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Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 9:52pm
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Thread: feeling lost and need advice (final year PhD)

18-May-18, 15:05
edited about 19 seconds later
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posted about 8 months ago
Hi Jamie,

Thanks for your reply, I really hope that that is the case. It's hard to keep the end goal in mind. At the moment I keep looking at my data and finding mistakes on simple things that I should have done properly. I know that no one's research is perfect but I'm talking basic mistakes that just show how bad of a researcher I am. And while all of this is a direct result of having absolutely no one teach me the basics of lab work, it doesn't exactly help me feel good about myself. Hard to keep going on when it feels like I am just submitting to fail.

Thread: feeling lost and need advice (final year PhD)

15-May-18, 14:17
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posted about 8 months ago
Dear tru and Tudor_Queen,

Thank you both for your kind words it helps to know I'm not alone in this! I have signed up for counselling sessions and I am doing my best to hang in there.

I'll try to take it one day at a time and see how it goes moving forward :)

Cheers x

Thread: feeling lost and need advice (final year PhD)

13-May-18, 22:53
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posted about 8 months ago
As it stands, my thesis is broken down into 4 results chapters with one of them being published, and another one "novel". I use the word novel but these are minute improvements of previous work done by ex-phd students in my lab and the novelty is truly debatable. i.e, there was no reason this wouldn't work as it was already validated previously by other students.

The third one is a repeat of the first one by using the EXACT same methodology with minor changes (in my opinion it should really be merged with the first one) and the fourth one is completely new on my project but is very much exploratory and is definitely not thorough, nor does it work (very far from publishable work).

So to summarise my thesis is broken down as:

1. published (still similar to previous unpublished work)
2. very similar to previous work
3. same as 1, with no scientific motivation arguing the necessity of this chapter
4. new but incomplete/not working

Additionally, the whole scientific premise for my thesis rests on wrong results acquired previously and therefore this project should not exist. Basically, I find it hard to justify the purpose of my thesis or justify why the chapters are broken down as they are.

So you can see that I am quite stressed about this. I could submit a thesis in a months time if I could call it quits and accept that what I have is enough or alternatively, I could do a few more experiments to pad up the results chapters that I already have. But i really cant do this nor do I feel like working on this anymore when it is a dead project and when I feel every day that I no matter how much I work it is too late to overturn my likely failure in the viva.

Anyways, sorry for the rant, it helps to write things down. If anyone has some advice or could share some stories to help that would be great.

Thread: feeling lost and need advice (final year PhD)

13-May-18, 22:50
Avatar for Feelingdrained
posted about 8 months ago
Hi everyone,

I am a fourth (and final) year bioeng PhD student in the UK and I am just looking from some honest advice and support as I am going through the worst time of my life.

Before I start explaining my specific problem, I think that it is best that I explain a bit more about my lab. When I joined, I was one of many PhD students in my lab working on drastically, completely unrelated projects with absolutely zero support. There were no postdocs and no group meetings and I would have "meetings" with my supervisor every 3 to 4 months. I use quotation marks because in those meetings, my supervisor would either fall asleep, not listen or not care.

Moreover, the lab culture was extremely unproductive and contributed to the general lack of motivation throughout the PhD. I was told by numerous students in my lab that I shouldn't bother working hard because nobody cared and eventually I would pass anyways. While all the students eventually finished and passed their vivas, the majority of them had major corrections and one got R&R which was ultimately overturned once my supervisor intervened.

I have been writing up for the past few months and it has been going horribly. I have lost all self-esteem and confidence, cry every day, have lost my productivity and genuinely can barely get out of bed anymore. This has completely destroyed my life and personal relationships.

The cause for my stress and depression is not knowing if I have enough work, I have discussed this many times with my supervisor but despite her telling me that I am fine, I find it hard to trust her. Her track record is not great and she has never read anyones thesis from my lab in the past few years. I have sought out advice from professors in my department but none of them are in my field and while their comments have been helpful, they remain superficial in nature.
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