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I can't post!

I noticed that too! I've been trying to read one all day. (Not literally all day, I'm not that weird, I did other things too lol)

Following your dreams...Is there a price to pay?

Quote From aussiegirl:

... using every opportunity my uni had for going on exchange... But I'm afraid, that the only world I will see will be the campus:)... but I don't see me doing anything else.

The three sentences I have quoted from you stick out from me. It says to me you like travel,so that's in favour of going to Oz. On the other hand, you're afraid of not seeing the wider world. Imo, working for years before doing my PhD is valuable. There are all sorts of problems I see on here that don't phase me, as I have more life-experience I suppose (that sounds glib, but there something to be taken from it). And I use so much of what I have done before in what I do now. And I value it in a different way. In an ideal world, I would tell people to do something else before doing a PhD, it's easy to get trapped and avoid going into the 'real world' but you can't control when opportunities happen. In an ideal world, I would have started my PhD about 3 years earlier, but 3 years before that i wouldn't have been in the position to do it, so hey ho. I don't regret a thing. The ideal world doesn't exist so you need to take what you have at the time. And lastly, you can't see yourself doing anything else. Me neither. It's what I always wanted to do, and I feel so lucky to be doing it. But there's the caveat of do you know if you haven't tried other things, but then that goes back to the opportunities not always being there at the right time.
Whatever you decide though, that is the right decision. Who knows what could have happened on the other paths you could have taken, there is no point thinking what if, as you can never know where the other path would have led.
Hope that is useful. Obviously it's all just my opinions which are nonsense anyway outside of my head

The Word Association Game Thread


Following your dreams...Is there a price to pay?

How would you feel if you didn't go for it? That's what my deciding thing was when I decided. I had always wanted to do a PhD but thought I could never afford it. When I was offered the chance to do a PhD I had a really difficult decision - I gave up a 10 year career, plenty of money, putting off kids and hoping my biology won't beat me. But the idea of not doing it was just too awful. I would kick myself for the rest of my life. Sometimes I kick myself now for doing it, but I know that really I would have regretted not doing it more. But that was after months of thinking.

I wouldn't give up all you have for something that just seems like a good idea. Really think every aspect through. I'd also think through the consequences of staying out in Australia after you finish, as imho that's pretty likely. So I wouldn't do it based on thinking it'll only be 3 years. It might be, but I'd prepare for it being a permanent emigration too.

Re the family thing, it depends what you mean by family. If it is husband and kids, then I don't think the advice to do what you like is appropriate. If parents, siblings and such-like then yes it applies a little more, they will still be here when/if you get, but still you don't want to destroy relationships. I'd be surprised if it would but it depends on the family, so only you know that.

I don't want to sound negative, doing a PhD was a great decision for me, and I'd love for others to do one too. But I did want to be honest. I wouldn't have done it if it meant moving home, that would have meant uprooting my husband too. So you really need to think it through for you.

How to start out well with Supervisor ?

I don't want this to come out the right way, so it is meant totally nicely, but when you mention the being treated like adult/child thing, the adult thing would be to ask your supervisor all these things. I feel really glad to be a bit longer in the tooth and more experienced I suppose at being in the adult world because it means I don't feel scared of my supervisor. I see him as just another adult, albeit due respect for being 'above' me and more experienced, and talk to him as such. He is a very down to earth guy, but even if he weren't and wanted people to bow down, I would still just treat him as another adult, albeit with the respect his position earns.

I think it is best to be honest, explain how you want to work, what you want from him etc. You don't need to act in control if you're not, or needy if you're not, or any of those things. I think it is also essential to remember that your supervisor is just a person too. I think that's what you learn in life, that pretty much everyone else is as sometimes confused, sometimes frustrated, sometimes angry, sometimes irrational and sometimes contented as anyone else. And that they are not perfect either. They will forget things, make mistakes, not concentrate, have other things on, just like anyone. And all that is allowed. Sorry I'm rambling now.

All the Qs you have totally depend on the supervisor and student, so you need to talk to one another. Hope it goes well

New PhD students - let's all panic together!

Quote From myoung:

When does it all become clear??

I think the day after graduation ;-)

Viva Fear

OK, you don't need to read the threads about bad vivas. That won't help. Your viva is about you. You've submitted, you wrote the thing, you know it. So, think about how a confident person acts. Picture what they do, how they speak, how they stand, how they thinking. Then just act like that. If you catch yourself hunched over, worrying, doubting yourself, just remember that is not how a confident person acts, then just re-adjust yourself to being that confident person again. It's difficult to worry when you are acting confidently. Really, acting confidently, is not far from being confident. They are pretty much the same thing.


Thanks guys. Anything which means I don't have to deal with MS Word messing up all the tables and numbering at the last minute sounds good. I can live with being pretentious and arrogant ;-), seems a little harsh for not liking some software (for reasons which I didn't think would make the most interesting post), but hey ho :-).

Anyone got any experience of Pages? Was going to go with it as reviews suggest it doesn't have the table and numbering screw up 'feature' but maybe it is pretty much like Word otherwise?


