Overview of pm133

Overview

Avatar placeholder
pm133
Friday, 8 January 2016 at 12:02am
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 at 7:39pm
290
Login to send a private message to pm133
page 1 of 20 recent posts

Thread: What would you do with an extra year before grad school?

posted
14-Aug-17, 12:10
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From OatmealDurkheim:
Quote From pm133:
Your research should essentially start today. No need to wait for the funding to kick in. I would even be tempted to ask to start today and maybe work a few days a week etc. Pretty sure that space-permitting you would be allowed to get going. Why waste a year?


Great suggestions, thanks! I'm not sure I got that last part, tho. Given that I didn't get into a graduate program yet (MA-then-PhD) and I'm not currently located in the target city/country, how could I get started in any semi-official capacity? I was mostly just thinking to work independently, maybe reach out to a few potential advisors for feedback (but that's it).


Ah OK, in that case ignore my last point until you find yourself on a program. At that point you can fly with the final suggestion if it sounds like something that will work out for you. I think the rest of the suggestions might be helpful though - it's certainly what I would do.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
14-Aug-17, 12:03
edited about 4 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From MrFox:
Quote From pm133:
I would not recommend anyone taking on a PhD with such poor grades. Really you need to be getting a first. Having said that, people do manage to turn things around but you are making a very tough task much harder if you dont have a first.


I find it mildly disturbing that you keep going around telling people (in this thread and in others) that no one should be doing a PhD without having obtained a 1st.

I got a high 2:1 in my undergrad because I didn't do all that well in 3rd year (dissertation was a 22/23 though), then I got offered a research masters with tuition scholarship during an internship without even applying. I passed my viva last month with minor corrections, and am now working with my supervisors to turn it into two papers. I will start medicine soon, but am also considering a PhD instead from next year on because I've really come to like research (problem is I prefer a field related to but still substantially different from my BSc and MSc, so need some preparation first).

And you want to tell me I'm unsuitable for a PhD because I didn't get a 1st at undergraduate? My supervisors certainly didn't think so, and neither did the examiners during my viva (they were quite eager for me to publish and mentioned they'd have loads of research for me if I did medicine at our uni).

The only reason I am writing about myself here is as an example to demonstrate that your exclusively grade-focused mentality is counterproductive. Some people are great at research projects but not particularly good at memorisation for exams - they can still make good scientists. Some people chose the wrong undergraduate and were perpetually bored in many modules, leading to suboptimal grades, but they may discover a field they love later on and still excel in it - again, who's to say they shouldn't do a PhD? You?


If you find it mildly disturbing that someone can voice an opinion you don't like then quite frankly I don't know how to help you my friend.

If you want to discuss things in a less emotional and aggressive manner then please feel free to get back to me. I have absolutely no problem having my opinion challenged (I am a scientist after all) but you need to do it in a slightly more respectful manner.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
14-Aug-17, 12:01
edited about 4 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From naturalproduct:
[quote]

I greatly appreciate your input, and I am incredibly happy you chose not to sugarcoat anything, because what you said, I will seriously consider and will probably hear it from others, so many thanks for your input.


You are welcome. Listen, I genuinely hope you manage to succeed but you asked for honest opinions and I gave mine. You obviously appear to appreciate this but others on here seem to have got themselves a little over heated at the shocking idea that someone might voice an opinion different to theirs.

I did a Masters in Chemistry as well incidentally. In your final year you may well find yourself referring to principles you have learned in all three previous years. In my finals I was having to rely on 1st year knowledge. Organic is the most "synoptic" in that respect but so is inorganic. You will have difficulty in things like catalysis without being able to recall transition metal chemistry basics for example. Your university may teach different final year things but might be worth bearing this in mind before you go back. If your university has not lectures in your final year then you might well find it easier to improve your grade through the project work but if they are loathe to hand out good grades then maybe you won't.

Good luck either way. Would be good to hear how you get on.

Thread: A Dr PhD yet jobless

posted
12-Aug-17, 13:22
edited about 6 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Are those of you who have not worked for more than 6 months tried self employment? I know it is not for everyone but it has to beat sitting at home on the dole. I can't think of anything which would drain the soul worse than not having any work at all.

Thread: Working from home or working at uni

posted
12-Aug-17, 13:19
edited about 17 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From canatanx:
Lately I've been feeling like I work better at home but I keep feeling bad when I am at home. Sometimes I actually get more done at home but I still feel like I should be an university at my desk even though I might not get much real work done there. Its a little annoying.
Just wanted to know if its okay and how others manage their work.


What you are describing is presenteeism - the need to feel you are at your work desk to be seen to be productive.

It takes a wee while to get over that and you can help yourself by setting some goals to be achieved each day and then recognising that what is important is getting things done rather than clocking a certain number of hours up.

