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MissyL
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 at 6:13pm
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 at 6:26pm
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Thread: Post-PhD employment anxiety

posted
10-Jan-18, 18:41
edited about 1 minute later
by MissyL
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posted about 3 months ago
Hi everyone,

My PhD is in Molecular Biology and I'm just starting writing. I am relieved to be finishing as my PhD hasn't been an easy journey.

However, I'm now terrified about finding a job. I went straight from undergraduate to PhD, and had one terrible PhD placement (very boring, repetitive, bad management), so my job experience is basically zero and unfortunately very negative.

I know I don't want to stay in academia as I'm a homebody and I aren't willing to relocate (I appreciate this isn't ideal). I'm also not into lecturing, conferences, and the competitiveness that comes with the environment (basically academia in general).
I feel like my only other options are industry/science writing/policy etc, and none of them really excite or interest me.
Everyone say graduates can move into other fields, but I have no idea how or what I'd even want to do.
I am terrified I will have to take a bar job/shop to maintain an income and that will be it for the rest of my life!

Did/does anyone else feel this way??

Sorry for all the complaining and worrying!

Thanks,

Thread: Pets and working....

posted
18-Jun-17, 17:46
edited about 8 seconds later
by MissyL
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posted about 10 months ago
Apologies as this post is slightly off topic....and a bit embarrassing

I am currently a PhD student and are going on a 'work experience' placement. Upon arranging the placement I was given an official contract 8:30-5 pm, which is no problem.

My new boss asked for a meeting outside of those hours, at 8 am. However, I would be unable to make it as I have a puppy who goes to daycare whilst I am working (the centre opens at 7:30 and I would be pushing it in heavy traffic to make 8 am). I also need to collect her before it closes at 6 pm, hence 8:30/9-5 works well.
I've managed to make arrangements so I am now available for 8 am, but this is nothing something I could guarantee each time.

This has brought up a number of issues, obviously, I feel like an idiot, 'sorry I can't make 8 am, I have to drop my dog off at daycare'. This sort of thing seems acceptable for kids but not dogs...

Does anyone have any advice for this sort of issue? I will be writing up and finishing my PhD shortly after my placement, and I will be looking for a 9-5 job, but I am left wondering what happens if my current placement and future boss ask me to work overtime and I can't because of my dog....

Thanks!

Note: there are a few instances where I can get help with the dog, but the majority of the time I am the only one available for pick up and drop off.

Thread: Mental health discrimination

posted
21-May-17, 21:35
edited about 14 seconds later
by MissyL
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posted about 11 months ago
Hi there,

Unfortunately I have mental health issues anxiety/depression/OCD that flared up early on in my PhD.
I don't know if I'm just highly sensitive but I feel I've had inappropriate comments/treatment from my university.

I had someone high up insist on a meeting where comments were made such as:

' How do you think other students feel when you're coming in later than them '
' Are you really putting in 100% effort'- I truthfully said no but that I was doing the best I could
' You might be able to get away as a PhD student, but you wont manage in a job doing these sort of hours'
' A PhD should go above and beyond 9-5'

While I appreciate some of these comments are true, I can't help my current health. My supervisor and training panel have all said they are happy and that my progress is on par with other students; so the comments are somewhat unnecessary.

I'm currently having issues with presentations. I have a social phobia and are unable to speak to large audiences. As a result I missed a compulsory departmental PhD student presentation as I was off for a week with severe anxiety/panic attacks. I was told I would have to do an alternative such as a conference talk, which is even worse....
Since then staff have tried to help by forcing me into presentations, but this has just sent me into a spiral of depression and anxiety, so I have now had to have 2 weeks off (not ideal as I'm a final year).

I know I am a pain been unable to do things such as presentations, but I also really did not chose to be this way. Am I being OTT, or is this unfair treatment? I feel as though I don't have much choice but to leave my programme.

Thanks,

Additional info: I can't take another LOA, I have a Dr's note for anxiety/depression & are registered with the University disability office & seeing a councillor.

Thread: Mental health as a PhD student

posted
01-Dec-16, 15:32
by MissyL
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posted about 2 years ago
I'd say only a very small proportion of people have mental health issues directly caused by the PhD. Most people likely already have tendencies. Having said that the PhD is definitely a breeding ground for making mental health issues worse.

For example:

Being a perfectionist and high achiever: You go from being top at your undergraduate degree, constantly praised etc, to suddenly not collecting data/writing as fast as you'd have hoped. You may also be anxious for publications.

Research: If you go straight from undergrad to a research PhD it can be a shock to the system. Being intelligent at your undergrad degree doesn't neccesairly give you the skills of high motivation, not giving up and ruthless stamina.

Low self esteem: the PhD can massively rock the boat. Being surrounded by hundreds of intelligent and confident people and comparing yourself against them (the worst thing you can do). You may also be surrounded by lab members and PhD companions seeing and hearing how great their is going, and their publications, whilst you're stuck in a bad patch. Some people also see their PhD and its success as a measure of self worth.

