Overview of Tudor_Queen

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How to deal with competitive/ambitious students in my department?
T

I know what you mean! My non-PhD friends have even stopped asking me about what I'm doing - we stick to non-academic topics generally! I am just this perpetual student to them, who also acts like a lecturer at times (teaching) but isn't really one. It is generally OK, but can feel a bit isolating at times...

I hope the one person coffee/last minute invite ideas work, as it's good to have a PhD social network (in addition to this great forum).

Negotiate stipend?
T

Hey Yirara, Would love to hear the outcome, as I haven't heard of it being done before either.

1st semester PhD student-terrible feedback on my first draft of ethics approval forms
T

Hi Kazwales

Lots of people feel shocked by their first bit of feedback from the supervisor. When you say negative and blunt, do you mean as in "no, change this to x", "that is wrong, it should be x", etc? If so, this is more a case of critical feedback than negative feedback, and it is what you would expect on a draft - that is why you send it to them. At PhD level often the only feedback you receive is where to correct or improve things. So don't worry - it isn't about your ability to complete a PhD.

Tudor

How to deal with competitive/ambitious students in my department?
T

Urgh can't stand shop talk. I encountered it early on in my PhD and felt bad lots of times after interacting with certain peers. It seems to be something some people need to do to make themselves seem more competent/better than the next person. If a person needs to do that, then they are probably doing it because secretly or even subconsciously they are very insecure about themselves. If a person knows their own abilities and feels happy about themselves, then they don't need to bring others down to lift themselves up all the time.

I now avoid those who do it. And if I do happen to be stuck in a room with them, I don't let myself get drawn into it. It is harder in your situation, since, as you've explained, social events always seems to be a big group thing. Could you just invite just ONE person for coffee, and try doing that with a few different people individually over a period of time? You could pick those who don't seem to have their heads stuck somewhere (cough). And if you realise that they are still doing it, even in a one to one situation, you can simply cross them off your list of people you want to get to know better. There is probably at least one other person in the group who feels exactly the same way you do.

my supervisor gave my project to another student
T

I think that tru's final comment may have been based on your writing here. Even though you've had good feedback and encouragement about your English writing skills, there is often still room for improvement. Academic writing in English can be challenging even for native English speakers. It may show that you are extremely proactive and eager about continuing to do your PhD if you show that you are trying to improve in all areas.

I think you've received terrible treatment regardless. It seems incredibly unfair. Some people in academia behave ruthlessly because there is no accountability. I think that now you have to decide what you want - to continue or not. And if you decide to continue, then you must act quickly and proactively. I'd suggest the same course of action as tru has suggested.

Good luck.

Self-Funded PhDs. Good or Bad?
T

I think you should try for funding. Limited opportunities out there perhaps - but they do exist. And there are other options too - such as PhD funding on the agreement that you do some teaching to cover some of the fees. Etc.

Another thing - a friend of mine self funded for her first year part-time (whilst working), and then managed to obtain funding after the first year to cover the rest of the PhD.

I'd say actively seek out other possibilities + options as well - there may be more opportunities than you're currently aware of. Have you talked to the postgrad officer in your school? They often know a lot and can tell you about things you hadn't thought of before.

How did you approach your literature review when you first started...?
T

There are some really good books and websites on writing the literature review. They guide you through it step by step - e.g., explaining about searching for literature, writing an introduction etc. I highly recommend looking at some of these - they are really helpful for when you don't know when start.

Another suggestion - start writing early. Once you have a plan and have written a few words under each section you'll feel so much better.

Good luck!

Do any of you have a good supervisor? What is s/he like?
T

No problem - it's just really hard to put into words... months of negative stuff, feeling it wasn't working out how I wanted it to, feeling annoyed/disappointed with them... myself, and academia!

I wrote down a few notes about a) what upset me/caused negative feelings, b) why I thought this might be, and c) how I would respond/how I wanted to appear to others going forward - a sort of strategy. That helped.

