Signup date: 13 Sep 2010 at 6:14pm
Last login: 01 Sep 2020 at 4:22pm
Post count: 1869
My parents were as proud as anything over me getting my PhD. One problem I did have was my mother was unhappy about me giving up my job and career (she saw me as settled into a job she thought was a safe bet for the future) to take up a PhD. I explained to her that the idea was always in the back on my mind since finishing masters after a gap of five years and basically having a rest. As my job was under threat anyway and the company I was working for folded some months later anyway, it made the move easier to understand for her.
It may be that parents especially see you as doing your degree then finding a job so you can settle down. Having someone in the family that has decided to remain a "student" beyond degree and masters might be seen as not reaching the point you are settling down. Also, you comment that PhDs are not common in your country, so they may be unsure what a PhD is. You might try to ask them what their concerns are about what you are doing.
It sometimes needs to be made clear a PhD is not a normal degree but a highly intensive research programme leading potentially to new findings and knowledge not already in the public domain. It's one of the reasons many moons ago I did my blog and that might help you explain what you are doing to them (http://www.geocities.ws/high_temp_wear).
Quickly, I notice some old links I threw up years ago don't work anymore to my Ph.D. blog and also the Ph.D. game. Basically, my ISP scrapped the web-space on which it was stored. I know one or two found the blog especially useful at the time I posted it up, explaining what a Ph.D. is either to potential candidates or to relatives. The questions listed are pitched at a basic level I have encountered over the years.
My blog is now at:
The Ph.D. Game, meant at the time as a mickey take of the Ph.D. experience, can now be found as a PDF at:
or as a jpg file at:
The latter is an upgrade of one originally found on the University of Cambridge website. Beware square 39, which shouldn't be taken too seriously. :-)
If the Geocities link is blocked, I'm possibly looking at converting the website to a PDF for uploading to an accessible cloud space at some point in the future.
The second link to the Ph.D. Game (jpg) should be accessible.
I note replies by others that third class should be history given you've since gone on to two masters and a PhD. I wish I could say that is an end to the third class story. I'm sorry to hear about you mental health issues and had you reported that at the time, that could have been taken into consideration. But as you say, there are different attitudes to mental health issues in different countries.
I ended up with a 2(ii) followed by two masters then PhD. During the first of those masters, I also suffered health issues (exhaustion plus a damaged ankle) that I reported late in the day. I was surprised I got that first masters as I'd written it off and started the second when it came through. It's wrong that your penalised in any way, shape or form because you have had health issues of any description.
What I have identified is perhaps during screening, my 2(ii) was enough to stop my application going further as generically that was enough for an HR administrator to bin an application before it reached a hiring manager. It wasn't 2(i) and above, so end of story. This issue is a hard one to get past.
Where, however, you do get past this very basic screening and you are queried on your third class degree, you might allude to health issues rather than talk about depression per se. You might have had a period of ill health at around the time of your finals and not really elaborate. If you are pressed further, just say the level of work you put in for your degree had left you heavily fatigued and needing to seek medical help. You could say once past this, your dedication to hard work once you recovered was born out by your later achievements, your masters and PhD.
Translated, it's possible to turn this round into a selling point and it's just finding the right words to do that.
With me finished long ago, I only pop by once in a blue moon.
My feedback includes:
1) No options to insert emojis / emoticons as you have on other forums. That said, you only need basic emojis / emoticons (happy, sad, etc.) and not the huge sets that other forums have.
2) A image insert / display option would be nice for basic examples of problems or information sharing. Again, keep this basic and full on media sharing is probably not necessary given the nature of the forum.
3) Font, bold, italic and underline options would be nice to have too.
I remember you posting ages back and welcome to the post-PhD world (the main reason I rarely look by here now - so long ago).
I am minded that your supervisors are likely to be your main employment references for whatever emplyment you apply for post-graduation. Complaining has to be a last resort and I speak as someone who had a Prof who was a poor supervisor / line manager when I opted to do a post-doc at a University away from my PhD University.
