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Tudor_Queen
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 at 11:56am
Monday, 10 December 2018 at 5:49pm
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Thread: Dealing with "sexism" in the lab

posted
21-Aug-18, 14:18
edited about 24 minutes later
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posted about 4 months ago
I think this is a blurry area. Often the one in a lower position of power does not feel able to verbalize their discomfort. In the fairly recent reported cases of politicians (and other people in power) sexually harassing their colleagues / other professionals (e.g., Michael Fallon placing his hand on the knee of a journalist under the table during a professional dinner, and the other member of parliament whose name I can't recall asking his secretary to go buy him sex toys), the victims spoke out later, and the individuals lost their job. I am not sure that there is an obligation technically to have to declare at the time of the event that you are not happy with the behaviour. That's why it's sexual harassment oftentimes - the person in a lesser position of power feels powerless to stand up to it.

This supervisor is behaving unprofessionally and is harassing the OP. She says her behaviour is telling him she is uncomfortable. Is it really a stipulation that she verbalize her discomfort for this to constitute sexual harassment? I don't think so (maybe it is though).

Hope you find a solution. Best one I can think of is try the things pm133 has suggested about using husband as a tool, and if that doesn't work then leave and report!

Thread: Am I screwed? :( A year in, still zero motivation, not happy with progression...

posted
21-Aug-18, 13:51
edited about 4 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
Quote From CadmiumRed19:


So many other PhDs seem to work so hard that they find it hard to switch off, yet I can't even switch on half the time. I'm at such a loss and I can't go another two years feeling this way. I genuinely thought I'd love doing my PhD. It upsets me so much that I'm not enjoying it at all.



You know, having had a bit of a similar experience I would advise you to a) make a plan of action that you will carry out within a set amount of time, b) assess the results of that (i.e., am I now happier with my progress / the PhD), and c) if yes continue... or if not, consider leaving. Don't leave it too long... maybe a few months would be enough. And in the meantime, see if you can find other opportunities that you think would float your boat. The earlier on you are, the easier it is to find something else (before leaving), explain why you are applying (i.e., this suits me better - I'm passionate about this), and move on! I have a friend who did this at the end of her first year, and she is now super happy in her new PhD. Of course you could re-think your research topic as Mattfab suggests - you don't need to leave - you could do it there in the same context. Either way, as Eng says, some big action is needed. You do not want to be saying the same thing in year 3 of your PhD...

Thread: Am I screwed? :( A year in, still zero motivation, not happy with progression...

posted
21-Aug-18, 13:35
edited about 3 minutes later
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posted about 4 months ago
I think I agree with Eng here. It is a good time to stop and take inventory. Is the second year looking like it will be more busy, i.e., do you have lots of tasks lined up - data collection etc? The PhD needs to bring some results (i.e., data that you make sense of somehow) - what plans are in place for you to achieve these? That's the most important thing I think - having a clear plan of what you are doing will drive the whole project and you forward.

Also, what is your PhD trying to find out? If you are able to remind yourself of this (remind yourself of the original gap you planned to address) it might help give you direction. The supervisor should be able to help here too if you are feeling a bit lost. If they are not fulfilling their role, maybe you need to talk to another academic about things.

If you want to leave and get a job then that is an option of course. I would just urge you to think carefully - would you probably regret it? Would you be happier on your PhD if it was more structured? If yes, then you can try to create that structure through your task list / project plan. Hope this helps.

Thread: PhD Writing up Tips ?

posted
21-Aug-18, 13:30
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posted about 4 months ago
I think I would just think about it being finished - visualize it over and done with. That would inspire me to go for it. Other than that I'd do all the usual tricks - breaks, rewards, bize-sized chunks etc.

Thread: Notice period stopping PhD

posted
21-Aug-18, 13:24
edited about 27 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
From what you've said, it sounds like notice isn't required. Good luck with the job hunt!

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
21-Aug-18, 13:17
edited about 27 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Quote From TreeofLife:
Just for clarification, I think I did my PhD the right way. I threw myself into it and gave it everything I had. I didn't just write up my thesis as quickly as I could, I read widely and deeply, like a proper scholar should, and that's why it took me a whole year to write up working 60-70 hour weeks..
.


This sounds awesome. Exactly the kind of experience I wanted. Maybe imagine if you had the opposite experience because of external factors (let's admit - things can go wrong in supervision/project - a mismatch in either of those things can be disastrous). But you're still the same person... you still have all that in you and are longing to keep developing in your potential... but your PhD has not afforded it for you. Even though that was your purpose for embarking on it. You know it isn't imposter sydrome. You know it isn't your effort or abilities. You know it was a bad PhD experience.

Would you still recommend just submit the thesis anyway since it should pass (on the basis of its content - not on the basis of that person's learning and development through the whole process)? Or would you consider recommending the MPhil is a viable option here... if that person can manage to secure funding elsewhere for another PhD?


No comment? :-)

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
21-Aug-18, 10:31
edited about 2 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
Quote From pm133:
TQ, when I say a conversation is needed about the purpose of a PhD, I was talking more generally from society's point of view rather than the student's perspective (which as you say will differ from person to person).

As a society, with limited funding available to hand out to people, what do we want a PhD to be for? Why bother with them at all? Should it be about creating an intellectual elite to solve the most pressing problems facing society? Or is it something else? It is obvious what we get from it as students. What should society expect in return for that investment?


Ah OK, that makes sense. Hadn't thought of that!

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
20-Aug-18, 20:16
edited about 2 minutes later
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posted about 4 months ago
Quote From kenziebob:


Maybe there needs to be an honest conversation regarding what people believe a PhD should be for.


I completely agree with this, but I think the focus shouldn't just be on grades/degree classification.