Imposter syndrome: Kind of ties in with low self-esteem. Thinking you're no good and shouldn't be there. This chips away at your confidence and self-esteem and if bad enough can contribute/cause depression.

Supervisor support: If you're struggling in confidence, lacking in support (designing experiments/writing) and training, this can make things far worse.

Multi-tasking: Working in the lab collecting data, writing, analysing data, going to conferences, presentations, teaching undergraduate students can also put a lot of pressure on your shoulders.

This is just my experience/thoughts.

MissyL

Thread: Job advice/suggestions whilst on leave of absence ?

posted
20-Sep-16, 08:02
edited about 26 seconds later
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 2 years ago
Hey,
I've suffered with an array of PhD problems- depression/anxiety/bad supervision etc (all in previous posts).
I'm just under 2 years of a 4 year funded PhD, and the depression and anxiety has now led to pretty extreme fatigue.
I've previously taken a leave of absence for 4 months, which relieved the severe anxiety, however I didn't get a job or do much which I think probably led to me sitting around a lot and dwelling.
I'm now considering taking a 6 month leave of absence as I can't really go on like this and it makes more sense than to just outright quit without long thought.
I was just wondering if anyone had an experience/suggestions about this? How would I explain on a CV about suddenly taking time out?
I'm embarrassed to say I haven't really had a proper job and have just gone through the system of A-levels, degree, PhD. So I'm pretty nervous as all my work experience is in labs and very science based.
I wouldn't be looking for anything with particularly high wage, just enough to get me by. However, I do struggle with social anxiety so feel that bar work/waiting on etc isn't ideal.
Thanks for any advice!

Thread: Distressed PhD

posted
22-Jun-16, 11:28
by MissyL
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posted about 2 years ago
Sorry for another long moan and post on this topic. This is a long standing problem and I'm at my wits end!
I am currently 16 months into my science PhD and have been having issues since my third month.
I've had problems with anxiety and depression and have also taken a 3 month medical leave of absence, since I returned roughly 2 months ago the exact same problems I had before are re-emerging.
My supervisor is just not supervising me, since been at my programme he hasn't once been in the lab with me to show me a technique, nor are there any post docs to teach me. I have taught myself everything, and this has left me with a lot of uncertainty about whether my techniques are even correct and has made me feel useless.
He rarely suggests experiments for me to do, and most of the time when he does it's something I've already done. So I've came up with around 95% of them myself, again battering myself esteem as how am I truly meant to know good experimental design at this stage!?
I'm due my upgrade in the next few months and I'm supposed to have nailed my research question and devised a timeline, however, my research question is sloppy and we're just scrabbling around, he also never talks to be about the big picture and what future experiments we could do- again adding to my uncertainty, and increasing my panic when everything really is just going wrong.
I feel like I will fail staying with him, but then I'm absolutely useless at complaining and don't know how I'd even handle a supervisor switch :/ .
I also currently the only person in the lab, however, the previous student also ended up with depression and low self esteem. I'm so overwhelmed about this situation I can barely work most days and my sickness absence is through the roof.
Please help

Thread: dealing with negative thoughts

posted
03-Feb-16, 21:27
edited a moment later
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 2 years ago
Hey,

I've had quite a lot of problems during my PhD including supervisor problems (which are now hopefully been resolved) and as a result have struggled with anxiety and depression.
I'm currently 13 months in but have been plagued with negative thoughts from very early on, including:

1. I will never get enough data to be able to write a thesis at the end and 4 years will be wasted
2. other students are far better in all aspects (presentations, experimental design, confidence, just everything!)
3. my work is rubbish and well below standard
4. I really can't see anything working out, I don't trust that " data will come "

these thoughts have had a huge impact on my PhD, and completely crippled my confidence resulting in me avoiding presentations/ chances to talk about my research, freaking out about attending conferences and generally withdrawing and been frustrated with my project. Even when my thesis committee say I've got good knowledge and made progress etc I just don't believe them.
As a result of my panic I often rush through experiments, not wanting to take time to optimise them and then when things go wrong I take it as a huge blow.

I'm currently on leave due to these issues, but upon return I really need to deal with them. Any advice is much appreciated !

Thread: New(ish) PhD Student - Depression

posted
01-Feb-16, 16:54
edited about 12 seconds later
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 2 years ago
Sorry to hear about your situation.
I had a very similar problem where at 3-4 months extreme anxiety and depression set in (I was also diagnosed when younger). I somehow managed to keep going for another 9 months assuming it would go away and the situation resolve itself. I'm now currently on leave of absence as it only got worse.
Get all the help and support you can now, and don't feel ashamed about taking time away, it is never too early. I'm sure your supervisor would much rather you be working for them whilst happy and productive. I kept up appearances for all those months and now I feel even more anxious about how behind I am.
All the best

Thread: Lost

posted
18-Jan-16, 22:55
edited about 26 seconds later
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 2 years ago
I went on for a year doing my PhD pretending nothing was wrong whilst feeling really rubbish as you describe, particularly with self confidence and feeling that everything I did was rubbish. In the end I basically 'crashed out' massively and are currently on a medical leave of absence. I found that the graduate department (if you have one), can offer good advice on dealing with supervisors and they may have some suggestions, at least regarding the first supervisor you describe. If you feel that bad see what you can do about taking some leave, as even a few weeks can help you get some perspective back, and/or make a rational decision.