You might also need to start working on an attitude of caring less about what co-workers feel about your working preferences. That will also take time but it is very liberating.

Thread: What would you do with an extra year before grad school?

posted
12-Aug-17, 13:13
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From OatmealDurkheim:
I plan to enter graduate school (MA+PhD) in September 2018, which means I have something of a ‘gap year’ ahead of me. I want to use this unstructured time, this opportunity to develop and prepare on my own terms, the best way I can.

If you were in my position, how would you spend these spare 12 months before grad school officially begins? How would you prepare for what’s ahead, what would you focus on?

It goes without saying that I have already given these questions a lot of careful consideration, but I’m very curious to learn how others would approach this topic; especially, current PhD candidates, postdocs, and lecturers/professors. Knowing what you now know, if you could go back, how would you spend a spare year like that?

Some background:
- My field is social/cultural anthropology.
- My ultimate goal (grad school and beyond) is to prepare a CV and a research portfolio, which will aid me in launching an academic career in Europe.
- I have a BA in anthropology and an unrelated MA,
- I currently freelance (unrelated field); I have plenty of spare time, and can arrange my schedule in whatever way I see fit.
- I live in a mid-size European city (not a capital); can’t move anywhere this year, but can likely do some limited traveling.
- There’s a small anthropology department here, but I’m not affiliated with it, and never was. My degree is from the US.
- I can speak the local language fairly well.
- The grad school (next year) will be in a different county, and learning the new language will be one of my objectives this year. The language of instruction will be English, however.

Note: Not sure if I made this clear, but I’m not looking for answers such as “travel for fun,” or “get a new hobby.” All of these are fine, but I want to use these 12 months to prepare for the demands of grad school and the grueling academic job hunt ahead.


If you absolutely want an academic career I would spend time finding out about funding routes, the applications processes for fellowships etc and building a database of who is important in your field. I would do literature reviews on your area of interest and request to go on any appropriate training courses or conferences. Start getting your literature database in order - how are you going to record what you have read, takes notes etc in a searchable format for easy reach later in the PhD? I would use the space and time to devise my own research questions and projects to solve. Start reading books as well. Your research should essentially start today. No need to wait for the funding to kick in. I would even be tempted to ask to start today and maybe work a few days a week etc. Pretty sure that space-permitting you would be allowed to get going. Why waste a year?

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
12-Aug-17, 13:07
edited about 32 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From naturalproduct:


Yes ofcourse, I understand, the consistency will definitely be different for a final year mark very much higher than the other years' "average" marks, but I was really hoping it wouldn't hinder me greatly.

Other than doing massive amounts of reading around the project topic, and working hard, and efficiently around the lab hour clock, how would you advise to make an outstanding impression on my supervisor from as early as possible?

The 2.1 students getting into the PhD positions really make me believe there is some hope, I do chemistry at a top end Russel Group, I would assume they are not too different?

Thank you so much for your input once again, I really appreciate it.


Unless you are at Cambridge or Oxford it almost doesn't matter what unviersity you went to. Your 62% will be pretty much the same as 62% from any other uni. If I were you, I would forget all about your university's "ranking". The rankings are nonsense from start to finish. There really is no such thing as a "top end" Russell Group uni.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
12-Aug-17, 13:04
edited about 22 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From naturalproduct:
Quote From TreeofLife:
X


Thank you for the response.

For PhD applications, universities will require a transcript of marks for all years, so I was wondering, whether a very good 4th year mark, would be looked upon favorably, seeing as if the final year mark is much higher than all other years, it would demonstrate that you are very competent at the height of your degree; and thus would show what a candidate is capable of?

The additional skills you've mentioned are definitely a must, I understand that, as it is no easy feat.

With regards to past grades, if one makes a very good impression on their MSci project supervisor, will that aid with the application, especially if it is to the same university department? (since the academics will know each other relatively well). So is that likely to act in ones favor despite the current low 2.1?

Many thanks for our input, it is greatly appreciated.


Having poor grades throughout and then firing in an 80% in your final year would likely demonstrate that you have a lack of focus until you feel the flames of the fire at your feet.
It would indicate that working without very close supervision is a problem for you. Specifically it would indicate to me that you would not be right for a PhD position unless you could find a way of convincing me that you had fundamentally changed your attitude. Also getting an 80% on top of 3 years of 60% would suggest a complete disconnect between your course years. Without going back and re-studying your first 3 years I would be very suspicious of how it was possible to get 80% in year 4.
If your 80% was largely down to project work then your transcript would show it and that would tell me that whilst you had decent technical skills in the lab you lacked the theoretical underpinning to support a PhD application.

