Overview of Alanine

Recent Posts

Worried they will ask me to leave PhD

I am in my first year of my PhD after doing a one year training programme (1+3 phd studentship)

I am organically a biomed student with no maths background and moved into a 'big data' bioinformatics type PhD. I passed my PhD year 1 review with good feedback (we are graded using concerned, average, good and excellent)

I have felt that the past year I wasn't good enough and have been tricking supervisors and academics by acting confidently and that's how I got through the year. I had a car crash of a meeting this week because my supervisors (one new who has just joined) started questioning me on statistical analysis. I have been on courses and used all of these methods but just haven't thought about it (been doing a systematic review since the Summer) and am really bad at quickly thinking about these things, I need time to sort it out on paper. I know I'll need to improve and get more confident in viva style questioning, I just wasn't expecting it as our meeting are normally an informal chat.

Today my supervisor told me she was taken aback by my lack of knowledge and I could tell she was disappointed. I have completely lost confidence in everything, and am terrified they will ask me to leave. I feel so stressed and anxious I can't stop crying and had to leave work. I don't know what to do.

Extreme journal club fear

Also remember most people aren't even listening. When I looked up during my presentation, one interviewer was looking out the window, one doodling on a bit of paper and the others eyes were glazed over. Maybe I'm just really boring :D

Extreme journal club fear

It will get easier every time you attend!

I was absolutely terrified of presenting after a bad experience in undergrad (my fear was so bad that I didn't do a presentation for for BSc project even though it counted towards final mark).

However when it came to PhD interviews there was no getting out of it. The first time I felt sick with anxiety, but it actually didn't go too badly. Each time got less stressful and the third time I presented I was offered the PhD which gave me a massive confidence boost.

If you're nervous about shaking or voice trembling I highly recommend beta blockers. They stop the effects of adrenaline so you don't have any physical symptoms of anxiety :)

Accepting PhD Offer

Quote From TreeofLife:
Congrats Alanine!

Are you starting in October? If so, you might not hear anything else until Sept. After my informal offer of a place, I had to log on to the uni system to accept it 2 weeks later, and then I didn't hear anything for another 2 to 3 months, which was in Sept, before I started in Oct.

Thanks Tree! I'm really excited about it :D

Yes it's an Oct start, I'll bear in mind things won't progress very fast! I have the whole of September off so time to chase them up if need be.

Accepting PhD Offer

So I have finally (unofficially) been accepted onto a PhD programme!

I received an email last Thursday from one of the individuals on the panel, offering me a place on the programme and asking me to reply with my decision.

I confirmed acceptance, but haven't heard anything since. Just wondering how long it normally takes universities to start sending you official offers, contracts etc? Want to make sure they can't suddenly take my offer away!

On a side note, would welcome any posts (positive or negative) from people completing a PhD with a long term health condition :)

Academic job interview: Any tips?

In my first couple of interviews (research positions in medical sciences) I got caught out by the structure.

Each person on the panel had set questions to ask which were equivalent for all candidates to make it fair

The issue I had was that there was no follow up or reply (just a thank you!) once I had answered a question. I was expecting more of a discussion/conversation type of interview, but I don't think this format is commonly used in research type positions anymore as the process has to be standardised.

This meant that as I naturally don't tend to elaborate my interviews were over very quickly and therefore the panel didn't get the best impression of my previous work/skills etc

I am naturally very chatty, I just found this format very jarring!

Failed PhD

Well done Adam! That must be such a relief

Epidemiologists, unite!

Forgot to add- this is for September 2015 entry with the deadline next week, so I think some extra funding must have become available!

Epidemiologists, unite!

Quote From HazyJane:
I did a Masters and PhD in Epidemiology, though as separate programmes at different institutions.

It's quite unusual for advertised science programmes to ask for a research proposal at the point of application. May I ask which country the programme is based in and whether you are applying for a clinical or non-clinical funding pathway?

Thanks for your reply!

Of course- this is at a UK university and is funded by the Medical Research Council (although the programme is non-clinical). They generally do applications for this students in the autumn, for the following September.

I was also very surprised that they asked for a research proposal- it is limited to 2 pages which I think is relatively short? It does seems unusual seeing as the programme is aimed at students with little background in epidemiology- I really dislike writing things when I know I'm not confident in the area, so haven't been enjoying this application very much.

Also a little concerned students who have studied epidemiology will apply- my proposal will look very shoddy in comparison!

Happy to PM the general idea of the project (outlined by the supervisor I chose) if you did think you could offer some advice.

Epidemiologists, unite!

Are there any epidemiologists on the forum who could help me out?

I'm just completing an application for an MSc +PhD in epidemiology. The advertisement was geared towards any students with a science degree and so didn't require any prior epidemiology training- however you need to write a research proposal as part of your application.

I've chosen the area I want to research into and confirmed with supervisors they are happy for me to apply. I am now stuck- while I know the disorder I have chosen extremely well, I have very limited knowledge of epidemiology and the techniques/analyses/data programmes people use. I was hoping to learn all this on the MSc if I got a place!

Rather frustratingly the supervisor is on leave so cannot read a draft or make any suggestions on the proposal- I didn't know this when I chose the subject area...

Would anyone be up for helping out a complete novice? :)

Masters (MSci) or Honours (BSc) if wanting to do a PhD in Physics

An MSc (extra year after you have completed your BSc) is generally considered better than the MSci in terms of PhD applications as you will do a second, more rigorous, research project.

Obviously you need to factor in any extra costs, and having to apply to institutes to get onto the course.

However I am from a biological sciences background where competition is much more intense, if I were you I'd go and speak to some academics in your department to see what they'd expect to see from strong applicants.

Hearing back after interview?

Thank you Mathcomp, I have been watching GOT!

Still no word, I did email the supervisor but no reply as of yet. Not looking too good...

Quote From Mathcomp:
I suggest you focus on something else, complete a task or maybe
watch a movie.
Wish you luck Alanine.

Hearing back after interview?

Thank you for your replies! I do hope you're right....

For a number of reasons this is really really important to me so I'm just sitting and praying!

Hearing back after interview?

I had a phd interview yesterday and was told I would hear back today- I don't think they were interviewing many people!
As the hours go by I'm getting more and more stressed, surely I would have heard by now as they would have made the decision yesterday? So scared they are waiting for the chosen person to confirm before they tell everyone else...


Research assistant + PhD?

Quote From KeaneFan:
Yes I have experience of this a few years ago. I was an RA on a fixed term contract at a former poly but a decent enough one. My colleague was doing a PhD. I was not. He was an RA too on a different project. I had loads of extra time waiting for survey results to come in and little to do at times. I put a lot of weight on actually waiting around - boredom sat in office completely unoccupied and the university knew I had nothing to do and did not expect me to do any thing either. Plenty of time to do a PhD on our projects. Pay was less at £18,000 a year. Depends on project. My work came in waves; you've have to stagger your commitments

You're in the social sciences field right? Had a look at your other posts :) I've never worked as an RA but have a feeling it will be more time intensive in my field, I have friends who regularly work evenings and weekends....

How long did it take your colleague to finish his PhD?