Final year support thread

posted
16-May-17, 13:10
by tomsan
Avatar for tomsan
posted about 4 months ago
Hi all, just thought I'd drop to moan about my thesis writing. Have written first drafts of lit review and methods, both panned pretty heavily by my supervisor. Now writing quant findings, hopefully will finish that today if I can stop procrastinating...

Terrified of starting my quant discussion. What am I going to say?
posted
17-May-17, 10:38
Avatar for EffinIneffable
posted about 4 months ago
Hi,
I'm new to this forum, and have just come across you! I'd love to join in the support thread. I'm submitting in September (hard, hard, hard deadline after 7 years on and off, including a year of maternity leave ...) and have a LOT of work to do before then. Also feeling really unsupported by my supervisors. I'm a social science phd in the UK, doing a qualitative study, and freaking out that I still haven't got all my analysis nailed down, and need to go back and re-jig literature, methods, theory, etc in the light of how my study evolved along the way, which my supervisors seem to think are just minor issues.

Congratulations to those who have recently submitted and those who are very very close! Sorry I can't help with the quant discussions.
posted
20-May-17, 01:58
edited about 2 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From EffinIneffable:
Hi,
I'm a social science phd in the UK, doing a qualitative study, and freaking out that I still haven't got all my analysis nailed down, and need to go back and re-jig literature, methods, theory, etc in the light of how my study evolved along the way, which my supervisors seem to think are just minor issues.


Hi there and welcome! Re-your statement above- I still feel like this and I am going to submit my thesis in 8 weeks time anyway. I think it might be down to just wanting it to be perfect and always seeing room for improvement. When you get the final product, even with a bit of editing to go, there are all these thoughts that swim around.." my analysis is limited, I've got to reshape the first chapters, etc, etc". When you come to do this work, it isn't as complex as you think-although owing to fatigue, it can be hard to be motivated to do it. So then the thoughts come back "wow, my thesis is 'meh', it can't possibly be good enough. Surely I need to do more. What was all this pain for anyway?".

I think these thoughts are common and, of course, you can always do more but at some point you have to stop and graduate. There may also be some truth to these thoughts but not in a negative way.

Essentially, the PhD is just a large study-your final piece as an apprentice. And the first step to a research career, or a symbol of reaching a level of understanding or intellectual scholarship, if you don't use it for academia but in the professional world.

And what it looks like at the other end, isn't quite how you envision it at the start or even in the middle of the journey. So your supervisors may be less worried because their expectations are for a 'good enough product that qualifies you for a PhD' whereas the candidate may be hoping for and seeing in their mind a perfect product, that may even be transformative or transform your life somehow.

In my opinion, it is still very worthwhile doing, absolutely essential if you do want to be an academic or researcher and still worthwhile as a form of terminal degree which conveys a level of professional expertise in an area-even if you don't. (Provided though that you understand and are hoping for one of these two outcomes. It can be disappointing if these outcomes are not what you were aiming for).
posted
22-May-17, 16:21
edited about 18 seconds later
by SU3AD
Avatar for SU3AD
posted about 4 months ago
OMG finally i found people just like me....i am in my writing phase of DBA thesis...I .spend the majority of my time in front of the laptop but little progress is achieved!
I don't really know how people are doing it and get into writing thing!
I am honestly glad to find this forum....someone who can at least understand my feeling and can give me a support.
All the best!
posted
25-May-17, 23:20
edited about 13 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 4 months ago
@Welcome to you SU3AD, wishing you the best of luck. I am sure you will get much support from the forum and this thread when you need it. Hope all goes well and the writing issues are manageable.

Yesterday I had my final meeting before submission in 7 weeks time. It was around 4 hours and we went through the whole thing.
What do I have to do now?

Check for absolute consistency, with headings and APA citation.
Work a bit more on the table formatting. Some clarification of terms.
Some further work on bringing out contribution to knowledge-its in there and the study is a 'lovely story' but contribution is a bit underplayed and needs to be drawn out in conclusion more effectively.
Send a copy of Chapter 1 and 4 to second supervisor and ask her to read to check that she is happy with my formatting and consistency changes in.about 3-4 weeks.
Some paragraphs here and there need to be moved from where they are and placed in another part of the thesis.
Some headings need to be collapsed into one heading or removed at different points.
Add or adjust lit review in small parts to reflect some references introduced in discussion chapter.
Few more editing sorts of things, doable definitely.