You should think about my advice and consider how you would either argue against it or mitigate for it. I used to help out with interviewing technical candidates when I was an employee and I had my own recriutment business for a short time as well so I am more likely to be picky in my analysis of your situation. You might find that supervisors simply want a bum on a seat.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
12-Aug-17, 12:56
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From naturalproduct:
Thank you for the response.

Could you elaborate on why getting onto a PhD is "easy", because I had always thought it was difficult, as you mentioned, that it is strongly advised to have a first class classification.

You're correct in saying my grades do not support my case very well, does that mean you recommend to waiting until finishing the degree, and if the overall grades turn out very good, then applying?

Would that put me in a better position, as the MSci project year is the most relevant to doing a PhD since that is where the longest part of research is carried out within the entire degree?

I didn't completely understand what you meant by doing a PhD elsewhere, do you mean that I should apply in my 4th year but to other places? If so, what do you mean by "other" places? Because not everywhere will have the research field in which I am interested in.


I will answer your points in turn but please remember these are my own personal opinions and I am not in the business of wilfully trying to crush someone's hopes. I am only trying to give you an honest assessment of where I think you are right now:

Getting a PhD is easy if you have the grades. As ToL says above, most positions seem to receive relatively few applicants and in many cases you may be the only candidate. I am getting this information from academics who hire PhD students. If you have a first you can usually expect to have your pick of positions unless you are unlucky.

If I was in your position I would not be considering a PhD at all at this moment. I would consider my grades were simply too low to allow me to be as successful as I could be. That is a personal opinion only and I accept it is not one that most share. ToL gives an alternative viewpoint for example which you may prefer to go with. Certainly having the actual degree makes it easier to sell to potential supervisors but the problem is that at 62% you appear to have only picked up about half of what you were taught. How are you going to catch up with what you have not understood quickly enough to prevent you overrunning your PhD funding? Even if you don't need much of it, you will still be at a serious disadvantage. Universities in general are absolutely choc full of people in trouble and a lot of them struggle because they don't have the basics absolutely nailed down. None of this means you CANT succeed but you face a much higher hurdle than those who gained a 1st.

By doing a PhD elsewhere, I mean another university and another group. Regardless of what you want to study, your grades are not good enough for you to be certain of success.

Thread: A Dr PhD yet jobless

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:41
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From Barramack:
The reality is that the non-academic sector values work experience and a track record of delivering more so than having a PhD (at least in Australia). In my experience, personality and technical skills can be far better trained in a work environment, rather than from a PhD. A PhD can be a very isolationist experience compared to working in a proper team environment. In the latter, there is far more accountability (i.e. not just to yourself and your supervisor) and pressure to deliver, and there is an opportunity to not just better your existing technical skills, but to develop a broader range of skills than a 3-4 year PhD can provide.

What I'm getting at here is that people need to be cautious about having expectations that a PhD will give you all the skills you need to be competative in today's job market.


PhD graduates are usually employed at senior level in industry staright out of university.
The idea that 4 years of industry straight from undergrad is better than a PhD is absolutely wrong.
For a start, fresh graduates go through a 2 to 4 year graduate training scheme across different disciplines. After that they have no significant experience in any one area. PhD grads on the other hand are in a different league.
A PhD is equivalent to about 5 to 8 years experience without one. That has been true in every company I have ever worked in. Job adverts regularly state PhD or 5 years experience.

Thread: Should I be worried?

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:33
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From TheNerdyWorkoholic:
First off, I constantly over-think, so I'm here for experienced perspectives, before I combust!

I'm currently working on my Masters Thesis. Long story short, I love research and decided to approach a supervisor, before I was assigned to someone I wouldn't be completely compatible with. The supervisor I approached, agreed and all was well.

The issue here is, it has always been me, being proactive and him being at the receiving end. I didn't pay much attention to it in the beginning because I knew I had to go the extra mile, until my latest meeting with him this Monday, where he said he was reviewing my weekly work and after a while got "distracted".

I was a bit disappointed with that, and I feel very alone. Don't mistake it however, because I work well independently and this is MY idea, but I still expected him to put in his bit.

In sum, I think I just need to hear whether I'm over-thinking and my thesis is doing me in, or I have a legit reason to be concerned.

Much thanks,
TheNerdyWorkoholic


Agree with ToL, you are completely over-reacting.
Start worrying when your supervisor starts criticising your work.

Thread: pre-viva serious formatting mistake

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:30
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From mkb91:
Hi,

I recently submitted my PhD thesis (chemistry), and am now waiting around for a viva - date to be finalised but in 3 months or so. I'm also now writing up a paper from my thesis, meaning I annoyingly have to re-open my thesis chapters that I'd really rather never see again just to copy images across to the paper and so on.

