal, and identifying whether the universities have funding available ( even in these grim days of budget cuts, I would think that there are still funded places offered by universities) and what other funding options there might be for you. As you go through that, you will get more of a flavour of what the academic requirements would be, what it would be like to do the work, your own level of interest and commitment to the research, etc. Perhaps somewhere along the line it will become more clear to you that yes you want to do this or no you do not.

I am a firm believer that if there is a will there is a way, and if you have your mind made up to pursue this, then you will find a way.

A PhD is a big time and energy commitment, but on the end of having completed one I would say in hindsight, yes it was worth it. Was it tiring, frustrating, did I ever feel like quitting? yes, of course. I probably felt like quitting at least once a day!!! to be honest. Was it rewarding, fun, exciting--yes it was all of those things too.

I am glad I did it and think it was worth the struggle and sacrifices made to complete it---but that is just my own experience with it.

Good luck on your search and decision!

Thread: 216 Hours: The Movie

posted
17-Jan-11, 12:27
edited a moment later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Congrats on getting it done and ready to submit!!! Well done!!!!

I think your mixed feelings of being a bit sad and feeling lost without it are very understandable. As you said, this defined your life for so long--and in a sense you are saying good bye to it. Your research has "grown up" and taken wing! ( as it were :p) I remember waiting to feel happy, or relieved, or something....and feeling sad and tired and numbed! None of what I expected to feel....it does leave this gaping hole all at once when you submit. I think its like going from 120 mph to 0 all at once--you have been working, working, working on overdrive and then........its gone.

But the main thing is YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done!!!!!!!! This movie should get an Oscar!!!!!!!

Thread: Jojo's viva journey - preparation and viva - sigh...

posted
13-Jan-11, 20:01
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Congratulations ( somewhat belated) on your pass, Jojo. A pass, after all, is a pass!
Your external seemed to have been terribly hung up on himself and the need to have the thesis reflect him/her in terms of research and then how they would have done the work itself...well, it was not their PhD--so those do not seem like very valid objections to your work. The whole idea that an examiner MUST be included in lots of references where and how they like in the thesis is a very bad one IMO-bad angle for an examiner to take. Its about meeting the criteria for a doctorate.....not about stroking an examiner's ego...:-s:-s

Which shows that sometimes "objective" appraisals of work are very much "subjective".

I can certainly understand why you would be upset, but it sounds like you did a fantastic job and held your ground in the viva.

Congrats again (up)

Thread: 216 Hours: The Movie

posted
13-Jan-11, 19:47
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Good luck with all that--a commercial printer should be able to help you and hopefully at something less than £96.

You bring back terrible memories I had of trying to print and turn in the right number of soft bound copies.....my printer froze up after about 25 pages of printing...paper went wonky, sheets jammed.....it was awful. It took all night to print ONE decent version of the thesis. So I sent to a commercial copier to get it copied. No way could I print out more copies...When I got the copies back, they were all wrong. Pages missing, things out of order, etc...nightmare.

I went back to the commercial copier and they had a strop, and charged me more money to do the copies right!!!

At this point I was feeling so defeated I did not even argue with them, I just wanted to get the darn thing bound and submitted. So I paid ( vowing to never use their services again).

Second time they got it right, and was able to then get soft bound copies turned in.....but I think the final part of the thesis with the printing and the copying was the most stressful, horrible nightmarish part of the whole PhD experience.

I still get an unpleasant flutter of adrenaline and queasy stomach when I look at my softbound thesis...it was truly an awful experience. Hence, I try not to ever look at it. Nor do I have any real desire to touch the thesis again......not even to mine for publications.....my research interests have "moved on".

I hope yours goes more smoothly.

Good luck!

Thread: Jojo's viva journey - preparation and viva - sigh...

posted
29-Dec-10, 19:15
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 7 years ago
I would say--if you are not 100 percent sure you want to wear/would be comfortable in the suit jacket, don't do it. You surely do not want to show up in something that makes you feel fidgety, not quite yourself, uncertain. I think the outfit you have suggested sounds just fine. As I said, my full on suit was probably a bit over the top! But I felt confident and comfortable and in charge in it...all those things...so I thought, what the heck. In the end, what you wear is not going to swing the viva one way or the other.....you will neither doom a pass or rescue a fail based on your clothing!

Its only just a little part of the whole "performance"--and again, YOU want to be very very happy with whatever you wear, to the point you are not thinking of the outfit at all during the viva. You need your mind free and focused on the examiners.