I think this is my penultimate or second last post on this particular thread-I'll post on or just after submission. Best wishes to all of you on this last year, last months thread and all of you drawing closer to the finishing line.
posted
26-May-17, 07:50
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 months ago
Welcome, SU3AD :)

Pjlu, sounds like you're nearly there! Best of luck with it. I'm just waiting on my viva date now.
posted
29-May-17, 17:27
Avatar for EffinIneffable
posted about 4 months ago
Thanks Pjlu, that's some really good advice. I can definitely relate to those thoughts of it all being a bit pointless at this point in time. I guess I feel a bit disappointed that after all the years of work, the actual research itself doesn't feel very much more significant than any other research project I've worked on. And I've kind of lost faith in my supervisors a bit and feel they've pushed me in a direction that I found less interesting. But they, I think, have their eyes on submission and 'good enough not to fail' and right now that's where I need to be too. Also, I don't think I'm going to pursue an academic career, so my main motivation right now is just to get the d*** thing finished and be done with it!

Hi SU3AD. Afraid I don't know what a DBA thesis is? Is it dissertation by articles?

Chickpea sounds like you are very, very close indeed - exciting! My writing schedule has me writing the conclusion two weeks before I have to submit! Eeeek!
posted
29-May-17, 22:41
edited about 4 seconds later
by SU3AD
Avatar for SU3AD
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From Pjlu:
@Welcome to you SU3AD, wishing you the best of luck. I am sure you will get much support from the forum and this thread when you need it. Hope all goes well and the writing issues are manageable.

Yesterday I had my final meeting before submission in 7 weeks time. It was around 4 hours and we went through the whole thing.
What do I have to do now?

Check for absolute consistency, with headings and APA citation.
Work a bit more on the table formatting. Some clarification of terms.
Some further work on bringing out contribution to knowledge-its in there and the study is a 'lovely story' but contribution is a bit underplayed and needs to be drawn out in conclusion more effectively.
Send a copy of Chapter 1 and 4 to second supervisor and ask her to read to check that she is happy with my formatting and consistency changes in.about 3-4 weeks.
Some paragraphs here and there need to be moved from where they are and placed in another part of the thesis.
Some headings need to be collapsed into one heading or removed at different points.
Add or adjust lit review in small parts to reflect some references introduced in discussion chapter.
Few more editing sorts of things, doable definitely.

I think this is my penultimate or second last post on this particular thread-I'll post on or just after submission. Best wishes to all of you on this last year, last months thread and all of you drawing closer to the finishing line.

Thank you Pjlu for your reply and advice
posted
29-May-17, 22:42
by SU3AD
Avatar for SU3AD
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From EffinIneffable:
Thanks Pjlu, that's some really good advice. I can definitely relate to those thoughts of it all being a bit pointless at this point in time. I guess I feel a bit disappointed that after all the years of work, the actual research itself doesn't feel very much more significant than any other research project I've worked on. And I've kind of lost faith in my supervisors a bit and feel they've pushed me in a direction that I found less interesting. But they, I think, have their eyes on submission and 'good enough not to fail' and right now that's where I need to be too. Also, I don't think I'm going to pursue an academic career, so my main motivation right now is just to get the d*** thing finished and be done with it!

Hi SU3AD. Afraid I don't know what a DBA thesis is? Is it dissertation by articles?

Chickpea sounds like you are very, very close indeed - exciting! My writing schedule has me writing the conclusion two weeks before I have to submit! Eeeek!

It is Doctorate of Business Administration Thesis :)
posted
04-Jul-17, 10:19
by PhD2017
Avatar for PhD2017
posted about 2 months ago
Hey all,
I am due to hand my thesis in by August 31st. I'm starting to get a lot of anxiety and am having trouble sleeping which is really not helping the writing process. Any tips? Anyone else in the same boat atm? Thanks!
posted
06-Jul-17, 14:07
edited about 3 seconds later
by Beasley
Avatar for Beasley
posted about 2 months ago
Hi PhD2017. Yes, I am in a similar boat! I'm a much older than average PhD student and have never had any anxiety before, but as my submission deadline looms I have started to experience panic symptoms for the first time. Sleep isn't so much of a problem for me, but I find that when I sit down to write (and I still have much to do and very little time) I am too overwhelmed to do anything.