So unless the actions of your supervisors have prevented you from graduating or are hindering your life as it stands, then I would leave be and move on to be honest. You have your award so why pursue this any further?
The only reason I can think of continuing to pursue your complaint is if your supervisors' behaviour is having an ongoing impact on other students. If whatever happened is a one-off, leave be and just live your life.
Universities tend to close ranks against complainants, who end up getting no-where. People who say things disappear or become uncertain of what they witnessed. I saw this happen to other people, which is why I decided it wise just to walk away when my post-doc contract ended.
Another thought. Is a post-graduate student loan yet possible to fund living costs over the year four write-up period?
I'd always respond with the same level of formality as displayed to me.
If the mark has been overstepped, it is not me who has too quickly decreased the level of formality.
My opt out is "Dear Mr/Dr. Smith (or "John" if you prefer)", should it not be clear where you stand.
I prefer informality at the earliest opportunity, as a more laid back position creates a better atmosphere for information exchange. It takes away any sensation of being "uptight".
I can't advise on council tax though you should receive some reduction either as a full time student or Universal Credit claimant. You won't get JSA as a new claimant now.
You won't receive benefits if you are registered as a full time student. Exceptions may include attendance allowance or personal independance payments if disabled. If you're a full time carer, you can receive carer's allowance provided you are not earning roughly £125 a week and looking after someone on either attendance allowance or personal independance payments.
You can receive universal credit if you are registered as a part-time student studying <=12 hours a week. You also need to be actively looking for work to the satisfaction of Job Centre Plus advisors and Case Workers.
You might look to changing your registration to part-time in order to entitle yourself to universal credit. One point here are that your PhD supervisors might object in their interests in seeing you submit by the end of year four.
Another option is given you're in year four and can show Job Centre Plus you've no income on your bank statements, is to not tell Job Centre Plus you are still registered a full-time student. It's a little dodgy this but as the University cannot give out confidential information on its students unless presented with a court order, there's not a mechanism for Job Centre Plus to find out. A court order may only be sought if there is clear evidence of wrong doing and as you've no income there will be no evidence. Many year four students have done this historically I hate to say (ahem).
A part-time job alongside your year four writing up is probably the best approach. Either that or hope your department 'invent' an RA post to finance your writing up period, this being obviously common from the RA adverts you see.
As you can gather, I received lots of advice on this issue way back when I was writing up.
Once relationships with supervisors break down, they are very difficult to repair and the seeds of mistrust are sown. This happened to me at post-doc for reasons I've discussed elsewhere. Briefly, I was hired because someone else turned down the position and they needed someone quickly to lift workload off the primary investigator. My skills didn't quite match their requirements and by the time the contract ended, I was glad to go and they were glad to see the back of me.
It seems you have had to take a part time job alongside your PhD; you're not explicit here. This raises a number of questions.
1) Does you switching to part-time mean funding for the PhD will be partly (loss of bursary only) or fully (busary plus fees) withdrawn and will the part-time job cover (or more than cover) this?
2) Do you believe you can recover the relationship with your supervisors? It seem you've already answered this and from my own experience, this seems unlikely. That said, Tudor Queen speaks wisely here, so try her approach before giving a final answer to this question.
3) If you move to another University, can you take the funding with you? I ask as normally funding is obtained by the University for the project so this suggests not.
Would withdrawing from the PhD to sort out your personal situation and finances be an option? My take is you could then work full time for a few years and get some money behind you by saving.
If/when you feel ready for another go, you could apply to another University in better financial/personal shape than you are now. Given my own experiences, I don't know if I'd be able to continue with supervisors for another two or three years whom I no longer trusted. One year was bad enough.
I disagree with you as obtaining a PhD under supervisors you know longer trust will be that much harder even if you knuckle down as you suggest.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest