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Tudor_Queen
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 at 11:56am
Friday, 17 August 2018 at 7:34am
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Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
16-Aug-18, 22:03
edited about 1 hour later
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posted about 12 hours ago
...then I need to seriously consider my options (which is what I'm now doing).

Thanks for the encouragement pm133! I'd say my brother is a lot like you described (he is very intelligent yet currently works as a washer upper while pursuing his interests as hobbies). I am similar but far less extreme these days. I've sort of mixed in a bit (a lot) of pragmatism - hence how I've got this far through the PhD though it hasn't been a good learning experience since day 1...

It may be that the best option is still to go for this PhD anyway - even though I don't feel I've got from it what I wanted. I'll try and do the most pragmatic thing (in terms of my goals and motivations as I see them in the immediate context but also in trying to look further ahead) in my decision. I don't want big regrets. Just need to get all the info to make an informed choice. I'll keep you posted.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
16-Aug-18, 21:53
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 12 hours ago
Quote From pm133:
Can't express how great it feels to be understood! :)

I think other people are seeking validation for their life choices. When you choose such a radically different pathway, some people interpret that as a rejection of their choices which provokes a defensive response.


I've definitely known this to happen before. I think that is a really good explanation/theory for why what happens happens. It's almost like being different is an offense and can even lose you friends. But I still can't conform! :-D

Quote From pm133:
[quote]
When you get to the very end of your PhD as you have and then start talking the way you have described above, it is inevitable that some people are going to think you are a self indulgent arsehole with ideas above your station.


If this is so, then I hope people on this forum can make a judgement of me based on my posts over the years, and come to the conclusion that even if they don't understand me in my present conundrum, what I'm going through doesn't arise from arrogance. And I'm happy to say that none of my seemingly crazy decisions have ever closed doors for me. :-)

Quote From pm133:
[quote]
I am convinced that meaning in life and contentment comes from doing things which are fulfilling and meaningful to you personally.


I agree. But at the same time, after quite a few years of a depressing and boring day job, I decided that I wanted to make my interest my career... which is why I went to university and did my BSc, MRes, and now PhD. That's why I'm being very careful in my decision now because if completing the PhD IS the best way for me to pursue my goal, then I want to do that. But if on the other hand, the PhD hasn't afforded me the development (and thus confidence) I need to pursue an academic career...

Thread: Where to do my PhD Studies?

posted
16-Aug-18, 20:01
edited about 1 minute later
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posted about 14 hours ago
Quote From Loubigher:


And Tudor_queen, wen i was being interviewd by Loughborough professors theys eemed super friendly and less formal than I expected. Maybe cause of the fact they arent originally british I don’t know ! But i believe in UK the phd is more structured and more arranged to be done if the student is capable in 3 years timeline.



This is normal! We are way less hierarchical / formal in academia compared to many European countries. That's what I was trying to say - it's a big positive of the UK.

And us Brits are a friendly bunch on average!

Good luck in your decision!

Thread: Where to do my PhD Studies?

posted
16-Aug-18, 14:41
edited about 51 seconds later
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posted about 19 hours ago
Oh one more thing.... apparently the UK is somewhere in the middle of a continuum of old fashioned ideas when it comes to hierarchy... the US is way more liberal (on that front)... and the rest of Europe is way more conservative (Herr Doktor and all that). If this bothers you / you feel you can be more comfortable / productive in a more or less formal / relaxed context, then bear that in mind. China is even more on the conservative side from what I gather from my Chinese student friends. Power is a big deal and abuse is rife.

These are generalizations of course and there are exceptions.

Good luck!

Thread: Where to do my PhD Studies?

posted
16-Aug-18, 14:38
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 19 hours ago
Hi! How exciting to have those offers! I think I'd go for China myself! But if you really aren't fussed per se which one you go to - then consider the two most important issues: supervisor and project. If there are any doubts surrounding EITHER ONE of these two things, rule that one out. If you aren't sure - you have 2 weeks to try found out more! Speak to existing students, look at their publications to see if they are productive researchers who know how to publish and help their students to publish... Who is most responsive and helpful when it comes to email correspondence? These things are all very important. If all things are equal... pieces of paper in a hat? :D
Hope that helps!

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
15-Aug-18, 20:35
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 day ago
Quote From pm133:

BTW, I was fascinated to read that you view the award itself as only being worth 1% and that what you are considering at the moment proves you actually mean it. Do you know how rare your mindset is? That is precisely my attitude as well. I don't generally celebrate any achievement. For me, the joy is almost exclusively about the process of getting there. The upside of this is that I get to spend more time being content rather than my entire happiness hinging on getting a particular grade. We might be closer in our thought processes than you think. I consider maths and science as an art form to be mastered. My PhD was the same. Only the final paper was really meaningful to me. Without it, I would have felt a fraud for accepting the PhD. During my undergrad degree I was always motivated by fully understanding and mastering a topic rather than managing to get an A in the exam. Unfortunately there isnt time to do this during the course which is why I am filling in the gaps now in my own time.

