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Rachierara13
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 7:22pm
Wednesday, 5 September 2018 at 8:43pm
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Thread: Question help

posted
05-Sep-18, 20:50
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 1 month ago
Hi Everyone,

I know this is a long shot, but I'm feeling really alone and anxious at the moment and could really use some advice or ideas. I've been through so much medically and with life in general that I am at a complete loss at to what to write my MA dissertation on.

Every time i think of something it gets rejected on the grounds that it isn't deep enough. I was thinking about looking at medieval magic rings (medieval literature MA) but to look at them alone apparently isn't enough without a comparative element or something. I'm really interested in aspects of medieval magic, healing, manuscripts and witches. I don't suppose anyone has any topic ideas or just advice on how to come up with a good question that is do-able where i can write 15000 words on it? I'm hitting a big brick wall and my mind is completely empty when it comes to inspiration.

I was going to look at the relationship between magic rings in medieval ballads and the romances, but there are very few examples of the former category and so i've abandoned that. Thanks all!

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
03-Jun-18, 14:47
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From laebae:
[quote]


I'll be 34 when I finish mine and I'm not even close to having a mortgage yet, so at least you'll have your life together more than me :P But seriously, if you want to do the PhD because you love your subject, I say go for it and see what opportunities it brings - after all, it's hard to predict what you'll want to do and where your life will be in six years' time. I'm doing this PhD because I want to do this research. I imagine I'll want to pursue a research career afterwards but I'm also keeping an open mind - it's scary, but it's also quite exciting. Good luck!


Thank you laebae, you've really helped me to feel more confident in going for it, even if I have to extend it. I don't suppose you know of anyone that has signed up for a part time PhD and been allowed to submit it in 4 years because they had done it a bit quicker than anticipated?

I used to have my heart set on academia but when I actually spoke to my lecturers about it they were very honest with me about the downsides and I personally couldn't handle the rejection letters when trying to get published or cope with the pressure of conferences and, as I understand it, these components are part of the job and you have to publish to stay relevant/employed. I love the idea of the actual teaching seminar/lecture part of it though.

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
03-Jun-18, 14:41
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Quote From Rachierara13:


This might sound like a silly question, but do all students doing a PhD HAVE to teach and prepare materials for seminar groups alonside their research, or is that only if said person wants to enter that career and needs/wants the experience?


No you don't have to but you may as well. I think it's about taking advantage of the opportunities you're given. You don't know what you would after a PhD and if not participating in academic things gives you a disadvantage, then that's a bit silly when it didn't have to be like that.

All the things I did alongside my PhD helped me to get my academic job. I doubt I would have got it without it and it would have made it a lot more difficult if I had less experience.


Good point!

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
02-Jun-18, 17:04
edited about 22 seconds later
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
And I would add - yes - a lot of it is about having the "grit" to not give up and make it to the end.

If it is what you want to do then go for it!

Ps. Confidence can be a recurring issue throughout the PhD (google "imposter syndrome"). It may just be that you've started early :-D All the best with your Masters result and securing funding if it's what you decide to do.



Hi! This might seem a bit cheesy I guess but I am always determined and don't give up without a fight which probably comes from trying not to die from these medical conditions each day. I think I have the 'grit', most of the time anyway :P But I most definitely have 'imposter symdrome'!, not that it's something to be proud of, but thank you for giving me an actual term for it!

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
02-Jun-18, 17:01
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From Nad75:


Back to the OP - laebae has excellent advice. I think a part-time PhD route is a great option, if a funding route is there for it. I know some colleagues that did part-time PhD (some as teachers!) and some as workers in other professions. It allows for a better pace of study and learning how to research. Don't worry about the possibility of others undercutting your research--the thesis topics in the arts and humanities become very niche. Also, the MA dissertation supervisor may be able to take a look at your research proposal and give feedback on how it can be strengthened (if you haven't done this already).


Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it! I have asked my favourite lecturer (and hopefully supervisor) if she would talk my thesis idea over with me and she said that she'd be more than happy to do this at some point next academic term as this is now the end of my first year of doing a 2 year part time MA.