I have for instance a top that looks great on the hanger and periodically I get it out and think, why I should wear it. But then I am always sorry--I just do not like the way it looks and feel self-concious all day in it. Last time I wore it, I hated it so much that I spent the day with a hoodie thrown over the top of it--that was me in hoodie, yukky top, long skirt and heels. :p But I felt better that way with the hoodie over the top!

So go for your instincts on what makes you happy and feel like "you" in the viva, rather than clothing that feels awkward or strange or just self-concious if you wear it.

Thread: I think I'm a bit sad :(

posted
29-Dec-10, 16:57
edited about 10 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 7 years ago
having nothing to do is most attractive when you are doing too much!!!! I think its hard to switch off from being working full bore to nothing.....and still aware of the ever present deadlines and work...but that said, breaks are so important! Not only do they help with work productivity when you return to work, but hey--life is not ALL about work. Fun is in there somewhere (whatever someone thinks is fun!)!

I have enjoyed several days of break, being a sloth, being in pajamas until late in the day...but it took a few days to unwind and not feel like I needed to sail out of bed and start working on something!

As well, how much of a break is optimal? Four or five days might be just enough to re-charge batteries....I think everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with doing a bit of work if you feel like it. Research can be very enjoyable, in its way, and the holiday break might give a unique opportunity to work on things without the usual daily distractions that go on outside the holiday break!

Thread: Jojo's viva journey - preparation and viva - sigh...

posted
29-Dec-10, 16:45
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
heheh I hear you about heels, Jojo! I trip over level ground in flat shoes, so heels are a bit of a risk for me as well!

As for what you wear--I think the key things are number one--you are going to be comfortable in it for the hour or two of the viva. The last thing you need is to be driven to distraction by a label that pokes you in the neck, or fabric that itches, or a neckline you hate.

I think secondly, you want to look pulled together and "smart"--but really that can be so many different looks and outfits, and I think what you have planned sounds fine.

The examiners WILL form some kind of impression about you from the way you look and interact with them on the viva questions. I would say looking at least business casual smart gives the impression you want to create of the examiners taking you and your work seriously--at a professional level. Remember this viva is the bridge from student to--whatever wonderful future awaits! :)

I would say as important as what you wear--no more important--is the way you respond to questions about the thesis. If you can project confidence as you answer, then the examiners are likely to resolve any doubts they have in your favour.

But this again is a simple thing to convey ( confidence) in your non-verbal behaviour. Eye contact is key ( no no don't hide behind your hair!!!! better to show up to a viva in no clothing at all than to hide behind your hair!!! ).

My tips for addressing examiners--smile and be friendly when making introductions and entering the room. Make eye contact then, with each of them. Watch body language when you are sitting. "Closed" body language ( crossed arms, folding your arms over your body) indicates defensiveness. Open language ( arms on the table, relaxed, body angled towards and not away from examiners) indicates confidence.

When they ask questions, make eye contact as they speak to you. Even if you are taking notes of what they ask ( I cannot honestly remember if I took any notes...I had pen and paper to do this, but....blank...no recall on this) look at them at least briefly as they speak and you write. Take a few seconds to compose yourself if needed before replying. When replying, make that all important eye contact. Make sure to look at the examiner who did NOT ask the question as you answer, as well as the one who did.

The physical act of smiling helps to relax your body and relieve nerves, even if you still feel nervous inside. Breathing deeply also helps to relax your body. Silly as it may sound, remembering to breath when you answer is important! Take a few deep breaths if needed--remember nervous breathing is shallow breathing....if you breathe deep from the diaphragm, your body will relax. You will appear more confident and relaxed...even if you do not feel it.

So in a few words--eye contact with examiners here and there as they speak and you speak. Remember to focus on both, not just the one whose question you are asking. This is seemingly a small thing, but if you look at the examiner who did not ask you the question as you answer, he/she will feel included in the answer, and again, this boosts their view of your knowledge and confidence in your own work.

If it is at all possible to have a practice viva ( even if its just your mates asking you questions and you trying to answer) I would encourage it. It lets you see how you will react to answering questions--can you find the material you want in the thesis? Does your mind go blank as you listen to the question ( remember you can always ask to have the examiner repeat the question...or you could even ask the examiner if there is a particular part of the thesis he/she had in mind...something like that)? etc....

