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pm133
Friday, 8 January 2016 at 12:02am
Thursday, 27 April 2017 at 9:55pm
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page 1 of 15 recent posts

Thread: Need ventilating..Clock is ticking towards failure and shame with my PhD

posted
27-Apr-17, 21:56
edited about 7 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 day ago
Quote From heinasirkka:
Dear forum users,

I'd be very thankful if you share an opinion or a similar experience.

I'm in the 4th year of my PhD in engineering northwest Europe (I'm not European, came here for PhD). I've never expected this to be easy. When I started, I was very motivated and showed a quite good academic records during my Master's (published 5 journals). Since my beginning here, I've been shocked to receive no guidance, and have pressure put on me to build a huge and complex experimental setup from scratch. Two senior PhDs entitled to supervise me just ignored me and officially said that they don't want to help. I thought this is normal because nobody helps no one here and people don't like it when you ask questions. Everybody seemed to be OK with what they are doing, and publishing a lot of papers. I don't even mention the racism. The topics were new to me and I tried so hard to prove myself by reading, working hard non-stop for years. And eventually I could achieve nothing and got probation for a last chance. I finished up some side-project which is very loosely connected to my PhD and save up my a**. But under pressure of building a setup by myself I made some quick faulty engineering decisions for which I'm paying the price for, in my work and private life.

The goddamn machine is not working, I dunno why. I hate it so much. I don't have any interest anymore. I hate this place and horrible people. They are robots. I'm stuck in another country with this commitment surrounded with a feeling of shame and failure. I'm trying to find solutions, asking around. Nobody knows anything about my work and cannot help anymore. Its engineering, there are a lot of details. Hoping for a miracle. I want to burn whole faculty, or run away to Antarctica, or worse. Anyone has similar experience of failure or pre-failure?
Thank you and peace


It is probably not a good idea to be joking about wanting to "burn whole facility".

Thread: Feeling intimidated/bullied by my supervisor

posted
25-Apr-17, 21:03
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 days ago
Quote From Bluesky123:
Hi everyone, can anyone advise, or does anyone have any experience of this?
My supervisor constantly belittles my research, gives me unrealistic deadlines to work to, despite the fact I tell him why these are unrealistic. He reports back to others on my supervisory team letting them know of these deadlines and its stressful to then have to engage in these conversations explaining my case for why this is unrealistic when I've already told him. I've worked as a lecturer in HE and I also work in the field which my research is in and so I have good time management and organisational skills and I'm more than capable of completing work when needed, but Im being pressured into rushing work to meet his demands. He appears to have quite an aggressive nature, and ideas I have for my research are often dismissed. I have tried to talk to him about how we are working together and have told him I'm not happy with the way he speaks to me and have asked if we can look at a better way of communicating, but this didn't go well. Since, he has been more difficult to work with and after asking to see his correspondence with others regarding my research (which was possible through a specific university procedure) I have realised that he has been providing inaccurate and dishonest reports about my work and my communication with him. He used Facebook to share his anger about a specific issue, and although I wasn't named, it was clearly about me (that's not me jumping to conclusions...) I was told by colleagues about the Facebook thread that followed his comments. I feel like Im going mad, trying to manage a PhD is hard enough. Im doubting my abilities which is unusual for me, and I feel like my confidence is at an all time low. I have tried to find a new supervisor but no luck yet and this may not be possible. Can anyone advise/support/help me see a clear way through?!


This is totally unacceptable. Academia lives in its own world with staff thinking they can simply abuse their students and this does look like a case of abuse.
If you have evidence then consider a formal complaint and request a new supervisor.
You tried talking to him and it made it worse so its time to either press the nuclear button
or risk not graduating at all.

Thread: How to deal with day to day failures during a PhD?

posted
22-Apr-17, 11:29
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
You might be right but the thing is everyone deals with these things differently. I have had lots of pressure in other aspects of my private life (including finances and long distance marriage) that have added to my feelings of insecurity and overthinking. But precisely because I know that if these small details affect me so much - I will lose it for the bigger ones, I am trying to start early and try to find a way to deal with them better. So yes, I am trying and I am sure I will manage to find a way to develop some resilience. Thanks for your honesty though. It always helps![/quote]

In my personal experience, losing it over trivial things is a sign of underlying stress. Humans can only carry so much of this. The things which tip you over the edge may be a symptom of those other stresses. You mention a couple of these things in your response above. I dont know if you can find ways to alleviate some of the bigger stresses but if you can, you might find yourself a lot calmer over your PhD issues. This might work better for you.
Good luck.

