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tru
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 at 11:28am
Friday, 21 April 2017 at 11:32pm
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page 1 of 5 recent posts

Thread: Cannot afford PhD

posted
13-Apr-17, 23:33
edited about 1 second later
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, samaylett,

I empathize with your situation. A few suggestions:

Unable to attend interview physically: Is Skype interview not an option? Did you ask for a possible travel cost reimbursement? You will be very surprised at what you can get if you are brave enough to ask.

Finance: This one is tricky. But, have you talked to your supervisor about this? Could you ask for a part time RA role in your group or within the uni? How about tutoring or other casual role in the uni? My friend got through her entire PhD (self sponsored) by working as a part time RA to pay for her tuition fees and as a tutor to get some money for her living allowance. It was really tough for her, but she made it. Another friend worked as a cleaner and restaurant waitress to supplement her cost of living.

These are just some of my suggestions. Good luck.

Thread: Crushed

posted
13-Apr-17, 23:13
edited about 10 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, random_6772.

So they told you that even if you win a complaint, the University is likely to have their hands tied by RCUK rules? "Likely" is not "surely".

By the way, you have to understated that whenever PhD students have big problems, the uni tends to close ranks and protect its staff aka your supervisor. Seen it happen many times, even to myself. But guess what, even when they (a couple of very, very high ranking people of the university) told me to let go of my case because my supervisor did nothing wrong (despite the mountains of hard evidences), I persevered on and eventually won my case completely. And I got my PhD award later. In your case, the uni has to admit fault that your supervisor was not supervising. That is why they would prefer that you fail than them having to admit fault. Understand the underlining reasons for them not helping.

Go and seek advice from your students union and postgrad coordinator. Be warned, that as you lodge the complain, you may see the ugliest side of the uni to sidetrack you and prevent your from lodging (aka uni self defense mechanism). Another word of advice, collect and organise your documentations to prove your case. Be thorough in your documentation and stay calm in the face of adversity. Don't walk away from your PhD without even trying to fight. You have nothing to lose.

Toughen up, and fight for what you feel is right for you. Act FAST. I wish you the very best.

Thread: STEM teaching positions without research

posted
13-Apr-17, 11:58
edited about 20 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, impasse,

I completely agree with TreeofLife. Tutoring is a great way to teach and you can set how many subjects and therefore how many tutoring sessions you will have. You can always negotiate with the head of subject.

Besides that, I do think that you should consider the Associate Lecture role. You can give it a try and if it does not suit, leave later. Better having tried than never at all.

Good luck.

Thread: Jobless after a PhD

posted
13-Apr-17, 11:51
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, piya29in,

I think the question is, what is your long term goal? You mentioned setting up a plant tissue culture laboratory and doing postdoc fellowships. Are you wanting to stay in academia or set up your own company? They are very different career paths. Any do you want to do biomedic or plant science? Please make up your mind.

If you are really looking for post doc position, then NETWORKING is key. It means contacting Professors before they have funds so that they may remember you when they do have funds. My former colleagues got their post doc position sometimes up to a year before they start the position. Can your previous supervisors not recommend you to do a postdoc at his/her collaborator's lab? You probably got shortlisted because you do have the skills but lost to someone who has more experience and who is known to the professor. If you have never networked, I suggest that you start doing that now. You are going to need it.

Thread: Second Master's degree or PhD?

posted
13-Apr-17, 11:25
edited about 16 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, JJ_13,

I would ask that you sit down and consider what your aim in life is and importantly where you want to be.

1) If you want to be in South Africa and in academia, then please just continue on in your current project.
2) If you intend to leave and perhaps stay in another country, then you may wish to consider the masters as it gives you international experience which you can leverage in future to apply for jobs elsewhere or another PhD program. If you want to stay in Sweden, this may give you a chance at that too.
3) If your PhD in South Africa is highly recognised world wide and you want to leave for a different country one day, you may also do so after finishing your PhD.

No one knows your circumstances or your career and life aspirations. Decide what is best for yourself. Take care.

Thread: Crushed

posted
13-Apr-17, 11:16
edited about 19 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, random_6772

I agree totally with bewildered. Talk to your postgraduate coordinator or Students Union on how to lodge a formal complaint. Do it ASAP. You have nothing to lose anyway. If you do not get an extension, you will be forced to fail. So give it your best shot and complain and fight for your extension on the basis on poor supervision. You no longer have to worry about future relationship with your supervisor, because a) if he ignored you during your PhD, he will ignore your future request for reference letter and b) what use is a relationship if you fail your PhD.

Fight on! Good luck!

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
13-Apr-17, 11:02
edited about 25 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, SmilingHippo,

Considering that you are only in your first year, would you be willing to consider changing to a new project and supervisor who is more suitable for you? Clearly a hands-off supervisor who may have little experience with international students is not working well for you.