That said, I think you will be just fine. With all the work and thought and effort you are putting into it, I think you should sail through!

People have horror stories about their viva sometimes...but I have to say in its weird way, I enjoyed mi

Thread: Jojo's viva journey - preparation and viva - sigh...

posted
28-Dec-10, 01:53
edited about 2 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
Hi
I think your choice of clothing sounds very appropriate and good! One thing to think about, you want to be in something that will be comfortable for you--as you do not want to be distracted by something itchy or binding or that irritates you somehow....

I wore a navy blue suit and matching navy heels...both shot through with some gold. It might have been a bit over the top, but my examiners were in full on suits, and so I felt like it was OK--it looked professional and made me feel confident. Beyond that, it was that rare thing--a very comfy suit in a nice soft fabric, so I felt OK wearing it.

I think the main thing is--wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident at the same time. You will want to project confidence in the viva, so if there is an outfit where you are like YESSSS I could rule the world in this ( or some similiar feeling :p) that would be a good viva suit.

I think you are going to be fantastic in your viva, sounds like you have done tons of good preparation, and planned ahead, and with all that going for you, you will be GREAT!(up)

Thread: quick turnaround?

posted
24-Dec-10, 17:40
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
Oh, my sympathies, that sounds very frustrating ( and perhaps more common an experience than people think...). How reliant are you upon these people for comments? Do you feel like you need their comments to carry on with your work, or can you continue with some measure of confidence with out them? ( sometimes feedback is not particularly useful or relevant!). Can you turn to others to try to get feedback--another colleague in the department, or elsewhere?

It might depend on the culture of your uni and department how polite persistence in getting comments would be perceived...but if you sent an email every four weeks or so, that forwards the original chapters and requests for feedback ( a perhaps not so subtle reminder that they have failed to get back to you for a long time) it might put the onus on the sups to reply. Certainly, it gives you a good paper trail of the requests you have made and the lack of response, should you need to show that to someone at some time.

Frankly, I am at a loss why anyone in academia thinks its okay to ignore emails and deadlines for responses...I know things get busy, but it takes little time to send an email acknowledging the chapters and indicating that comments will be forthcoming...about thirty seconds would do it, and no one is so busy they lack thirty seconds to reply.

In the business world, in my pre PhD life, businesses had a strict 24 hour policy for replying to emails and phone calls--even if the response was no more than to say, thank you for the email/phone message. I am busy at the moment, but wanted to let you know I received it, and will reply more fully in xx days...


Lack of responses in academia should not be acceptable....

Thread: Is it just me...?

posted
24-Dec-10, 17:29
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
Hi, and sorry to hear you are going through this. At the same time, I think its a perfectly normal and natural reaction to the situation you are in! As a good friend once told me, limbo is a hard place to be--and that is exactly where you are after you have submitted and before you have viva-ed. As well, the future looms hard on the horizon, the post PhD life that has to take some shape and form. I think you hit the nail on the head, when you talk about the lack of control. So many things have yet to happen that are important to your future, and yet they are now ( literally) out of your hands ( with the submission of the thesis) or yet to happen ( the viva...). And it is hard to move forward with jobs, etc, when that PhD is not yet in hand.

Is your viva scheduled soon? Can you turn your energies to prepping for that, in the sense that restores some sense of "control" to the world you are in? Can you focus on applying for jobs, or looking for post docs, or some task that makes you feel like you are taking pro-active steps ( helps make you feel back in control) and not at the whim of some vague forces out there in the universe?

I would guess the irritation that you feel about people and things even beyond the PhD are just part of the stress you are under. And do not underestimate the stress--yes, it is there! Its real! its justified to feel stressed. That said, I would guess as well any little ( or big) steps you can take that restore some sense of control and forward planning would help allieviate the tensions you are under.

As well, sometimes the holidays also ramp up life stresses, and this time of year might just magnify already existing stress.

When I finished my viva, and got the PhD, I kept waiting for a change in how I felt. I felt a bit numb, a bit surprised, a bit....like...why has nothing changed???!!! Why is life still the same? The sudden change I was thinking would sweep me up and away instead happened in maddeningly slow dribs and drabs. Bit by bit, a new future took hold, but it took some time, and I had to keep working hard at things to coax this into being. I went through a period where I even felt like I bitterly regretted having done the PhD, thinking--is this what it was all for?