Sometimes, I was comparing the relationship I had with them to other working relationships I'd had in the past (more successful ones in my view). When it really got better was when I somehow let go off all of my expectations that I had of academia, my supervisors, the student-supervisory relationship - and just decided to make the best of my situation - even if it wasn't how I'd imagined it should be, or how it might have been if I'd done X, or worked with X supervisor.

I can't really explain how I did that/how it happened. I think it was a bit like if I didn't I would spiral further down and really not make the most of my PhD experience. Things are so much better now - it is unbelievable.

I'm not sure if this helps. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk about specifics of your situation or mine. : )

Do any of you have a good supervisor? What is s/he like?
T

I don't know if this helps... I was having issues myself a few months a go. Supervisor related. (See previous threads by me this year). And now things are 100x better. There is hope!

Do any of you have a good supervisor? What is s/he like?
T

Mine is a similar situ to Mattfabs, except my less experienced one who reads all my things is older, and my super experienced professor one (who I don't think reads my work in detail but it's OK) is pretty young (40s). She gives more oversight, more the bigger picture. My main (less experienced one) is very supportive, always replies to emails in good time, and gives detailed feedback.They are both good and sort of compliment one another.

What sparks this thread, Hugh?

Can I please ask what you did within the first 6 months of your PhD? What did you achieve? Hours?etc
T

Hi Maria212 - I haven't read any whole books - just chapters from good ones - very selective. But this probably depends on how familiar you are already with your area. My advice would be don't stress over anything (easier said than done, I know... but it is only counterproductive). If you feel that you should be reading more, or that reading more will reduce your anxiety, why not make a planner of the reading you will do over the next few weeks. You could tick off chapters/papers you've read and write small summaries on them. I think that writing the ethics application will help, as I imagine it needs a bit of background/a mini lit review. That would be a really good place to start. Stay chilled!
Tudor

Can I please ask what you did within the first 6 months of your PhD? What did you achieve? Hours?etc
T

Ps. I was full time. And reading what I've written it sounds like I achieved quite a lot in the first 6 months. At the time it felt like I was doing nothing.

Can I please ask what you did within the first 6 months of your PhD? What did you achieve? Hours?etc
T

I was really stressed because I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing for the first 3 months. Yeh, reading etc - but it felt a bit random. I was already familiar with my topic so if I could turn back the clock I would get myself out collecting data as soon as poss, instead reading bits and bobs and not really doing much.

It helped because my uni requires a 3-month literature report (just to check you have some understanding of the area, where your project could go, and that you can write in an academic way). That at least made me feel like I was doing something, although I got really stressed because it felt like something major, when actually in hindsight it was more of a tick-box activity.

So what I achieved - got my bearings a bit, got the 3 month report done, started the ethics application so that I could start to collect data for my first study (although some of my friends are still doing their first ethics application now - in their 2nd year - it depends on your project).

How are you getting on?

Applying for own Research Council-funded PhD
T

Yeh, it must be what TreeofLife says. I am not sure why your supervisor would have done that - could just be inexperience/lack of knowledge (my supervisor wasn't sure of all the possible ways of applying for funding when I applied for mine). I think the fact that you developed the project puts you in very good standing to be the student who is awarded the funding. I would make it clear in the interview(s) that you actually came up with it/developed it/had very strong input, what your plans are etc - it makes you the ideal candidate. You are at an advantage to all other candidates as you have all the background knowledge that has informed the project proposal. It is also possible that you're also more likely to see it through - as it was your own idea to begin with.

Applying for own Research Council-funded PhD
T

In my experience this sounds a little strange. I've only heard of developing a project yourself (or with supervisor support) and going for the Research Council funding as yourself (no other candidates - just you plus your project), or applying for a pre-existing project, which multiple candidates might apply for (although sometimes if you've been closely involved or something it might be "known" that it you are going to be selected but they have to go through the motion of interviewing other candidates and rejecting them).

Yours sounds like a bit like a mixture of the two. It sounds terribly unfair that your project could be given to another student. If it isn't too late could you not say that you want to put yourself and your project (as a package) forward for funding (the first route I described above)?