Do speak to your postgraduate coordinator (there is one in every school) to identify potential new supervisors for you. I do not believe you cannot change supervisors. You are not the first student with compatibility issue with the supervisor and wanting to change. You could also speak to people outside your group and even those from different schools, as long as they are working on the area you are interested in. Talk to their students and technicians as well to know the supervisors true colours. You do not want to leave a bad supervisor for another who is just as bad or worse.

Calm down and reassess your situation and options. Good luck.

Thread: What to do after a successful appeal?

posted
01-Apr-17, 22:53
edited about 28 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 3 weeks ago
I think you should be allowed to make amendments to your thesis before you resubmit. Check with your postgrad coordinator and appeals panel. You may wish to improve it significantly before resubmitting, to prevent a repeat of your previous situation.

Did you previously sign a form to confirm who your panel of reviewers are? In my uni, usually supervisors select the panel members and then students sign a form saying they agree with the selection. Is this the same for your uni? You should be able to select your panel of reviewers. Perhaps you could put forward a list of 3-5 and the university will then select 2-3 from the list. Choose carefully.

Thread: What to do after a successful appeal?

posted
31-Mar-17, 10:53
edited about 28 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 1 month ago
Hi, BeHappy,

I agree with TreeofLife that changing supervisors will not help you now. Since your supervisor did not comment/help you before your submission and actually supported your previous examiners' no award, I do not think he will help you now. Besides, he probably knew the examiners, and that is why he did not really support you challenging their decision.

So, think deeply who your new examiners could be. Do you know of any independent senior researcher who knows your field? Propose to your university and see if they accept them. I would also suggest that you talk to your postgrad coordinator about getting support to go through this and your future corrections. From here on, I think you are going without your supervisor, not that he helped you anyway before this.

Good luck.

Thread: Examiner Disagreement

posted
11-Mar-17, 06:40
by tru
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posted about 1 month ago
A BIG congratulations to Dr faded07. I am extremely happy for you. You have fought until the very end and won. All the best to you in your future career and may things be smooth sailing from now on.

Thread: Thinking of changing supervisors...

posted
25-Feb-17, 22:31
edited about 10 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 months ago
hi, Tudor_Queen,

It depends on what changes you want to your supervisory team. IF your PhD is going in a new direction which your supervisors have no interest/expertise in, then adding new supervisor(s) in the new field may be the way forward. Bear in mind to be very diplomatic when asking for it. I have seen relationships fails because the original supervisors took it as an insult to their knowledge and ability.

If your PhD has been going through many rabbit holes and dead ends, and you feel that your supervisors are lacking interest or not giving you any/sufficient feedback due to lack of knowledge/expertise, changing supervisors may be the way forward. If the project you are on is the supervisors', then you may have to change project as well. Changing of supervisor and project would be recomended only when you are in the early stages of your PhD. Eg. First 1-2 years in a 3-4 year PhD. If you are past that and feel that there is not much hope in finishing with a good PhD, perhaps go for a masters, then do another PhD. Academic career post PhD is quite competitive and you can only apply for fellowships within limited time after your PhD. So, if you finish with no/little paper, this unfortunately makes you less competitive for fellowships. Try to give yourself the best fighting chance, if you want to be in academia.

Think deeply about what is best for you. All the best.

Thread: Examiner Disagreement

posted
16-Feb-17, 20:31
edited about 5 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 months ago
Just hang in there. Stay calm and continue ticking along. You are so near and things seem to be going in the right direction. Good luck

Thread: Examiner Disagreement

posted
13-Feb-17, 12:32
edited about 11 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 months ago
How is everything, faded07? Did they sort out the internal examiner for you?

Thread: Post-Phd... No post! Advice appreciated

posted
04-Feb-17, 01:04
edited about 7 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 months ago
Hi, Jewel17,

You asked if I think job recommendation applies across the board for academic positions and if they are filled internally usually. Absolutely YES to both questions. Not only for academic position, but across all types of jobs, they will prefer someone who is recommended by someone familiar to the hiring manager, and better yet if they know the applicant personally. I think that networking and finding a good career mentor who can advise and perhaps recommend you for jobs (not just inform you of opportunities, but actually go - Hey, Prof XX, I know someone who is excellent for that role you are advertising!) are the answers to your problems. Good luck.

Thread: Issues with supervisors

posted
04-Feb-17, 00:55
edited about 8 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 2 months ago
Hi, somthingsomethingtired,

You're in your first year. If the supervisors and project are poor matches for you, consider jumping ship to a better matched project and supervisor. You should be able to take your scholarship with you if you change within the same uni. You can read in this forum all the horrible stories from bad projects and supervisors. If you think that you have a high chance of being part of the bad statistics, you might as well take actions now to prevent that. Talk to your postgraduate coordinator in confidence to voice your concerns and see what he/she can suggest. Have a look around and talk to students from other groups or departments to see if there is potential vacancy, and importantly ask about the student-supervisor relationship. You want to go to a good supervisor, not another ill-fitting one.
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