Thread: How to deal with day to day failures during a PhD?

posted
19-Apr-17, 18:54
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From skyisnotthelimit:
Quote From pm133:
It sounds like both you and your supervisor are taking this way too seriously. It's only a conference. A mistake was made. Get over it. No need for embarassment, lengthy apologies, beating yourselves up or pledges to "do better next time".

If this type of utterly trivial incident affects you this much you risk having serious issues when a genuine problem occurs.
Relax bud. Mistakes happen.


@pm133, I am sure you're right but I guess the beginning is the hardest since I still have not figured my way around things and people. But I should definitely learn to take these things easier otherwise I will go nuts by the end of the PhD. You're right. That's why this forum is so helpful.


It's more serious than simply going nuts.
If you are getting yourself into this state over completely trivial things like this in only your first year and don't immediately do something about it then the PhD will break you.
You need to learn really quickly how to develop some resilience because it reads to me that under the slightest pressure you are caving emotionally.
Good luck.

Thread: How to deal with day to day failures during a PhD?

posted
19-Apr-17, 10:48
edited about 8 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From skyisnotthelimit:
So, I am a first year PhD student and I am far from perfect or knowing it all. I am just figuring things along the way. Anyway, I am working hard in order to improve and learn things of course. But, sometimes that's not enough right? So I happened to make a slip and apply for a small grant (for attending a conference) without being eligible for it. My supervisor told me today that he felt embarrassed that we applied for it without being eligible. The ineligibility consisted on a detail. Nevertheless I had my doubts when I saw the eligibility criteria but still didn't say anything to my supervisor.

Now, I can try and complain about it and find a million reasons why "it was not my fault" but the truth is I made a mistake. I failed. And I have to admit it and learn from it. So I told my supervisor that he's right and that I only made that mistake because my approach during these 6 months of PhD has been very much reactive rather than initiating things. And that's wrong. I told him that because I was trying not to bother him and please him by mostly saying YES, I forgot what was important - MY STANCE ON THINGS. So I apologized and reassured him that my approach will be much different from now on. He admitted that it was not only my fault but that he being a member of the board granting this grant should have known that I am not eligible and should have told me.

So I guess my question is - have you had these kinds of failures and if yes how do you deal with them? I will admit that it doesn't feel good to know that you've screwed up on your first year of the PhD but on the other hand I feel good knowing that eventhough I feel like shit, I am trying to learn from my mistakes and I know I will work hard on this regard.


It sounds like both you and your supervisor are taking this way too seriously. It's only a conference. A mistake was made. Get over it. No need for embarassment, lengthy apologies, beating yourselves up or pledges to "do better next time".

If this type of utterly trivial incident affects you this much you risk having serious issues when a genuine problem occurs.
Relax bud. Mistakes happen.

Thread: Jobless after a PhD

posted
08-Apr-17, 01:10
edited about 7 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 weeks ago
I am going to disagree with the above two posters.
I think there is every advantage in contacting professors speculatively but understand they are probably not sitting with money. You can ask them if they are interested in a preparing a funding request with you as the named postdoc. I have seen that work with colleagues of mine.
Also there is nothing wrong in appyling for biomedical jobs. The fact that you are being shortlisted tells you that your CV is fine. You are not being selected because you are probably up against people with better experience. You need luck and that comes from continuing to apply wherever you feel you are interested in that job. Again I have personally watched several colleagues succeed in this regard over the years, gaining science and engineering jobs they had zero experience for and have personally managed it myself.

Good luck and dont give up.

Thread: How to answer "Why this institution?" when you "don't care" about the institution

posted
01-Apr-17, 03:20
edited about 2 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 0 month ago
Quote From TamaDP:
Hi, everyone!

