Final year support thread

posted
12-Feb-16, 05:15
edited about 21 seconds later
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 11 months ago
I submitted my thesis for examination a week ago, so technically I have just entered the last phase of candidature....I found writing up to be a nightmare....I had a complete first drat 18 months ago and thought I had a few months of editing ...not so....my supervisors did not read my thesis at a deep level and only once I started getting close to the end of my candidature date did they 'wake up' and start applying their minds to my writing. It turned out that my writing was littered with statements of belief and I didnt know the meaning of topic sentences!! I found getting the hang of the conventions of academic writing in my specialism really difficult...I lost all confidence in my writing and with that went my creativity...a low point...I picked myself up (mentally) and doggedly corrected every sentence and paragraph according to the feedback...there were at least 20 iterations of each chapter and when I thought it was done, my supervisors told me to get rid of the implications chapter saying it was too practical for a PhD! My husband wanted me to sue the university because by then my scholarship was over...I plodded on for another year, rewriting every chapter...and then finally asked for permission to submit...even then my supervisor asked me to work on the final chapter for another 2 weeks...arrggghhh....
posted
12-Feb-16, 08:12
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 11 months ago
NBurger, that all sounds like a nightmare and very difficult to manage when your scholarship has run out - I will definitely need to find work if mine drags on like that. I hope things go smoothly now and that you have a good viva experience!
posted
12-Feb-16, 08:22
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 11 months ago


I can relate to that :) I do love academia but there are some things that annoy me too.

I've had a really slow and unproductive week sadly. I've noticed when I am writing I am more focused; reading on its own makes me procrastinate. So I think I need to do both at one time.

I hope you had a more productive week than mine?


Sorry you've not had such a productive week - hopefully next week will be better :)

I've spent some time sorting out niggly things regarding recruitment and data collection AGAIN - my recruitment has been two years of dead slow and stop and is at the top of my 'one more push and you never have to do it again' list!

The bits of time I've spent writing have been fine and I have a draft chapter more or less ready to send to my supervisors - going to wait til Monday as I always feel a bit mean about sending things through on a Friday!
posted
14-Feb-16, 04:20
edited about 11 seconds later
by Zeejet
Avatar for Zeejet
posted about 11 months ago
I'm also a final year (or final semester at the time of this post) PhD student in chemistry. I know I can finish my thesis and defend on time, but my greatest fear is not being able to publish my last chapter (I only have two papers from grad school) and leaving with a publication record that is not competitive in the job market. I'm also light on awards and breadth of technical skills. I guess things could be worse, but right now I'm struggling to maintain focus when depression sets in everytime I try to work.
posted
15-Feb-16, 15:35
edited about 41 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 11 months ago
Quote From Zeejet:
I'm also a final year (or final semester at the time of this post) PhD student in chemistry. I know I can finish my thesis and defend on time, but my greatest fear is not being able to publish my last chapter (I only have two papers from grad school) and leaving with a publication record that is not competitive in the job market. I'm also light on awards and breadth of technical skills. I guess things could be worse, but right now I'm struggling to maintain focus when depression sets in everytime I try to work.


You have two papers published already! I would be happily celebrating :)
posted
15-Feb-16, 15:36
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 11 months ago
NBurger, that sounds like a horrible experience. I hope your viva goes fantastically well!
posted
17-Feb-16, 13:10
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for charmlessman
posted about 11 months ago
Quote From Zeejet:
I'm also a final year (or final semester at the time of this post) PhD student in chemistry. I know I can finish my thesis and defend on time, but my greatest fear is not being able to publish my last chapter (I only have two papers from grad school) and leaving with a publication record that is not competitive in the job market. I'm also light on awards and breadth of technical skills. I guess things could be worse, but right now I'm struggling to maintain focus when depression sets in everytime I try to work.


Yeah, I have nothing. In my fourth year. Will hopefully have two papers but very little of what I've tried has worked out. I've seen people get decent jobs with poor publication records.

So 7 months to go, writing is going well but my final experiments are going horribly. I'm really worried.
posted
18-Feb-16, 11:52
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 11 months ago
It's not a nice position to be in, writing while hoping things will work out with your experiments. I am still collecting data too - not the way I wanted things to work out, writing up the bits I can while knowing I will need to adjust my argument according to whatever set of results I end up with! I am resigned to having to do some fast work at the end and pull something interesting out of my results, whatever they might turn up.
posted
20-Feb-16, 02:05
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 11 months ago
Sorry to read about data difficulties. I was there earlier in the part time PhD process and managed to scrape through with 'enough' data, after a long time of miserable recruitment and uptake issues.