Why do people use LaTex? I have seen it mentioned a few times, and have looked online, but can't figure out at the moment what the benefit is (other than to avoid Microsoft which is good enough for me 8-)). So rather than hijack a thread, I thought I'd ask here.

(Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I tried a search and nothing came up even though I know it is mentioned)

How do you keep track of what you've read, and what would you do differently?

Quote From eternalvoyageur:

======= Date Modified 01 Oct 2008 16:27:48 =======
Zoteo seems to be ok, but what bothers me that I have to type out or copy a lot of stuff for my bibliography... Isn't there some way that the reading log could be integrated with whatecer you use for bibliography ?


At the risk of sounding Zoteo obsessed ;-) you can export the stuff out and the paste it into Word (or whatever superior word processing package you are using),and then you have a biblio. Endnote does this for you more, so is more integrated, but imo the problem with Endnote doing this for you is that it will make mistakes, there will be something somewhere in there incorrectly, and because you were taken out of the process you are less likely to spot it. I'd rather do the biblio a bit more manually than spend ages checking, when I won't check so well as it will be too passive an activity. The functionality of Zotero is more important to me than the integration of Endnote, but horses for courses.

(Viva Zotero!;-)8-)

How do you keep track of what you've read, and what would you do differently?

Quote From eternalvoyageur:

I've also just downloaded Zotero.
I wonder if it is as useful for someone who uses a lot of offline reading as well ?

Well you'd have to manually put the references in, unless you can find them online, but you'd do that with any software, wouldn't you? Most of my stuff is not online. Zotero uses Firefox for functionality but you don't have to be online to use it. Have you looked at the 2 demo video things? I found them very useful.
I have got some references by finding them somewhere, eg Amazon, and then downloading them from there to save my typing.

How do you keep track of what you've read, and what would you do differently?

I'm a new convert to Zotero and I can't understand why anyone would use Endnote now! So, Zotero, and all the detail I need for a biblio, plus sometimes comments and stuff, but this tends to sit outside of this usually


Quote From daisyduke:

Hi there

Newbie to the forum.

Feeling really lost. Just coming up to the end of my first year and have to write my upgrade report. I am finding it really difficult because my data is not fantastic. Essentially I did not have huge lab experience before starting my PhD but worked in a related field. (supervisor took a bit of a punt!). It has taken me all this time to learn a lot of techniques and I have been trying to replicate methods that I will be able to use for my proposed project. I work in a lab with staff that produce a lot of good data and I feel like I am right at the other end of the scale.

I sit at my computer every day thinking that I can tie this together but find myself drifting towards the internet because I can't face trying to make a sow's ear of a silk purse. I know that I should just submit something but all it will show is that I have managed to learn some techniques - my supervisor advised trying to make more of a story of it, but I just keep drawing a blank. I can't even be certain that some of the techniques are OK as one of the other investigators in our department ripped into my work after I gave a talk (however it is well known that he doesn't like my supervisor - doesn't bode well as I am supposed to be collaborating with him)

I am behind on my deadline and I will have to avoid my supervisor when I return to the office next week. She has been really supportive of me but I know that everyone has their limit!

It wasn't supposed to be like this! I was reasonably senior in my post before and I was successful. I really wanted to do this PhD but I feel that I am floundering. I hate feeling like a failure and I will be absolutely honest that it is something that I am not used to. I am really scared about next year. My confidence was fine at the start of the course but it has now disappeared.

I know that I need to pull my socks up but I am so scared that I am going to flunk this :-(

I'm not sure I can say much that helps, but your post really resonates with me. I was senior before, I don't normally fail or find things hard, and I really wanted to d a PhD - but it is hard. But then if it wasn't, it wouldn't be worth doing. That's what I tell myself. Everything I have read suggests it is like this, for most people, but people get through it. And just imagine what it will be like when you do too? It'll be interesting to look back and see how you got through it. I also believe that the end of first year can be a tricky time, it's not so new anymore, but you also don't know quite enough yet if that makes sense. Maybe not much practical advice, but I feel what you are feeling

Accountability Partners - Write your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day

Just wanted to thank you guys for this thread. I got the book off the back of it and feel quite inspired now. I am only at the 'write first' stage, and have done my 10 mins a day twice now, but already feel like I have made progress in my work. I think I was hiding behind books before, but the answers aren't there; they need to come from me!

How to treat PhD like a job and not a personal quest

I got a book yesterday, from reading stuff on here, and it looks good to me so far. Called Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Mins a Day, by Joan Bolker. It seems to focus more on the psychology of what we are trying to achieve rather than a typical "how to". I'll let you look on Amazon for what it's about rather than trying my own synopsis.:-)
Re your supervisor, playing devil's advocate a little, could it be that he can sense that you are not fully engaged and so he is holding back on it too? If the other students are more engaged with their work, maybe it is easier to focus on them. That's not excusing, he should help you through that, but they are only human too.

And you don't need a mean streak, that won't get you further in the long run.