Few tips I am afraid. My GP gave me beta blockers which should allow me to work without anxiety and I think it makes me feel better knowing they are there if I need them. They don't help with my concentration problems though or my total lack of enthusiasm for my work at the moment. Its very hard without sleep to get on with writing. Is it panic that keeps you awake or a general sense of anxiety about what you still have to do? The no panic website is helpful if that is the problem. Going to bed physically exhausted might help with sleep? Sorry can't be more help, but wanted to let you know you are not alone. When the end is in sight the pressure really starts to build and I don't think that what we are experiencing is unusual.
posted
15-Jul-17, 09:19
edited about 43 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 2 months ago
Hi, sorry I have no sage advice about anxiety. I do get it and just work through a repertoire of different strategies-wine, herbal tea, running and exercise, relaxation, Netflix binges, chocolate binges, exercise, anything that seems to work at all.

I have finished my draft bar printing it out for a final hard copy proof read tomorrow and then sending it to second supervisor for her approval (and/or suggestions). But really it is done bar second supervisors oversight and potential suggestions. So once she is happy I can submit. Didn't realise how anxious I was as I pretended I was fine but can always tell via fatigue and illness.I think though this part becomes difficult as it is becoming pretty much out of one's control. Hope she reads it quickly but it will be what it will be.

Best wishes to you both and hope that anxiety is not too much...the end is in sight huzzah!
posted
26-Jul-17, 13:56
edited about 27 seconds later
by tara_hh
Avatar for tara_hh
posted about 2 months ago
Hey guys...

Anyone really good at using Mplus and/or SPSS? It's getting closer to analysis time for my dissertation and I need someone to help me refresh my brain on using these softwares.

Thanks x
posted
05-Aug-17, 13:09
edited about 12 seconds later
by PhD2017
Avatar for PhD2017
posted about 1 month ago
Hi Beasley and Pjlu, thank you for replying. I have written over half of my dissertation now and seeing as it is by articles, the rest (results and discussion) shouldn't take too long..I hope. I'm starting to feel like I will make it by the end of the month and my supervisor said that he will only need a day or two to make corrections. My supervisor is wonderful, I think I'd be a mess if it wasn't for his support. I'm still not sleeping well and still experience chest pain almost daily from unconsciously holding my breath and anxiety. It feels like I've been swimming deep under water for the past almost year and am only now about to reach the surface. I am an anxious person in general, and I'm very competitive, so I bring a lot of the stress on myself. Beasley, I think it is quite normal, I have read a lot about anxiety among grad students, the pressure to publish and apply for grants etc affects us now too, no longer just those in full-time positions, with limited post doc positions and a thesis to write at the end of it all, is it any wonder there are higher rates of mental health struggles among grads. Pjlu, I downloaded the app CBT-i Coach and it has helped a lot actually - especially the muscle relaxation exercises, and tea has always been a good friend of mine. Hope you are both doing well and best of luck with your submission!
posted
07-Aug-17, 11:04
edited about 20 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From PhD2017:
Hi Beasley and Pjlu, thank you for replying. I have written over half of my dissertation now and seeing as it is by articles, the rest (results and discussion) shouldn't take too long..I hope. I'm starting to feel like I will make it by the end of the month and my supervisor said that he will only need a day or two to make corrections. My supervisor is wonderful, I think I'd be a mess if it wasn't for his support. I'm still not sleeping well and still experience chest pain almost daily from unconsciously holding my breath and anxiety. It feels like I've been swimming deep under water for the past almost year and am only now about to reach the surface. I am an anxious person in general, and I'm very competitive, so I bring a lot of the stress on myself. Beasley, I think it is quite normal, I have read a lot about anxiety among grad students, the pressure to publish and apply for grants etc affects us now too, no longer just those in full-time positions, with limited post doc positions and a thesis to write at the end of it all, is it any wonder there are higher rates of mental health struggles among grads. Pjlu, I downloaded the app CBT-i Coach and it has helped a lot actually - especially the muscle relaxation exercises, and tea has always been a good friend of mine. Hope you are both doing well and best of luck with your submission!


That's great news PHD2017. Gee wish my supervisors only took a day or so! Mine take between 2-3 weeks and I am waiting for the final comments from my second supervisor for the last few chapters in the next couple of days. Once she has passed these over, I'll only take a day or so as the changes are final edits and not to do with theory, content or argument, thankfully. I'm hoping to post I've submitted any day now. Nice though that all is improving and you can see the way through.

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