Currently, I have just had a meeting with both supervisors and now need to re-organise my final chapters. Sounds okay but actually, I can tell it is a lot of work really and I tried not to seem too dispirited with my supervisors after a long day at work followed by the supervision meeting.

I can't face even looking at it today (Saturday) but will try again tomorrow. It's okay, it will happen but I just remember sitting in the meeting room late Thursday afternoon, with a cup of cold tea, looking out at the window as the supervisors discussed this with me (using third person quite often "she needs to do this".." well I think if she does that"), I felt as if I wasn't even there... and thinking as I drove out, (to get caught in the only peak hour traffic my regional city ever gets, which when we have a National football game on in the stadium and we did that evening only I had forgotten about it), and finally got home-'did I ever want to be an academic?'...'who was that person?', 'what happened to her?'. Well onwards and upwards I suppose. Best wishes all...
posted
21-Feb-16, 07:04
Avatar for Goal2016
posted about 11 months ago
Hi all,
I am also in my last year (aiming to submit around December). However, I have my annual review in a couple of weeks, and am genuinely concerned that I will be thrown out of the university. So, until then I am working on a paper (the main results of my theses), it's all I can do at this stage. If it's not enough for them, maybe it's time to quit.
posted
22-Feb-16, 16:58
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 11 months ago
Quote From Goal2016:
Hi all,
I am also in my last year (aiming to submit around December). However, I have my annual review in a couple of weeks, and am genuinely concerned that I will be thrown out of the university. So, until then I am working on a paper (the main results of my theses), it's all I can do at this stage. If it's not enough for them, maybe it's time to quit.


Hi, sending lots of good wishes to your side. I hope you'll be OK.

How's everyone doing? I'm working on chapter corrections this week, and hoping to get the next chapter started by the end of the week. I hope everyone had a productive day!
posted
27-Feb-16, 03:53
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for Goal2016
posted about 11 months ago
Thanks Hugh.
Working on the paper this weekend, hoping to at least get the results and discussion sections done, as the discussion section will allow me to prove that I'm capable.
Did you manage to get your corrections done and start the next chapter?
posted
27-Feb-16, 08:42
edited about 10 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 11 months ago
Quote From Goal2016:
Thanks Hugh.
Working on the paper this weekend, hoping to at least get the results and discussion sections done, as the discussion section will allow me to prove that I'm capable.
Did you manage to get your corrections done and start the next chapter?


That sounds good! I got distracted from next chapter and instead decided to re-write a previous chapter and prepare it for publication. I'm hoping to get some work done on it today too. Wishing you the best of luck with it :)

I'm torn between trying to publish now or finishing the thesis and then publishing. I just feel I'd be much more confident going into the viva with existing publications. But I know its going to take time and energy to do!
posted
27-Feb-16, 09:19
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 11 months ago
I got a chapter draft back this week with a note saying it doesn't need to be seen again - equal parts 'yay' and 'eek'! It would be nice if I could do that with all my chapters but we'll see!

Hugh, my supervisor seems to think that writing chapters/papers in tandem doesn't involve much more work than just writing the chapter, so I'm hoping to have a go at a couple of papers as I'm writing. I'm not clear yet about whether or not the paper needs to be a complete re-wording from the chapter though, which I imagine would be a bit annoying to do.
posted
27-Feb-16, 10:23
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 11 months ago
Quote From chickpea:
I got a chapter draft back this week with a note saying it doesn't need to be seen again - equal parts 'yay' and 'eek'! It would be nice if I could do that with all my chapters but we'll see!

Hugh, my supervisor seems to think that writing chapters/papers in tandem doesn't involve much more work than just writing the chapter, so I'm hoping to have a go at a couple of papers as I'm writing. I'm not clear yet about whether or not the paper needs to be a complete re-wording from the chapter though, which I imagine would be a bit annoying to do.


Very well done chickpea! That must feel amazing :)

I think your supervisor might be correct. I have found that converting chapter to journal paper makes the chapter much more focused and succinct, especially the results and discussion section. The only thing that requires full writing is the introduction and literature review part in the paper, which isn't normally very long.

I am certainly not re-wording, unless I really need to. I think my thesis chapter will have more details, especially in methods and in the results (more results will be recorded), but otherwise, I expect the results and discussion to be the same, even close to identical. I don't see why you would need to re-write it all, both are your own pieces of work on the exact same study.

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