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PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

Something made me think about this forum and I logged in again.

I hope both of you, hopeful83 and digiarthorious, found your way through the finish line!

I had for a long while mixed feelings about my result and journey, but I've now made a little tradition for myself for my "found out the result from supervisor" -day. Not going to lie, when I wear my gown (yes, I bought it to remind myself of my success!) and drink champagne (whohoo), I still cry about it. But every year I cry a little less.

I'm now working outside academia (in a sector where it helps to understand the research cycle), and I can say with confidence that the mountainous struggles during the PhD has made regular work issues so small in comparison. I refuse to stress about them. So I guess that's the silver lining!

And finally for those of you who might be still reading this in the middle of the PhD stress: hang in there, you can do it!

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

Quote From fishbone:
Truly thank you for sharing this experience. I am in the same shoes now, resubmission within 12 months without reviva. It is truly scary experience, resubmitted my thesis and still waiting for the examiners to come back with the result. It is so mentally and physically torturing to work on the corrections and waiting for the result (with no assurance your corrections will end up being awarded with the degree). I am so depressed abd yet the examiners are just taking their sweet time to drag students life endlessly... How did you cope during waiting period? But I must praise you for your hard work in this process, Dr. You earned this title!

Sorry for the delay in responding. I hope you have gotten your news by now?

The waiting period.. in total it took my examiners just under 5 months. They should have gotten it done in 2. It was:
1. nice to have time to sleep
2. Oh, I should know in maybe a month
3. They must be reading it now. I wonder what they'll say (insert flashbacks from 1st round of submitting)
4. Any day now, this is terrible
5. Hmm, they passed their deadline. Is this good or bad
6. They are way past the deadline. The list of criticism must be really long and I'm going to fail
7. Deep depression and dark thoughts
8. As supervisor if they know what the result is
---a looooooong week of waiting for their response------
9. informally told the result by the sup, made official by the uni process a week later
10. Super weird feeling. Like it's not real and there's been a mistake.

During those 5 months I tried to focus on the job I had and keep myself distracted; I read many Brexit analyses. Just to have something else to get angry about.

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Massive congratulations. So glad you didn't give up the fight!

Thank you! I really really wanted to give up, but I'm really glad I didn't. It was really terrible, but at least the terrible-ness is gone now - compared to quitting and forever thinking I should have done it.

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

Quote From Dr_Crabby:
Thank you for posting this. I had my viva in June and have been unable to even look at my thesis without wanting to cry so the corrections feel impossible. Your advice is really helpful though. And Congratulations!!

Thank you!

If I could do it, you can do, too! The tough bit was the idea of reworking something that was passed as insufficient and hoping for the best (no guarantees of result with a resubmission!). But the to do -lists, new file, and getting into a routine were the keys of working on the dissertation itself, and then friends and counselling for the mental aspect of it. It's ok to feel shit about it, it's been such a long time already and I just wanted to print out and burn the whole damn thing. But you're so close now! Just a little longer and then it'll be done!

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

Quote From rewt:
Congratulations on finally passing. Your story made me feel that getting resubmission at the viva is not the end of the road. Your advice is very helpful and wish you all the best!

Thank you! Good luck to you as well, and I hope you don't have to do it the hard way!

Failed viva

Just sending vibes of support! I had to resubmit too, and managed to push through in the end and I now have my degree.

Before my viva, I met with my supervisor who said I'd get either 3 or 6 months corrections, so they were feeling positive. However, after the viva, they started to talk about how I submitted the work without them seeing it as a complete piece, and how they didn't have the chance to give me feedback.

This was not true. In march we had agreed on a timeline, and final draft deadline for the summer. I sent my chapters in two separate files, 2 days apart, so yes, it wasn't one file, but it was the full draft. I got feedback from them, very minor things at that point and off it went in the end of September. So yeah, I felt betrayed by them, but was afraid to challenge them on this because I needed a good relationship in order to push through the resubmission.

