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Tips on how to finish PhD on time

Hi Emmie,

it is possible, just get writing as you go! I'm in same situation, 3 year post with little funding after (boss found funds to pay my bills for 3 extra months). I'm just coming to my last month of funding and would be finishing on time if not for couple of problems in lab.
I have written as i went from 1st year, have all intro done, materials and methods and structure for each chapter, putting in results and analyzing them as I go. I probably could have done more, but you always could I think! However, my lab work is getting completed this month at last and then its a matter of last results and updating references and doing discussions etc!

My boss seems to think i'll be submitted by Christmas, so if it hadnt been for some experimental hiccups I could have been finishing up now basically!

Hope this helps, and just remember it doesnt have to be a master piece, just good sound research well written to pass!

I'm sure you'll do fine, just keep plodding away and you'll get there.

Best of luck, KT

PT lecturer interview

Cheers Aberdeen Angus,

I know there's not much anyone can say, and I really don't want to sound funny by asking on here about it, just any advice would be ace, feeling pretty nervous about it!!

I will try and be all of the above :) i'm usually pretty good at crowd control and using my inherited "black look" to create silence (but i better not do that to the interview panel! :) )

PT lecturer interview

Hi, I've just been told I got an interview for pt lecturer in science at local college. It doesnt give much info about the job other than science! but the college does cover NVQ up to degree level.
They phoned me because I'm away on holiday in two days and not back til day before interview!!! ARGHHHH!

I asked them if there was anything they would like prepared and she said she didnt think so but would let me know if there was. I had assumed I would be expected to give a short lecture style talk for 10mins or so, is it likely they can just spring this on me? Or is there other lab based things they might ask of me, or proof of certain knowledge?

This is totally new type of job for me so if anyone has any recommendations of what i'm likely to be asked to prove etc that would be a tremendous help!
This is my first holiday in two years and its only just over a week so i plan to make most of it and not spend whole time freaking out/preparing for this interview! (But i really want the job!!!)

Cheers guys

Good things about doing a PhD

i'm loving this thread! You've all cheered my up and reminded me of my reasons for doing a phD and why I really do love it, despite the complaints and moaning! Good luck all of you who have vivas and final submission dates coming up, i'm sure you'll be UBER Doctors soon! :)

Smilodon's post hits the nail on the head, I got told off on a different forum a while ago for having a bit of a bad day and a moan from someone not doing a phD and it REALLY upset me for a week or so (pathetic probably on my part!), but I love this forum for having an anonymous support sanctuary!

Anyway, reading this post has made me sit at the bench this afternoon and think about why I did my phD in the first place and it was really my love for academia and the world we live in - I also love walking around old campus areas and getting that uni vibe, unfortunately I mostly work in the dungeons of a hospital now :(!
I also just love to know things that nobody else in teh world possibly knows yet, and to know that one day hopefully i'll be the one to put that info out there!! to create and nurture my research and know its my own little baby that I have thought up and designed!
and to write my name into pubmed and it comes up :) as of the last few weeks!! although unfortunately no first author yet but hopefully one day.....!

maybe I should stay in science and lab based work when I think about it like this! Recently i've been so tired and drained all i've seen is the bad! but i'm still going every day and love sitting at the bench and seeing new exciting things, so maybe i do still have the passion i was beginning to think i'd lost!

Thank you Sue for this post and making me think about the love not the hate!


i'm losing the will....

Thanks AberdeenAngus! It really is true, even though nothing has really changed coming on here actually helps! I have read posts on here before but never actually put one up myself, and it does make a difference, just to have some new points of view and support!
A postgrad support group is a great idea, we dont have one, but if I get kept on for a postdoc i might see if I can get one set up, I think it would probably go down really well!!
Cheers KT

i'm losing the will....

Hi Floral, I'm sorry to hear you're struggling too! Supervisors sometimes seem to have a problem with being encouraging rather than discouraging! I think sometimes they think it should push you but in reality it just makes it ten times harder. Also I find in science alot of superiors have a problem with actually just saying well done occasionally, and in an area of work where 90% of the time things go wrong and its a matter of perseverance it should be the other way around!

Have you had a holiday recently? I know it can be really difficult to detach and take some time out, and often there's a stigma that phD students should work their noses to the bone and not take time off. If its been a while and you're feeling lost and demotivated, take a week off and put all your work away so you cant see it and find activities that let your mind rest from it!!

I know how it feels to be completely alone in the lab, it can make it very difficult to stay motivated and keep going, and also for support when you need it over experiments etc. unfortunately I don't think i have any words of wisdom over this except if you're at the half way point and still love your research (even if not running to plan), then keep going you will get your rewards!
My schedule has never run to plan, I still haven't taken them all down however things I started in May/June should have started in February and right now i should be writing, but I still have two months (probably more) of lab work to do! This is just science, and especially when there is little support, but you will get there. Just remember that the achievement of doing this by yourself without the support is much greater than completing the phD in a lab with constant help and support, it will make you a more independant researcher in the end.