Also I think once you have turned in the thesis, you might become more aware of all the stress you were possibly carrying but could not focus on whilst you were writing up. Now you do not have the immediate burden of submission in front of you, but the stressors have not gone away, and so might be more noticeable.

It sounds to me like what you are going through is just a normal part of making it through a still ongoing stressful process. There is still the viva, and then getting a job...and those are still major events out there....

There is little way to make limbo a comfortable place to be. To the extent there is anything you can do that makes you feel back in the driver's seat of life, and in control of some part of the situation, I would say go for it. Even just a CV update to remind yourself that you are a wonderful, capable human being could help!

hang in there and best of luck with the viva and job search! I am sure that things will turn out just fine for you in the end!

Thread: anyone got any confidence tips

posted
16-Oct-10, 13:40
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
sorry for double post ( I blame the dead pixels) :p

I also try to get myself in a really up frame of mind--by telling myself how nice a day it is, even its raining, how lovely the buildings are, just "loving" everything I see, so I am beaming and full of great energy when I go in the room. Just tell yourself you adore everything around you, you adore you, that you are wonderful ( I know this sounds silly but it works) ( smile again, it reduces nerves physiologically to smile!!!!0

If you are wearing your hair uber long, think of tying it back or up, to give it a more polished look.

Thread: anyone got any confidence tips

posted
16-Oct-10, 13:34
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
A few tips--from having been on the other side of the table, doing the hiring! ( in my pre PhD life). Eye contact--look at the interviewer(s). If there is more than one, be sure to look at all of them as you talk. Easy on the bling--no more than a few pieces of conservative jewelry ( a watch counts as a piece..) no open toed shoes!!!!! dress as if headed to a funeral, dark colours, conservative hem lengths, no plunging necklines, do not show bra straps or belly button! Take the interview seriously, and yet, as others have said, inject yourself into your answers. What makes you special and unique? What do you have to contribute? Do the old smile from the eyes trick--be sure your smile reaches all the way up and into your eyes so its genuine and not forced.

Be friendly, be honest, be assured, but not arrogant....

I spend some time telling myself I am wonderful before the interview :D and smile, smile, smile--it reduces nerves and anxiety.

As an interviewer, I think I could get a fair impression in the first few minutes how it was all going to go....so make that first impression strong and positive.

Read up about the employers. Know something about them, and be able to comment on how you fit with them and their mission. Know something ( if possible) about the interviewers. If they ask if you have any questions, yes, do have some. My stock ones are--do you see the mission changing over five years? or what does your ideal candidate offer? or--tell me about your professional development plan....let them sell YOU on the job for a few minutes. It makes you look not so desperate for a job--and remember--people are attracted to what is rare and hard to find ( why diamonds are popular) so acting as if you are going to assess them as well as them asses you may be helpful.

I never practice or rehearse...but that is just me. It works well for some. I have had tons of public speaking experience, and so have confidence ( hopefully not misplaced) that I do well when speaking persuasively to others.

Wear something comfortable but business like. Do not wear the skirt that does not let you breathe or the tights that fall to your ankles, or the shoes that make you wince. And above all--be yourself!

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

Thread: Dead Pixels

posted
16-Oct-10, 12:58
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
Hmmm...well the dead pixel fixer fixed some things, and made the other streaky things more transparent, but they are still there. The good news is that the pixels in the streak are showing as green and blue, which means they are stuck, not dead. So it did not seem to damage the screen---and while its not totally fixed, it is better. Maybe I need to let the pixel fixer run overnight and see what that does.

Thread: Constructionism v. constructivism - whats the difference???

posted
16-Oct-10, 12:55
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
Again, I think it depends on the field that you are in whether they use the v or not--but I don't think it makes a difference to the overall concepts---its all coming from the same paradigmatical view. International relations uses the v--and talks about state constructed meanings...a collective identity of the state interacting with other states creates meaning...etc... Grunded theory uses the V spelling as well when discussing the meaning that individuals create....I would say, use what is standard in your field...

Thread: Dead Pixels

posted
16-Oct-10, 11:22
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 7 years ago
OK, a few minutes into running the program. It flashes red and green lights at the stuck and dead pixels...and comes with warnings about not to run it if you have certain health conditions like epilepsy, I guess because of the flashing lights---well---so far---drum rolll---its working!!!! Some pixels have come back to life--the streaky line is smaller, and lets hope it keeps working---apparently for a big problem like mine it has to run for more than a few minutes, so am going to run it some more and see what happens!!! So far--so good!!!

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