There are very VERY few people out there who genuinely think like this. I think that this is the core reason behind why my views are so different from those of others. I am normally looking at things from a completely different place. I think artists are probably most likely to understand exactly where I am coming from. I have very little in common with those who see their jobs as just work, those who switch off at home time, those who are happy just to pass exams, those are happy to get away with mediocre work with minimum effort and those who see life as a massive checklist of things to do before they die.


Can't express how great it feels to be understood! :)

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
15-Aug-18, 20:33
edited about 25 seconds later
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posted about 1 day ago
It's very nice to be understood pm133! I have always been like this, and sometimes it does make for being misunderstood (people can think you're being arrogant or disregarding their achievements just because you don't place the same value on them for yourself), but that's just the way it is : )

Quote From bewildered:


Not saying this to be mean, but I think that reason would sound a lot of alarm bells. I would assume that it meant your work wasn't strong enough to pass if I saw it written down. And if I was able to probe in interview, I think my concern would be that you were unrealistic about what a PhD is about and so would be difficult to supervise.

Are you sure this isn't just cold feet at the thought of the viva or applying for postdocs? If that might be the case, you're far from the first to feel that way towards the end. Just wondered if you were in an over-thinking phase and whether a chat with the counselling service might be useful to clarify your ideas a bit before you do anything irrevocable?


The PGR tutor (who sits on panels) advised me that if I explained it how I did to him on the phone to him (lack of intellectual development) it would be respected. So I guess it just depends on the panel.

It's actually the culmination of 3 years of thoughts that I have not allowed myself to entertain (because I felt scared of quitting - scared of the unknown). I'm glad to be exploring it - so that I can make an informed choice on the matter, rather than just blocking out thoughts of regret any longer. Not sure if I shared this earlier, but the PGR tutor gave me details of a bunch of academics (not in my department) who I can get in touch for a chat about it. I won't make any decision that isn't well considered from all angles.

Thread: Dealing with "sexism" in the lab

posted
15-Aug-18, 16:10
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 day ago
Ps. I could be wrong about the PGT director - they may be completely separate from the lab and impartial. Fingers crossed as that will make things so much easier. All the best with this.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
15-Aug-18, 11:35
edited about 3 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 day ago
Thank you Eng, and no worries - I wasn't offended by the word meaningless - I just wanted to clarify that the research is OK (not great but OK). It is just my development and therefore my confidence that has suffered.

Thanks - I'm already thinking about PhD options. Thankfully, I have a good bit of time to come to a decision (the PGT person told me to just take my time - and he will keep it all confidential in the meantime). Something that is becoming apparent to me is that I don't think I would want to do this without already having either a) an RA post, or b) a new PhD prospect. It is hard though - my head feels a bit of a mess after everything - I am not really in a position to be thinking about PhD proposals - not right now anyway. I probably would need to take some time out first (and let my mind casually work on it - perhaps while doing an RA role).

Anyway - I am getting ahead of myself again. Thanks again for your input - it's all helping.

Best
Tudor

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
15-Aug-18, 10:27
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 day ago
Quote From eng77:
Hi all. I agree totally with pm133 two points.
Another point. Do you know what is worse than spending 3 years doing "meaningless" research and get a PhD ?
It is spending 3 years doing "meaningless" research and NOT get a PhD.


Nice one! But that would depend on your perspective and what you value most. For me it is 99% about the process, and only 1% about the award at the end.

Thankfully, the research hasn't been meaningless. It definitely is worthy of an award (PhD or MPhil - whichever I decide to go for - probably it will need minor or major corrections if I submit for a PhD but that is normal). It is just which one will enable me to be able to move on to something better. If I get a PhD and end up getting stuck in a research associate job still regretting my PhD and wishing I was doing a PhD that actually afforded me the development I wanted and the freedom to carry out my own project, I would not be happy.

If I do go down the find another PhD route, I will be very sure to try and a) propose my own project that I believe in, and b) choose supervisors who I know I can respect and work with.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
15-Aug-18, 10:14
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 day ago
Pm133, I am shocked! This is the first time I have known your opinion to concur with everybody else's! :D I was actually looking forward to your contribution, as I had hoped it would open up the debate!

I write the above in a lighthearted way by the way. I do value what you have said. And everybody else's advice on this thread. It's been invaluable as it's basically caused me to think even more carefully.