During this, to my horror, I found a pretty significant formatting error in my final chapter (6) - basically, all my text got pushed a line down when I did a final seemingly insignificant change to a figure, meaning that from about halfway through the chapter onwards, the figure captions have been pushed onto the page after the figure itself. I've no idea how I didn't notice this, but I didn't, and the (one-sided) printed thesis will have this error. It affects about 7 figures.

Obviously I'm massively annoyed and kind of worried about how examiners will react to this, as it's pretty sloppy - I was somewhat rushed during printing and was more checking that the pages were in order etc. Has anyone ever done something similarly stupid and if so (how) did it work out? All the other chapters, which are the first 300 pages or so, are fine. I'm more concerned that the figures might not make much sense if they fail to realise this error...the figure numbers referred to in the text end up on the wrong page.

Any advice / similar experiences appreciated!

Matt


Yep, had a few typos and other page issues but as we went through the viva I raised them myself.
Not a problem.

Thread: PhD with a 2:2 (help!)

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:28
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From cjjohnson:
Hi, I’m looking for some advice that anyone may have with the troubles I am having with regards to enrolling onto a PhD and securing funding. I completed my BSc in psychology in 2015 only achieving a 2:2 and my MSc in 2016 achieving a Merit in psychological research methods. I know I could have done way better if I had just put some real effort in however my laziness and living the party life are starting to come back to haunt me. I’m in the process of trying to apply for a PhD of my own design which I believe has great potential in the field of evolutionary psychology and perception, however, I’m starting to see big barriers, especially with obtaining university funding/scholarships because of my 2:2 at bachelors level. My question is how much will this 2:2 hold me back in terms of getting a PhD and securing funding, either internally from a university or externally from charities and trusts? Is there anyone else in my situation or has been?

Thanks for reading.


The 2:2 is not great but you have fixed that with the Masters. I dont see any problem in principle but your lack of a distinction might be an issue depending on how many others apply tp the same position.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:25
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
[quote]Quote From naturalproduct:
Hi, I'm new here, and wanted to ask about the impact of grades (in certain years) on a PhD application (assuming that references are good).
I study an MSci Chemistry degree, and will be entering 4th year this coming September.
My 1st and 2nd year results were mid 2.1's (~65%), however, upon receiving my 3rd year result last month I am rather worried; I have unfortunately ended up with a 2.2 (59%).
The average across the first 3 years totals to approximately 62%; now my MSci year counts for 40% of the entire degree.
I believe the usual time for PhD applications are November/December onwards?
However, I am under the influence that my 3rd year result will greatly impact the application seeing as at the current time, the 3rd year mark will be the most influential seeing as it is the most recent result and so far the hardest out of the first 3 years (is this a correct assumption to make?).
Now what I wish to ask is if I manage to score a strong first in the MSci year, will that outweigh the results of the first 3 years and put me in a better position to successfully obtain a PhD place? (The project is worth 75% and exams are 25% weightings in the MSci year).
And in this regard, will it be more or less beneficial to apply for a PhD once my MSci year is complete?
I wish to undertake a PhD within one of the top 5 UK institutions (I will not name it) as some of the projects I am very interested in (still narrowing it down) have supervisors there.
Many Thanks in advance


If you are grading as low as 59% it doesnt matter what university you are at - you have a problem. Your grade average over all your years is not really any better. Having said that you could still be successful but remember one thing.....Getting onto a PhD is easy in comparison to actually successfully completing one without running out of funding. I would not recommend anyone taking on a PhD with such poor grades. Really you need to be getting a first. Having said that, people do manage to turn things around but you are making a very tough task much harder if you dont have a first.

You are talking about 80% being possible but speaking frankly, your grades are going in the opposite direction and you will definitely have trouble persuading anyone that you can miraculously turn this around. You have no evidence to suggest that is possible and in my opinion the fact that your university is seemingly highly rated, whatever that means, is probably not relevant in that respect. By all means apply, and you certainly should if that is what you want to do, but my strong advice is for you to make turning your poor grades around your top priority and consider the possibility that you might have to do a PhD elsewhere.

Thread: How long did you wait for PhD viva voce and what did you do in between?

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:09
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From alexandercarey1989:
I already submitted PhD thesis yesterday. I heard from the department that I will have to wait for at least 7 weeks before viva voce. I also heard from my seniors that sometimes they had to wait for more than a semester before they could undergo viva examination. Based on your previous experiences, how long did you have to wait for viva exam? What did you do in between?

My supervisor already had examiners to examine my thesis but I just don't know for how long I have to wait.

I had to wait about 7 weeks I think, which is disgraceful in my opinion. During the break I finished off my last two pieces of work ready for publishing. I then reread the entire thesis with a few weeks to go. Horrible time. Glad it is over,
page 1 of 20 recent posts

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2011
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

FindA University Ltd, Sellers Wheel, 151 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU, United Kingdom. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766