So I get how you feel. Work to get a working relationship with a supervisor who can help. I think universities vary on this, but contact the student services about if you could get someone else who would help you during the resubmission work. Do you have a graduate school contact - someone who you can contact in supervisor issues (mine does)? I don't think they can just let you go at this stage, I'm sure they are obligated to offer you supervision..but maybe your current sup is not the right person.

More importantly, you're not alone to get that result. I felt really alone, but everyone I talked about this to at the university knew many others. We just don't hear about it a lot. You'll get there, just focus on doing what your examiners want. It's just a delay, with more work. It sucks, but it's just the final hurdle!

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

h) It'll be terrible. You just have to push through. Just a little bit longer, and then it's over. To be able to get to the point of submitting the first time is a huge achievement, so you know you can do it again no matter how daunting it feels. And it does feel daunting.

My examiners went 2 months past their deadline, so I lived in horrible anticipation much longer than I thought. But I got there in the end, and I've now even told a few friends who didn't know about the struggle that I made it. Some were a bit confused (I could see the wheels turning in their heads "didn't you finish years ago?") but then happy for me. The end result is what matters, or so I keep telling myself :D

I have started to change my title everywhere I see it. Don't let people tell you it's weird, or snobby, or will confuse people who think you're a medical doctor. They don't know how difficult it was, so screw them. Just be proud!

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

b) contact university counselling. Do not wait a year for this like I did. And remember that at least at my uni you can stop the clock by going on interruption due to mental health issues. This was a life saver.
c) If like me you can't channel your feeling of failure into an actionable "I'll show them all" -rage, that's ok. What I did was I started slow. My first goal was to go to my former desk, and just sit there a full day, and maybe do some work. Seriously, the whole thing was too traumatic to be productive from the beginning. So I just went to sit there for a day, did a bit of reading, made "plans" but honestly, I wasn't that productive for many months. But it'll pick up, trust me.
d) Make a plan in terms of content and timeline with your supervisor. The days when you struggle with the work are much worse than first time around, or so it was for me at least. But meeting with the sup always made things somewhat better, even though mine was a lot of times a bit useless.
e) Talk to friends. Seriously.
f) Try to rephrase it in your mind as going for round 2. I changed the file name to Diss v.2.0 to mentally focus on this being a different thing, a second version of what was my research.
g) I broke down crying many times when I opened the examiners' reports, so the only way I could finally get started, was with a few different colours of highlighters, and just thinking it was someone else's thesis and that I needed to find their suggestions for missing literature references, unclear arguments, typos, and other categories. And then I compiled them into lists, so that I didn't have to have those reports with me when I did the day to day work. Take the comments seriously, but remove them from the context of examination. Now they just became to do -lists.

PhD after resubmission nightmare - thanks to all!

I've been a bit of a lurker on this forum since my viva in 2017, which resulted in a resubmission in 18 months. I searched threads that dealt with resubmission endless times, and read and re-read messages of encouragement from others here to those brave enough to post their experiences.

So I'm dedicating this post to all of you, and thanking everyone for the discussions I could read, and the general feeling that I was not the only one. I ended up resubmitting earlier this year, and my degree was awarded a month ago. No second viva, non further corrections, even though the examiners had the discretion to opt for one more month of corrections. And now I've been fixing the inevitable typos etc and wondering if this really is real.

I want to stay a bit anonymous, so I won't give too many details. I'm still embarrassed about failing to do what all my friends managed, and subsequently watching them go onto jobs in and out of academia while I was 'stuck' with my resubmission. I didn't tell all my friends, just the close ones, and as consequence I started avoiding people in general and I was in a really dark place for a long time.

But a few things made it possible for me to get through the process, so here's my main advice for the other lurkers out there:

a) talk to friends. Seriously, find one or two who you can tell everything to. And they need to be people who have PhDs so they know what the struggle is, and who can push and pull you towards completion. I never found the advice of 'outsiders' useful in this whole mess, because if they didn't know the UK system, or what a PhD is, then they struggled to say the things I needed to hear and it got frustrating when I had to explain the magnitude and significance of my failure.

(to be continued...)