I still haven't decided yet. I just got off the phone to the PGT manager who gave me some information and advice too - which I will also take into consideration. He encouraged me to just submit it anyway. But he also shared how that he has known several candidates who had an MPhil who were then awarded PhD funding. He says the point is to be able to explain why you chose to downgrade to MPhil (in my case - lack of intellectual development afforded by my PhD). In his experience, he doesn't think it would close doors to pursuing RA roles and future PhD funding. But he still reckoned I should just go for the PhD.

I will keep you posted and in the meantime, please continue to share if you have insight / advice.

Best
Tudor

Thread: Dealing with "sexism" in the lab

posted
15-Aug-18, 08:56
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 days ago
I think if you go to see the director, you need to be very sure of your self, and refuse to be fobbed off/undermined. There is a chance that she will try to do this, I'm afraid. You need to be clear about your perception of what is going on, and how that you refuse to be subjected to it any longer. And there needs to be a record of what was said and agreed in the meeting. Also, I would not tell her specific examples of what he has done (unless you have a genuine rapport and trust with this person). It is so easy for someone to try and undermine you when you present isolated examples... a text in the morning... a comment about appearance... what's the big deal, right? However, if you simply explain that there have been multiple instances of sexual harrassment and you prefer not to disclose the nature of them in this context - that should be enough. That's just my view anyway. Don't risk getting undermined about what you have experienced.

I still think the easier route would be to somehow move without raising it. Then put in a complaint later. Simply because of the risk. I have a feeling that you aren't the first person who this supervisor has done this to. The best predictor of someone's current behaviour is their previous behaviour... And so you can bet that it is already "known" that he engages in sexually harrassing behaviour... yet he is still there in his role and still behaving in the same way with new victims. What you're experiencing is likely the tip of the iceberg of a culture where this goes on and is accepted/overlooked. So I am worried about how you will be treated when you raise the issue with the director, assuming that you are probably not the first.

But yes, if you are clear and adamant that you expect to be moved (if that is the goal), and refuse to be undermined, you should succeed in the end.

Thread: Need help understanding the expectations of my thesis

posted
15-Aug-18, 07:40
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 days ago
Sounds good! All the best for your meeting.

Thread: Dealing with "sexism" in the lab

posted
14-Aug-18, 23:13
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 days ago
Hi MyWorld

I am so sorry. It sounds a horrible situation to be in. I am hoping that somebody else on this forum will have good advice for you. My instinct in a situation like this is the same as your personal counselor's: get out of the situation.

Things are complicated, as you've explained. Is changing labs a realistic option? Even though it seems drastic at the time, it is unlikely you'd regret it. It is very sad that fighting against the system often does not work. Personally, I think maybe a plan of action to get yourself in a different lab is the best option. If you don't want to then you don't have to share the reason why you want to change labs. You can come up with another reason as to why you desperately want to go to X lab.

I am a bit confused about your situation. You have a boss, a mentor, and a supervisor? Do you have a good relationship with your boss? Would you feel comfortable explaining why you want to leave? I once had a situation where I could not work with a certain person anymore because of a subtle kind of abuse (not sexual but abuse is abuse). I knew that if I was open about it, sadly, it would probably be used against me. So I basically refused to elaborate, but just was adamant that I 100% could not work with this person any longer. My wish was granted. I had no regrets. Maybe something like this could work for you?

Hoping others can offer you advice too. In the meantime, I would suggest that you never be in the lab alone with him - and especially not in evenings or other quiet times. And I really would be trying to leave as soon as you possibly can (and filing a formal anonymous complaint to university later). All the best.

Thread: Dealing with "sexism" in the lab

posted
14-Aug-18, 21:49
edited about 4 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 days ago
Hi MyWorld

This is totally inappropriate. Your supervisor sounds like a creepy pervert. I think it will definitely continue and probably get more and more inappropriate. I have heard of situations like this, and it usually starts with small things and then ends up bigger. To me, this looks like sexual harrassment. He is commenting on your appearance in an inappropriate way not to mention the other stuff. Have a google and you see how sexual harrassment occurs so that you can stop undermining/doubting yourself.

Are you an international student by the way? I ask this because I have heard of cases of international students being sexually harrassed by their supervisors. Perhaps they are more vulnerable simply because of the culture difference / not always being 100% sure what is normal and acceptable in a given culture, and can sometimes be a little passive because of that. Also, there is the fact that in some countries the power imbalance is very big, and, therefore, it is even more difficult to speak up about such things.

Please be careful and please come up with a plan of action. Hopefully other people will be able to give you more practical advice than I can. I just want to assure you that your feeling uncomfortable at these things ISN'T just you being weird or too sensitive / exaggerating. His behaviour is unacceptable and he needs to know that you are not OK with this.

All the best
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