Have you tried speaking to your supervisor about how you feel? sometimes they seem totally unapproachable. However about a year ago I felt completely depressed and I actually went and spoke to my boss and he was very understanding, told me that he'd struggled sometimes too and he gave me a week off to take my mind off things! however funny they can be, they have been were you are now and probably will be more sympathetic than you think. And at least then he will know how you're feeling, if you don't tell them they don't know any different!

Take care and I hope you feel better soon, venting on here is also good!! :)


i'm losing the will....

Thanks SarahK, Congratulations on almost making the final hurdle, i'm sure you'll get there soon and what an achievement! Especially while doing teaching at the same time!
I am really looking forward to the holiday, but alot to do before I go! I just feel so tired at the moment, i'm not sleeping, although i've always been abit of an insomniac, its just extra hard to deal with when I need to be on the ball every minute of the day to get anywhere! I have actually written quite abit in retrospect (when I look at some other students in our division), not major results and discussion, but the litreview is almost there and intros started with 80% of the materials and methods, so it could be alot worse I guess! Its really weird but when people ask me i'm like, yeah I can see the end now so just the final hurdle, but even though I see it, it feels like a mountain i'm never going to reach the top of, even tho its so close, I cant ever imagine finishing! But I will, just gotta take each day at a time and try not to stress about it cos its not doing my health any good!
Anyway, i'm rambling again :), Thank you for all your support and listening and encouraging me, its a big help!
Good luck with your last steps, time to chill out and enjoy soon!

i'm losing the will....

======= Date Modified 06 Jul 2009 15:02:00 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============
Hi Florence and TennieV, thank you both for your kind replies and support! I think the main thing I needed was just to get how I was feeling out (to people other than the usual who are bored of hearing it!! :) ). TennieV - you hit the nail on the head with the perfection thing - i'm have always been a complete perfectionist, and this phD is a big turning point in my life for this personal characteristic, i'm really learning that sometimes I have to just say enough is enough!
Thanks for your suggestions Florence, I think what sometimes scares me is that I do have lists and plans, but non of them have really stuck to target and thats really soul destroying, but maybe I should take them all off the walls and write new and encouraging ones - I had thought having them around would push me to work harder and get everything done, but I think it actually does the opposite!
I have actually just completed a tutor training course and am hoping to get on a grad school next year! i have spent the last year doing extra things such as vitae and public outreach and hope to get into a more communication or lecturer role like I mentioned, and therefore like you say, I just need to get a the phD, not write a mind blowing piece of work!

Its also finding the motivation at this point! Its very annoying as in all past endeavors I see the end line and speed up my pace, and you'd think for something like a phD i'd be working hard for the end, (especially wtih the end of my money approaching), however like i said I just dont want to anymore, I just want to stay home and do nothing, but then if I do i end up feeling guilty so I come into work and plod along getting some stuff done, but not as much as I could!!
I think I also need a holiday, it would probably do me the world of good! Luckily we're going away at beginning of August for week or so, so just need to concentrate on getting some work finished before then and I can relax and enjoy it!!
:-) So hopefully that will give me the energy to hit the finish line!!

Thank you again for taking the time to reply,

i'm losing the will....

Hi there everyone,
I think I need a bit of advice! I'm in my final year of PhD land, with 3 months of money left, i'm still running experiments in the lab and am really struggling to try and write up something at the same time! (and still have no papers out on my actual research as nothing is quite completed - I feel like i am really bad at the bench!!!)

The lab I work in is where I carried out my honours project, and I really like my supervisor and his wife (not as my boss's so much but socially they are fine!). The lab used to be pretty big, but when I came back afew years later after some time out there was really only me! So throughout my PhD i've had no post-docs ortech support in my area and have just muddled through with all the experiments kind of self teaching! Also, because its just me, and i have a seriously problem saying NO to stuff i've ended up doing so much other things as part of other smaller studies and I feel like my own project has suffered quite a bit for that! (we had a grant for my project to take on and do loads more stuff with post-docs etc, and my bosses have basically managed to get most of it done just by me! i'm shattered!!!!). I feel like because there's so much quantity of little things, the quality of the main stuff has suffered and I dont feel confident about my work, the results or anything! Like I said I really feel like I am not good at bench science, and I don't trust results or anything I do anymore. I have lost all confidence and basically just want to stay home all day and stare at the wall!
Anyway, i'm blabbering abit now sorry! My point is, this whole experience has really put me off working in science for the rest of my life. I know other labs may be different with more people, more money etc, however when I look at senior academics who spend long hours/weekends doing work and never getting any decent breaks I really dont think i want that for my life! I have recently applied for a job as a part time lecturer at a college, and my experience throughout my phD stands me in good stead (i'll let you know if i get an interview). Really though I dont know what I want to do anymore, but I really feel I can't quit at this late stage, and so many people are looking up to me to get the work finished, write a good dissertation (and family to be Dr!!! ). My partner asked me seriously the other night if i wanted to quit and really I do, but its just too late, I should have done it in first year.
Also, If i get my PhD and then decide to leave academia then my chances of getting a job are slim as i'll be TOO experienced for stuff, is that really the case, as I really see my future as a less stressful job with better hours and plenty of time for family and asocial life.
Apologies for the long post, I think I could go on forever I just have so much on my chest, and my partner is fed up of hearing about it!
Any advice or just support would be really appreciated,
Cheers, KT