PhD distress 2nd yr

posted
19-Oct-15, 16:26
by ppatch
Avatar for ppatch
posted about 2 years ago
Is it normal for tutors to make you rewrite and rewrite and complain that you are not being critical enough? This is getting me down. Actually have been crying like a baby. And this is only my second year.... Am i just plain incapable or has someone ever experienced this? Anyyoneeee??? Am PhD****** off!!!
posted
19-Oct-15, 20:49
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 2 years ago
Being asked to rewrite and rewrite - often to different requirements of different supervisors - is quite normal in my experience. And many PhD students are not critical enough in their writing, especially when talking about research by other scholars. It's not enough just to mention it, but you have to engage with it, and assess its relevance, effectiveness etc. Of course there is a balance to be struck: equally you can be told off for being too critical of other scholars. But it's a skill you have to learn to complete a PhD successfully.

So deep breaths, and knuckle down and get on with it :) Also second year - assuming you are full-time, i.e. over about 3 or maybe 4 years total - is well known for being a torrid experience. Second year blues is a common PhD experience.

Good luck!
posted
19-Oct-15, 20:50
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 2 years ago
Also getting feedback as a PhD student can be tough. But it's a process you go through, and it should teach you to be a better scholar. It will also prepare you for the often much more brutal experience as a post-doc, when e.g. you go through peer review of academic journal papers etc. That is generally much much worse than what you'll get now from your supervisors. You have to develop a thick skin. A PhD isn't about being the best, or the cleverest, but about keeping going, even through the tough times.
posted
19-Oct-15, 21:28
Avatar for tomlyle91
posted about 2 years ago
Hello,

Not sure this is relevant to you, but I'm doing a science PhD and I'm always having any results and methods scrutinised, yet also put under pressure to get things done quickly. It got to the point where I was breaking down and letting my anxiety get the better of me. Don't do that, it just digs you into a hole.

The best advice is to just not take it personally, you're still learning, and maybe the criticism is deserved. I've made a lot of stupid mistakes during my PhD and not realised it until later. Are there any older PhD students who have gone through this process and may have advice. I'm in third year now and I thought my second year was a write off, but I got some positive comments on my annual assessment, I'm sure it will be similar for you.
posted
20-Oct-15, 01:04
edited about 2 minutes later
by moonana
Avatar for moonana
posted about 2 years ago
My situation is worst. I am starting my 3rd year and I still did not upgraded because of my writing and editing . I feel like quitting everyday . I am international , so i know the language is one of my weakest point so I cannot argue much .
He is so negative that makes me feel i wont get a phd . Work is fine but my writing/knowledge way behind as i used to read only papers to do my work/experiments but i am trying to get on track but,it is really hard especially cause i feel my supervisor feels that I am sort of a fool .
Just continue what you do and you will get through , it will take time to learn to be critical but you will be there . Or that what i hope at least to encourage myself:/
posted
20-Oct-15, 09:41
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 2 years ago
Everyone feels like this at some time. It's normal. I finished my thesis only 4 months ago, but I can look back at it already and see how it could be improved. Be grateful your supervisors correct your work, even if it feels horrible now, they are trying to make you better.
posted
20-Oct-15, 12:17
Avatar for DocInsanity
posted about 2 years ago
Get as much feedback as you can! I've read many times on this site about supervisors being unwilling to read work, so it's great that your supervisors are so involved. It will help improve your work. Some feedback is useless of course, so don't feel you have to incorporate every suggestion.
posted
20-Oct-15, 14:26
edited about 5 seconds later
by ppatch
Avatar for ppatch
posted about 2 years ago
Dear all, thank you for your kind and warm wishes and encouragement.

I think that part of the problem is my low self-esteem hence I think that my colleagues are doing a better job at it than I am. Or so it looks like that...... Sigh.....
posted
20-Oct-15, 14:35
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From ppatch:
I think that part of the problem is my low self-esteem hence I think that my colleagues are doing a better job at it than I am. Or so it looks like that......


That's classic "imposter syndrome" and is not unique to you. It is very common among PhD students. It even happens to people post PhD, including professors.

Try not to compare yourself to the others. You're all doing things in different ways. It's not a competition. Nor is it a sprint. It's about sticking to it. More like a very very long marathon!

Good luck!
posted
20-Oct-15, 14:43
edited about 22 seconds later
by ppatch
Avatar for ppatch
posted about 2 years ago
Thanks BilboBaggins. nOw I need to find the guts to open that attachment and read their comments...... :))
posted
22-Oct-15, 16:32
edited about 1 second later
by milo 1 star member
Avatar for milo
posted about 2 years ago
Personally I like to read overly critical feedback in a funny (to me) cartoon-ish voice. I find it makes me chuckle and takes out some of the sting. This is a daft approach... but it works. That said, feedback will invariably make the text better. Good luck and keep going.
posted
22-Oct-15, 17:22
edited about 14 seconds later
by ppatch
Avatar for ppatch
posted about 2 years ago
lol milo! Just printed out the comments and i will def do that!!!!! Hahahahahahhaahh good one cheers!!!
posted
23-Oct-15, 11:04
edited about 15 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 2 years ago
I can totally relate to this. I have been asked to do the same for the past year, and gosh it is extremely difficult to take. I have always been top of the class, excellent grades, and taking SO much criticism about my work for such a long period of time, is very difficult to take. I know it will make me a better researcher, but goodness, it has bruised my academic confidence and I can't wait to get out of academia and feel clever again :-)
posted
23-Oct-15, 11:10
edited about 4 seconds later
by ppatch
Avatar for ppatch
posted about 2 years ago
Chocolate, same thing. Thanks so much for contributing. Very bruising indeed. Never thought it would be so different. Was always good at school but with their comments I feel dumb and incapable. Grrrrr :)))
posted
23-Oct-15, 12:10
edited about 18 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From ppatch:
Chocolate, same thing. Thanks so much for contributing. Very bruising indeed. Never thought it would be so different. Was always good at school but with their comments I feel dumb and incapable. Grrrrr :)))


Yes! I come out of my supervisions feeling utterly stupid. I try to tell myself that every single paragraph they have commented on, I should write next to it, brilliant, spot on! ;-)

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