I have just received the invitation to chat with a PhD project supervisor. I am guessing that this is an informal interview (he mentions the chance to talk about my background and interests, skype with the other supervisor and current PhD students) and so I have started going through the list of possible questions that I may be asked.

This is a project that really interests me for the subject itself, and because one of the supervisors has several publications of impact in the area, and I haven't paid much attention to the Uni where it is held... So should I be honest and say it's not because of the institution but project+supervisor? Or should I "fake" my answer?


A better idea might be to do some research on the university such as resources they have which you feel will help you, location etc.
You should be very careful about faking anything. Us older folks are very good at sniffing out fakery. Very good indeed. Some of us are evil enough to deliberately ask questions like this just to test for this. Lets be honest if you are going to fake an inteview can you be trusted not to fake data when push comes to shove?

Thread: Phd research fellowship application

posted
30-Mar-17, 18:34
edited about 2 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Agree with ToL although my experience is with industrial jobs.
If a company interviews you and you are a stand-out candidate they will not waste time offering you the job. There are always exceptions and I was once offered a job three weeks after interviewing. Clearly in that case I can assume they offered it to someone else first. In the main though, I expect to hear straight away. If I don't I assume the worst and move on.
Certainly you should not put off other jobs in the meantime.
What you could do if you have another offer is to phone the person you do want to work for and let them know that they are your first choice and essentially find a nice way of giving them 24 hours to decide. I've done that before as well and found this to be a successful strategy.

Thread: Viva outcomes: major corrections, minor corrections, revise and resubmit

posted
25-Mar-17, 19:33
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From strawberrygirl:
Hi all, thank you so much for all your answers. Your answers highlight how much variation there is between universities in terms of the viva. For example, Ian (Mackem-Beefy)'s post shows that major corrections and revise and resubmit can be the same thing. But where I am studying they are different. It seems that the difference between minor and major corrections is a bit arbitrary? But, as several of you say, it seems that as soon as corrections start involving quite extensive rewriting, rather than relatively surface level corrections, that major corrections come into play. Thanks Gwen86 for suggesting that some elements of an unclear argument might mean minor. And well done for defending your thesis so well despite the missing chapter. You must have been very happy with the outcome.

I've had a look at a book this week by Peter Smith, about the viva. It's really helpful - if anyone has their viva coming up (or even if you haven't submitted) it's well worth a look. I have found it really helpful and am already feeling more positive and less fearful about the viva. I'm trying to think less about possible outcomes and more about how to describe my work and its contribution and the influences on it.

And yes thanks all for commenting on my submission! It didn't really feel like a moment to celebrate as I was unhappy with what I submitted.

Did anyone else find reading their thesis afterwards really difficult? I still haven't been able to read mine - obviously I need to do so as my viva is not far away now.


Took a couple of days off after submitting but have started going through it line by line and thinking about likely questions.
So far I have found it easy enough but I am only at page 18 so a long way to go.

Thread: Prof's response on Postdoc in Germany

posted
25-Mar-17, 00:14
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
So you have not been interviewed then by the sounds of it. In that case I dont see this as a job offer but something is very strange here. For a start, I dont know what a "postdoc scholarship" is.
I would have thought a scholarship was for students. Postdocs are not students.
Secondly I not aware of anyone who hires someone without conducting an interview.
I just wonder if something is being lost in translation.

Thread: Finding a PhD with a specific interest already in mind.

posted
25-Mar-17, 00:07
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Definitely. It's really hard to come up with ideas. It's also frustrating when you finally think of things to do but have no funding and then someone else beats you to it!


I find it helpful to be free of stress when I am thinking of ideas. I also found it doesnt help to rush the process either. Both stressing and rushing caused me lots of problems. Not easy when bils need paid though.

Thread: I need a solicitor !!

posted
25-Mar-17, 00:03
edited about 1 second later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Genuinely interesting couple of posts there mackem_beefy.
I can tell you what I personally would have done during that first meeting.
I would have stood up, told them that this wasn't a working relationship which would work well, apologised and told them I was leaving. I would wish them well on their search for a replacement and I would walk out.
As you found out, there is little worse than persisting with that type of person.
I am like this in interviews as well. If I detect a bad match then I will stop an interview immediately. Done that a few times. Never regretted it. It is very important that you realise your personal value and worth to others without being arrogant or aggressive with them. Make no mistake though, you should take no unreasonable crap from anyone. You deserve to be treated with respect.

