Signup date: 29 Sep 2017 at 12:15am
Last login: 06 Oct 2020 at 5:39pm
Post count: 55
I'm going through a period of fairly bad depression currently which I have been for a few months now, I'm in the final year so I am trying to push myself through it. I can relate to the issues with lack of interest and motivation. I find focussing on the end goal now helps a bit. When feeling depressed you can lose interest in things that normally interest you so it makes decision making very difficult.
Think about why you made the decision to do the PhD and why you chose your particular project. If this doesn't help to motivate you then you perhaps you need to think if the PhD is really for you. I have a history of depression and anxiety and have had a lack of support during my PhD and it has been quite a negative experience at times as a result. Having an understanding supervisor will help and is I think is particularly important if you are susceptible to periods of poor mental health, in my experience supervisors don't always have a good understanding of these matters and central support has been lacking for PhD students where I am. Now is a good time to engage with support services and see what the support is like where you are.
I would perhaps wait a few weeks now before making a decision to see if your mood lifts. At this early stage in my PhD I was engaging in training courses and face to face networking with other PhD students. I don't find what is offered online now substitutes for this. You are starting a PhD at a difficult time currently.
The other University which this postdoc went to is now advertising roles I am very interested in. I emailed and they replied back with a very positive email, they copied in this person and that was the end of the communication. I sent this former postdoc a friendly email directly and they didn't reply. Seems there is already an enemy there, perhaps they see me as a threat and this is now having an effect on job opportunities. I wouldn't like to work with that person anyway, the roles hadn't been advertised with them as a contact. I would like to continue doing related work, they pushed me from something I really wanted to do as a PhD student. I was able to do something related but it didn't interest me as much and I have had to work with very little support and have faced many obstacles. Hopefully I find a suitable interesting role in a supportive team.
I would advise you against starting a science PhD during the current academic year. Lab access is very problematic currently and the situation could worsen again. I have links with a US university and its interesting hearing of the situation there, of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases after the fall semester commenced and now plans to have remote teaching only after thanksgiving, they currently have a blend of in person and remote teaching. Given your past experience another difficult start to a PhD could be detrimental to ever completing one. Most importantly you will need to find an understanding and supportive supervisor if you decide to start another PhD. You will have more support and be less isolated if you find a PhD that is part of a training school/ Centre for Doctoral Training, sometimes these PhDs will have a requirement for industry input whereby some funding comes from industry and you have an industrial co-supervisor. Industry-based PhDs are few and far between as you have found.
You have job security currently, that is a good situation to be in. You can take time to think about what you want and find a good opportunity for you. It may help to assess your current skills, think about what you want from a career. Some career coaching may be helpful.
I applied for an advertised PhD which I am in the final year of. A postdoc also applied for an advertised 2 yr fellowship on this topic, the advert wording was pretty much the same. The postdoc started 6 months after me worked separately and didn't collaborate with me and I needed to make some changes to my PhD due to them which I wasn't happy with and which caused me ongoing issues with my project. Now this postdoc has an academic role at another University and is advertising pretty much the same PhD as I applied for, to work with/ for her. This came up when I was doing a search for postdoc jobs related to my work. This postdoc treated me pretty badly. They sent me emails at midnight saying they needed the lab space the next day so I couldn't then do my planned work and if I was using equipment they wanted to use I had to stop my experiment. When I raised concerns about this no one cared. The lab is small so space had to be shared, there is no individual bench space. They made me very nervous about using the lab. Her manner was very abrupt and bossy. I was also bullied by the person who supervised her and if she supervises like them I am very concerned for the person she ends up supervising. It was a very toxic environment. Despite changes made to my PhD the PhD she is advertising is very similar and overlapping with my own and includes work that was originally planned to be part of my PhD. I considered emailing the director/ PI of that group with a copy of the PhD advertisement I applied for and details of what I am doing. I would want to share my experience to help ensure someone else isn't treated like me, but would hold back from doing that. Then I thought it may just be deemed inappropriate and go against me. So often I feel silenced and isolated. It helps a little maybe to share my frustration about this situation. Bullying seems to be quite prevalent in academia, at least in the field I work in, as victims feel silenced and systems in place make situations worse and protect the bullies.
Rewt - have you had any information at all about when you might be able to get back into labs? I'm assuming you are at one of the Welsh universities. I'm out of the country at the moment working on my PhD, where I can use lab facilities, but will be returning to study at Cardiff Uni in August, or most likely working from home in England. The VC's communications outline plans for undergrads but the postgrad info via the intranet doesn't reveal much. There is some vague information about a phased approach to buildings access but that is it.
These environments can be difficult. It seems someone may have taken against you and if you fight this you will likely face more difficulties even if you do win and can resume study. From what you say the lab sounds toxic. While looking for postdocs I have seen a number of PhD opportunities advertised with July application deadlines. If you look now you might find a new project for an October start.
I agree with the points above. The Russell Group University I am at would likely just dismiss such a dispute, and do so a year after raising it. My Engineering PhD is experimental and I am in the same situation as Rewt, although his sounds slightly better in that there may be a possibility of funding an extension. My stipend is associated with an EPSRC 'programme' grant. EPSRC 'training' grants fund PhD stipends and those who have them will get funded extensions. Programme grants shouldn't fund PhD students in any way although some associated with such grants manage to get conference funding.
Try not to get disheartened. When I mention postdocs I don't get encouragement, industry jobs are instead mentioned and actively promoted to PhD students. Partly this is due to there being far more PhDs than postdocs. I haven't been supported as much as I would have liked, my references come from co-supervisors.
Getting your research published is important if you want to do a postdoc, so your supervisor may have a point about the writing.
For this particular university it was the only Postdoc advertised that required papers to be submitted as part of the application, others just required that the CV contained a list of publications. I have only been looking for a few months but I have not seen this on any other advert I have looked at. This was listed as a compulsory requirement for the application process for this particular post. This post is directly relevant to my PhD research and the first I have seen which has been.
I am aiming to have my thesis submitted by the end of this September. I started looking into postdocs recently and came across one that suited my skills and interests very well. As part of the application process 3 papers were required to be submitted. I emailed about this beforehand as to meet that requirement one paper would be at draft stage, I was advised that would be okay. The deadline for submission was 10 days ago and I haven't heard anything. As this is the first postdoc application I don't know what to expect. For those who have had experiences of applying for and securing these roles what have you encountered in respect of timescales?
I will also add that due to having encountered bullying in the first year of my PhD, and the University I am at not resolving issues or supporting me in any way, I have had to work very independently on my PhD with a little external support.
Sounds positive. I recall having to get in contact to arrange my first meeting, with the supervisory team. This was quite formal and uncomfortable. I recall asking questions, trying to anyway, and finding things were not as I had expected in any way. I don't think my experience was normal though, it sounds like you don't have anything to worry about.
Your meeting sounds like it will be quite relaxed and its just to help you to get settled. Maybe ask about how the supervision will be organised, frequency of meetings etc.
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