Thread: Changing supervisors at 14 months.......

posted
14-Dec-15, 23:02
edited about 14 seconds later
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 3 years ago
Over the last year I've had to take short periods of time off three times due to stress, and have basically spent the year feeling awful. I'm 99% sure it's due to my supervision.
I feel like I have no support and are at it completely alone, I'm doing new techniques which neither supervisor has experience in, and when I ask my main supervisor for help with experiments (I'm in the lab) troubleshooting he never has any answers (we also don't have any post docs in the lab to help me), leaving me to work everything out for myself, I understand this is expected as a PhD student, but I've been in this situation since day 1 and feel like I'm drowning. I also don't get any positive feedback, my reports are always " in shape to send off" etc, but nothing to boost my confidence, I already have low self esteem and it is now rock bottom, As a result I've been pulling out of presentations and other things I know I should be doing/able to do as a PhD student.

My main question is can I change supervisors at all (14 months in) and if so can this be done peacefully? The studentship was awarded to me not the PI, however, I don't really want to give up my topic, so I don't see how I could take my main supervisors research away to someone else without causing problems between department members?

Any general advice on dealing with supervision problems, or how I could actually approach my supervisors with this problem would be much appreciated! I have no idea how to tell them that I'm beyond frustrated with my situation without sounding rude, or getting angry and creating more problems for myself. I don't want to leave my PhD, this is all I wanted for years but I feel as though its gone terribly wrong and I'm so lost.

Thanks!

Thread: Am getting very very frustrated with my supervisor

posted
04-Dec-15, 17:22
edited about 8 seconds later
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 3 years ago
Hey,
I feel exactly the same way with both of my supervisors! One is exceptionally busy, so I barely see her, and the other is around all the time. However, when I ask for help he never has any answers or useful suggestions! I'm also in the lab, and coming up with all of my experiments on my own as well as trouble shooting is seriously exhausting. I'm on the verge of leaving as I'm just so fed up with it. I too have lost respect, as awful as it sounds I can't believe he even got his academic job in the first place.
Sadly I can't offer any useful advice, only that you're not the only one in this frustrating position!

Thread: Extreme journal club fear

posted
03-Sep-15, 08:26
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 3 years ago
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the supportive messages.

RinaL:
Yes that's exactly why I stopped attending as I was worried about getting another date, which sadly has already happened and I'm due to do it next month!
I am able to chose a paper, however, there are very few interesting publications in my field and you're meant to have recent papers, which really really limits me. I picked a some-what related paper last time, and then after I left my supervisor told my lab mate that it was 'boring', which did heaps for my confidence.
The students don't really speak in the journal club (unless presenting), its the lecturers and post-docs which do all the talking, which makes it even more threatening for me :(

Thread: Extreme journal club fear

posted
29-Aug-15, 16:04
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 3 years ago
Hey,
This is embarrassing, but I’ve basically developed an extreme journal club fear. My lab has a journal club with three other labs (so ~ 12 people), someone presents a paper and then there’s discussion etc. My field of research has nothing to do with these other labs, so I find their papers incredibly repetitive and boring anyway. I was due to give my presentation but I feel extremely ill with anxiety (I have an anxiety disorder) and I ended up taking around a week off work due to recover and my presentation was cancelled. I never actually told my supervisor it was the club that was causing a major problem. Since then I haven’t attended and my supervisors visibly getting annoyed with me. I don’t want to go back and I’m due to give a presentation in a few months and its already causing me anxiety. I feel as though as I’m failing as a PhD student as this stuff is expected of me :/. Any advice would be much appreciated xx

Thread: PhD loss of passion- quit?

posted
24-Jun-15, 18:39
by MissyL
Avatar for MissyL
posted about 3 years ago
Hi all,
I started my Biology PhD in October, so I'm ~ 8 months in. This was something that I wanted for a long time and I worked extremely hard during my undergraduate degree to achieve it. The first three months went great and I was generating loads of data. However, the past 5 months have been horrible. I've spent multiple weekends sat tearful on the sofa, cried in the university toilets (which is out of character for me), turned up late for work on multiple occasions and I've had to take quite a few days sick leave to re-cooperate. I feel incredibly rubbish and that I aren't good enough to complete it. I'm constantly looking at others and how happy they seem and how they can generate data etc, yet my project just seems utterly rubbish. Should I just quit? This is all I ever wanted so I'm frustrated and have no idea what else I would do with my life, alongside the worry of disappointing my family and supervisor.
Thanks for any advice.
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