I see these two points as addressing different things. I definitely agree that the focus should not be on grades etc - although it does become difficult - as that is one way of narrowing down applicants in competitive situations such as trying to get PhD funding. I think it is great that people are able to go to university through non-traditional routes and then show what they are made of. That is progress.

Regarding honest conversations about what people believe a PhD should be for... although I feel strongly about what I want from my PhD, I am not sure that there needs to be any consensus on this. Some people do PhDs for a personal intellectual achievement, others to get a specific job, some to become a researcher, others because they are bored and think it will keep them occupied for a few more years... I think all of those reasons are fine - it's up to the individual.

Where I do think an honest conversation could come very in handy is with potential supervisors when applying to do a PhD. Because then it should (I stress the word should...) come out in the conversation whether they think that particular PhD (and frankly their own experience in supervision and academic know-how) is going to be able to offer what that individual wants from it.

Quote From kenziebob:
[quote]
I have spent most of my twenties looking for a job that provides me with a meaningful way to live, and I found it really hard to work when I didn't feel that meaning.

Me too! :-) That is why I am so determined to continue in my research area - through whatever means and at whatever level.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
20-Aug-18, 18:41
edited about 51 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
I think the penny may be dropping (for me)... maybe despite all I've shared on here about not having developed blah blah... maybe my thesis shows that I can conduct a research project over the course of 3 years and write it up successfully (not the most exciting results but still)... and maybe that warrants the PhD. And maybe although I haven't developed as much as I'd liked, that is just unfortunate. And my best course of action is to just see the thing through anyway and aim for the development I crave in a future role.

Is that what everyone has been trying to tell me??? :o

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
20-Aug-18, 18:37
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Just for clarification, I think I did my PhD the right way. I threw myself into it and gave it everything I had. I didn't just write up my thesis as quickly as I could, I read widely and deeply, like a proper scholar should, and that's why it took me a whole year to write up working 60-70 hour weeks..
.


This sounds awesome. Exactly the kind of experience I wanted. Maybe imagine if you had the opposite experience because of external factors (let's admit - things can go wrong in supervision/project - a mismatch in either of those things can be disastrous). But you're still the same person... you still have all that in you and are longing to keep developing in your potential... but your PhD has not afforded it for you. Even though that was your purpose for embarking on it. You know it isn't imposter sydrome. You know it isn't your effort or abilities. You know it was a bad PhD experience.

Would you still recommend just submit the thesis anyway since it should pass (on the basis of its content - not on the basis of that person's learning and development through the whole process)? Or would you consider recommending the MPhil is a viable option here... if that person can manage to secure funding elsewhere for another PhD?

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
18-Aug-18, 12:27
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From pm133:

Be prepared to swing from one position to another on this as the months go by. You might well feel better about it when you start putting the story together. At that point you really start to nail down the bigger picture. Also, dont underplay the learning experience of successfully dealing with a terrible situation and difficult people. That is one very common interview question should should now be able to deal with.


Thanks so much. The good thing is - I have a some time to make my decision. And absolutely - I listed in a Word doc the other day the things I HAVE learnt from my PhD as I see it...!

By the way, I'm really proud to have started a 4-page thread! :-D And really grateful for all contributions. I hope people in the future will be able to see this thread when searching for "MPhil" on this forum or on Google. I am beginning to think that MPhils might be a little unfairly stigmatized. Hopefully, what I've shared here ( a) about me considering one at a late stage of my PhD, b) about my PGR tutor understanding my perspective and sharing with me about how he has been on PhD panels where people with MPhils were awarded PhD funding, and c) an example of a person who self downgraded to MPhil and then went on to start a new PhD successfully...) will open up the general debate / consensus a little on that front. That is, there may be something to an MPhil as a way forward - not just as a red flag for PhD-quitter. I'm getting a sense that it's just not spoken about favourably (or at all) as it isn't encouraged / desirable. But it isn't NECESSARILY the worst choice one could make in a given situation or the be all and end all. More on that front as I learn more about it and come to my own decision.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
18-Aug-18, 11:58
edited about 29 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
I was surprised by that too - but I think ToL was just referring to imposter syndrome.

I agree - what is the point if a certain level of academic attainment wasn't achieved? That is exactly why I am spinning around in this dilemma :-/

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
18-Aug-18, 10:03
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
If I'm entirely honest, I think my confidence has been affected by the fact that it hasn't been great, which probably DOES make me think it has been "even worse" than it has been / I've developed "even less" than I have in reality. If that makes sense.

I think there IS a genuine issue (there really has been little scope for development), but this is compounded / amplified because I am the way I am (I know what I want from a given thing - from a PhD - and I have high expectations).

I guess the bottom line is: I could accept that it was a very poor experience, be proud of what I DID manage to get out of it, and move on fingers crossed to better things...

Thank you for helping me get more of a balanced view of things. One idea is to get going on tying the thesis together and seeing how I feel about it then. There is definitely enough work/data to merit a PhD, so maybe that is the logical thing to do - WHATEVER I feel about how the process has been.

Thread: Where to do my PhD Studies?

posted
17-Aug-18, 16:40
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
I don't think there are fees for the fourth year, aka "write up year"? But yes, you'd need to be able to support yourself during that time. In my immediate cohort, 3 of 5 have finished (as in submitted) in the 3 years, and I could have too if I'd have pushed, so it is definitely do-able. May depend on your area though and some supervisors expect you to use the write up year. Something to discuss early on if you're less keen on that.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
17-Aug-18, 15:57
edited about 6 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
Ps. What you've put in the second paragraph kind of concurs with what my mentor in the States said to me when I said I hadn't been developing much and it was depressing. That is the one thing that is making me think: just submit as planned, and get this behind you, so you can move on to the next thing.
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