Overview of GiGi

Overview

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GiGi
Monday, 4 December 2017 at 10:02am
Monday, 4 June 2018 at 3:49pm
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Thread: Struggling to manage illness and PhD supervisor

posted
04-Jun-18, 11:40
edited about 10 seconds later
by GiGi
Avatar for GiGi
posted about 1 week ago
Last year I took time off due to illness, and I had many issues with my supervisor when I returned (I posted on this forum in December). I was on the verge on quitting, but after advice here I decided to keep going and finish my work early (my funding ends November 2019, I hope to be finished lab work by Dec 2018). I was able to keep some distance from my supervisor, and was feeling good about getting to the end.

Unfortunately I've been having more health issues in the last couple of months, I'm back and forward to the doctors and on waiting list to see a specialist, but it's likely that I'll be waiting a while before I get a diagnosis /treatment (at least one month after three months on the list). I'm struggling with fatigue and stomach issues which are made worse by stress. I want to keep going at work and my doctor is happy for me to do so in a flexible way.

I have tried to be open with my supervisor but it has been difficult. She has been focusing on the negative side and is not supportive of my plans to finish my PhD early. I asked my doctor to write her a letter hoping that this would help, and at first she seemed to be supportive, suggesting I could work from home and do half days. However in the last week everything has become really bad again. I've had several emails from her questioning my ability to get things done and last week she pushed me into disclosing my health issues to our group.

I met with the head of postgraduate studies, and he advised me to set up a meeting to discuss my concerns. I emailed to do this, trying to address some concerns in the meantime, and I have received a long, confrontational reply suggesting I am being too sensitive and basically questioning all of my decisions. I'm really unsure about what to do, I feel very uncomfortable about our meeting tomorrow.

Thread: Help with anxiety and feeling like leaving my PhD

posted
05-Jan-18, 09:25
by GiGi
Avatar for GiGi
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From tru:
Hi, GiGi,

Since you know that you can finish the minimum experiments by next year, can you do a thorough listing of the experiments and tick them off quickly till you finish and get out of the lab. Then write up your thesis. Talk to your trusted academic and students union from time to time to make sure you are on the right track.

Do you think you will have enough strength to pull through the last mile? You are not far, and should be able to pull through with enough resolution. It is very hard, but not impossible.


Hi Tru, yes I think that's a good plan of action. I definitely feel better knowing that if the situation does not improve that I can finish up quickly and submit this year rather than in 2019, I had not thought about that as a possibility before coming on to this forum. Thank you for your advice and happy new year!
Georgia

Thread: Help with anxiety and feeling like leaving my PhD

posted
05-Jan-18, 09:23
by GiGi
Avatar for GiGi
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From Pjlu:
Hi GiGi, what you are describing sounds like a really difficult and distressing experience-and given you have been quite ill and had leave for this- you would be more vulnerable to your supervisor's mood swings and her recent harsh behaviour towards you.

I thought your last post, where you were looking at finding a way to work through this and exploring different options and suggestions provided by other forumites was terrific! How strong you are in doing this-good for you! ....




Hello, sorry for my late reply - happy new year and thank you for your kind words! Yes this is something that is quite recent, things were fine between us for the previous 2 years. I think you're right about her probably going through something stressful, as I can't see any other rational reason why her behaviour changed so much. I'm hoping that these couple of weeks over Christmas will have helped things and hopefully the environment will be better when she returns to work next week.
Georgia

Thread: Help with anxiety and feeling like leaving my PhD

posted
11-Dec-17, 09:43
edited about 26 seconds later
by GiGi
Avatar for GiGi
posted about 6 months ago
Quote From tru:
Hi, GiGi,

So sorry to hear you had to cope with this when you just came back from sick leave.

I agree with Tudor_Queen that you should speak to an experienced and trusted academic about this. Do you have a second supervisor or postgrad coordinator you can talk to? If not, do you have someone who can be a mentor and help you? Do you also have a students union who may have someone who knows the postgrad academic system in your uni?

I know you are at the verge of leaving. But, are you far off from finishing the minimum experiments required to start writing up your PhD? If you are near, can you quickly finish and go? If you are far and cannot take it anymore, could you either write up as master or look at changing PhD supervisor rather than quit completely.... .



Hi tru, thank you for your support and advice, I appreciate it and it’s good to know I’m not alone. I’m not a huge way off from finishing, I should finish the minimum experiments I need by summer next year. I hadn’t thought of contacting the students union so that may be a way forward - I spoke to another academic who has always been supportive and he tried to get my supervisor to understand how she was affecting me, but unfortunately it hasn’t been successful. I’m not sure changing supervisors would be a possibility as I can’t think of anyone in my Institute who has the same expertise. I’m hoping things will improve in the new year but if they don’t I’m not sure what I’ll do.

Thanks so much again.

Thread: Help with anxiety and feeling like leaving my PhD

posted
11-Dec-17, 09:34
edited about 16 seconds later
by GiGi
Avatar for GiGi
posted about 6 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Hi Gigi, Sorry to hear about this. It sounds like terrible treatment and is no wonder you have been feeling so bad. One thing came to mind when I was reading this. Is there an academic you trust and could talk to confidentially? It might be helpful to get some advice and leadership from someone in the department perhaps. They may have suggestions that could help, eg getting another supervisor on board or attending meetings with you so that this sort of abuse cannot happen, or maybe something more drastic like changing supervisors completely (even at this late stage this is what I personally would do...). Know that you are not alone. Please try find someone who may be able to assist rather than quitting - as you are quite near the end by the sounds of it, and why should you have to quit because of someone else's unprofessional and bullying behaviour. All the best and hope this is a tiny bit helpful. Tudor


Hi Tudor, thanks so much for your message and advice. I spoke to another academic about everything, and he offered to speak to my supervisor to try and get her to understand - unfortunately it sounds like she still doesn’t see what she’s doing wrong! She’s on annual leave now so I won’t see her until after Christmas, but I’m quite worried about what the situation will be like when she returns.
Thanks again- Gigi

Thread: Help with anxiety and feeling like leaving my PhD

posted
04-Dec-17, 10:36
edited about 19 seconds later
by GiGi
Avatar for GiGi
posted about 6 months ago
I've just started the 3rd year of my 4 year PhD, and I had to take a couple of months off for an illness recently. I've never had an issue with my supervisor before, but since I returned to work she has been unwelcoming and not supportive, and it almost feels like I'm being punished for being ill. I've been shouted at and told I'm not going to finish my work on time despite being given extra time to account for the time I took off. Every meeting in the first few weeks after getting back ended with me in tears, and I have become more anxious than I have ever been. Our meetings have improved in the last week or so, but it still feels like a bad work environment and I'm struggling with it.

When I've tried talking to my supervisor about stress and anxiety she basically says that everyone is stressed, she's stressed and she's still working. This makes me feel like I can't confide in her about how I'm feeling, and I feel physically awful right now and I'm really struggling to motivate myself to go into work or even to work at home. I feel anxious about going in and sometimes even worse when I'm there. I've been seeing the university counsellor, but it hasn't helped much and they only provide a limited number of sessions.

At the moment I feel on the verge of leaving as I can't see how to make the situation better. I have been passionate about my research topic up until now, but I'm finding it hard to get myself back into it. When I try and think of it from the outside I don't want to give up on my work and I want to finish what I started, but I really want things to go back to normal and be happy at work again. Any advice would be really appreciated.
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