Thread: Advice on computer for studies

posted
24-Mar-17, 23:50
edited about 22 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From blueisthecolour:
A fairly 'light' topic for a Friday :)

I'm going to start my Master in September and was considering whether to buy a new laptop for it. I currently have a Chromebook, which I find perfect for my day to day stuff, but I was wondering whether I will need a Windows machine in order to run MS Office software. I'm doing a political research course which will inevitably require data manipulation.

Is it still possible to get student rates for MS Office?

Also - what is the normal thing for people to take into lectures/seminars now? Does everyone have laptops?


I use Linux. All of my software is free. Libreoffice is a reasonable replacement for excel and powerpoint but I use Latex for documents. I would probably not use Word again for any purpose.

Thread: Do other PhD students find it difficult to meet a partner?

posted
24-Mar-17, 23:47
edited about 21 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From Kahn:
BTW I wouldn't let people catch you talking to rabbits :-D


Thank You :')

People say that I am very approachable and like-able. When I started my PhD in September I did speak to people from a very diverse set of backgrounds and ages. I actually made friends with about 5-6 women in their thirties. However, things turned a bit weird when a 35 year old I know tried to make a very uncomfortable move in a certain direction I was unwilling to take. This was followed up by another 33 year old trying to make such a move. I think after that I became traumatized or a lot more cautious and kind of avoided opening up too much with women in that age range . Of course I was wrong to change my perspective based on an experience with two people and I completely understand and appreciate your advice. By the way, I wasn't being flirtatious with these women at all. I just try my best to be friendly, respectful and cheerful with every person I meet.

Lastly, I am sorry if I offended anyone with the comment regarding age. What I meant was that being a 22 year old I would personally prefer to date someone closer to my age.


Blimey. It's not often that I am stunned into silence.

Thread: Upgrade process

posted
23-Mar-17, 23:45
edited about 17 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From nake:
Hi,

Thanks for the comments.

Yes, I guess it should be my approach, they think am not showing enough enthusiasm and they want me to mix up more with other students. They want me to talk more at meetings. They also want me to challenge their views but in earlier supervisory meetings where I did this or made suggestions based on my prior research experience about a particular method we should use, my opinion wasn't regarded. At times I would be told to go and find out from certain methodology experts and those experts still end up making the exact recommendations which I initially made, they don't acknowledge that I also said the same thing, or trust my opinions better. This was why I finally decided they should have their way instead, but now it seems that's also a problem, I can't seem to get it right with them.

I attend research events, but they just recently pointed out in this last meeting that they expected me to report back to them after every event or interaction to tell them what I learnt. But why wait for me to be halfway through a PhD before pointing this out.

They have also mentioned that my meeting agenda is not detailed enough, that they weren't expecting bullet points of issues, that I should provide more detail in this. My initial understanding of what an agenda means is that it should be bullet points of issues I want them to discuss, but if that isn't what they wanted, they had about 1.5yrs to say this but they didn't, and they waited to this moment to flag up such issues.


I am going to make a stab at this. It sounds to me like your English is the problem here.
It's very common for people without English as their first language to focus on the actual language itself, syntax etc. but neglect nuance and context, which leaves them completely baffled. Sometimes this is a cultural thing and sometimes it's just an experience thing. A natural English speaker can usually sense cues from body language and context that the exact words being spoken are not literal and require careful interpretation. Us Brits for example can be VERY bad at being straight with people. For example it is considered extremely rude to tell someone their work is terrible, Instead you will usually have a Brit tell you that it perhaps needs tweaking but overall it's a decent enough effort. We apparently want to give you the impression that we want to help you whilst denying you the exact information you need to actually help yourself.
British people have an infuriating way of literally killing you with what they genuinely think is kindness. It makes us very hard to trust IMO. I suspect Americans have the same issue as do Canadians etc. All of this is very upsetting to foreign visitors to our shores.
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