I think it just concerns me exactly HOW i could research my question. In terms of my question/area of interest at this moment it is deeply rooted in medieval studies and so I'm assuming I'm going to have to spend a lot of time travelling up and down the country to look at manuscripts/attend conferences etc? I can't find anything at all about it on the internet, which I suppose is a good thing as then I have a winning topic.

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
02-Jun-18, 16:55
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
I've never really found my PhD or academic job stressful over a long period of time, just for short bursts. I would also agree that manual jobs are tiring. I've worked on a shop floor where you can't sit down all day, or been out gardening all day, and that is more tiring that sitting at my desk writing lectures and teaching material and marking work and replying to emails, which is what basically what my teaching in HE job is.


This might sound like a silly question, but do all students doing a PhD HAVE to teach and prepare materials for seminar groups alonside their research, or is that only if said person wants to enter that career and needs/wants the experience?

It's good to know that not all of the process is stressful! Six years is a hell of a commitment and it is stress that triggers/exacerbates my medical conditions.

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
02-Jun-18, 16:48
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From laebae:
I'm about to start a part-time PhD working approx. 20 hours per week as well. I wouldn't consider full-time plus 18 hours working if I were you, it's asking for trouble, even without health problems! I think what people were pointing out is that, even if you're part-time, if you're working 18 hours a week as well, between the PhD and working, you'd still be working a full-time week, which might be a bit much?

On a side note, if you get tired easy, definitely don't do a PGCE and go into teaching! That's one of the most tiring jobs there is! So many of my friends have burnt out and left after only a few years, and one who absolutely loved her job had to leave due to health issues which made her weak and fatigued. Follow your dream and go for the PhD, I say!


Thank you so much for your advice! It really nice to hear from someone who IS doing a PhD part-time as everyone that I have come into contact with is doing it full time. I think after reading all these comments that you are right, working 18.5 hours a week might be too much and definitely is asking for trouble. I'm just anxious that on choosing to do it part time it will mean that I'll be 30 (23 atm with a year left of my MA) when I finish with no career path as I don't want to go into academia/lecturing. Is that something everyone else is worried about or do you all want to go into university careers?

I have a mortgage and I need my car for hospital visits and other bills so I don't intend to (can't afford to) quit either of my jobs. It's finding a solution to my already being chronically ill and finding a way to do a PhD without making myself worse.

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
18-May-18, 18:08
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 5 months ago
Dear all, thank you so much for your responses. My health conditions are more physical (Mitochondrial Disease and Pancreatitis to name a few) which make me tired easily.

Won't a full time PhD and 18 hours a week paid work be TOO much and asking for trouble? Has anyone done this?

Thread: To PhD or not to PhD?

posted
15-May-18, 19:37
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for Rachierara13
posted about 5 months ago
Hello everyone, I am new here and am hoping that you can all give me some sage advice as I usually talk to my Mum about this stuff but I lost her last year.

I am currently an MA student (medieval lit) and it has been an ambition of mine since the beginning of my undergraduate course that I would pursue a PhD. However many things stand in my way. Firstly is my confidence, although I got a First in my undergraduate studies (English) I'm worried that because of major health issues that my MA result won't be a distinction (headed for a merit) that I'd need to be accepted to do a PhD.

So the first problem is: if i don't identify as smart or confident am I setting myself up to fail a PhD?

Secondly, my health is a big issue, has anyone here done their PhD part time? As in six years? Due to my health this looks like the only option for me but I'm concerned about failing after all that time, or someone undercutting my research idea and finishing their thesis before me, rendering mine practically pointless.

Also, I work part time (18 hours a week) which I still want to do whilst doing a PhD.

I have an idea of what I want to research but have read other research proposals and mine sounds nowhere near enough as academically complex as theirs does.

I could quite easily go and do a PGCE and then get a full time teaching job, which i think i'd like but my heart isn't in it enough when I'm desperate to achieve a PhD. I'm just concerned that I'm not smart enough, or well enough, or making the right choice to commit to 6 years of my life.

thanks all x
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