Overview of Alpacalover

Recent Posts

6 mths to go - count down's on!!

Oh Sue, I'm so sorry, that is awful. Have you told your supervisor, maybe you could get extension so you can get home to be with him? Thinking of you and if you want to chat then you know where I am, or just PM me.

Big massive hugs, and take care of yourself, sleep is very important, and your health and wellbeing matters more than the thesis so just do what you can.

AL xxx

6 mths to go - count down's on!!

Hi all,

Monty, good to hear from you, and so pleased for you for getting submitted as planned and getting away and then starting job. The hell of getting it all done must have been well worth it. I hope the job is going well and you are enjoying it?

Sue, Congratulations on the grant money, that is brilliant, well done you! How has this week gone, is this you coming up for 3 weeks to submission. Just make sure you get your breaks and sleep too! hows dear dog doing?

hope you're alright too AQ?

I know officially now i'm kinda done, but it doesn't feel real, so if it's OK I might stick around on this thread while I do my corrections, and also just to be there to the end with you all too. You're my PhD finishing buddies, and I really want to stay and support you all through your last parts too, as you have with me.

I've been given a month to do corrections, but plan on getting them done in the next week or so. Had planned on doing it today and tomorrow but full of cold, and just want to chill out, so we'll see. I have a list of typos that I found and want to correct, and also then afew errors that the examiners found, some will take longer than others, couple are only typos too. I'm hoping it won't take too long, but I'm not gonna push myself to do it this weekend!!

Anyway, thinking of you all, hope you're doing ok. AL x

I passed!!!

Hi Emmaki, no worries and thank you!

two days ago now and it still feels no where near real. AL

I passed!!!


but I also put post-its in areas which I wasn't confident about, or knew that I didnt know it VERY well, and put key points down on the post-it. for example, I had found a mistake in one paper, that on reading it over and over before submission had never thought to check, but when I went to it wanting to understand the scientific mechanisms better I realised that the info in the paper I quoted was wrong, so I wrote down the actual thing on teh post-it! This came up, and I was so relieved when he told me page number and I went to it and it was there waiting with all the info on - I would never have remembered this information otherwise!

I found that having extra kind of mini-revision notes on the pages made me feel more at ease that if they asked me something on teh topic I had some extra info to work with. And this came in handy more than once!

I did also have answers for the broad key questions, as per Bilbo's advice and Tinklers. This came in handy just because it helped me concentrate my thoughts down. They asked me why I decided on the project, and I was glad I had thought about this in advance - Bilbo, i took your advice and answered it this way, so thank you! The only other broad question they asked was for at each chapter, they asked me to briefly tell them what I did, how I did it, and what was the significance. I had planned to write down a summary of each chapter as preparation, but I never got round to it, maybe I should have, but I think also, I knew it anyway, but might have helped just formulate the wordings etc.

That's it really, if anyone wants to know more then just ask.

Thank you all again, AL

I passed!!!

Hey everyone, thank you for your well wishes, and thank you for the last year or so of support you've all given me.

I don't really feel today like it is all real, very tired, couldn't sleep last night, had the whole thing just running through my head, corrections to make etc! We didn't stay out too late last night, after afew drinks I was totally shattered, so just came home!

My pre viva talk was at 1pm, so arrived at place for 11.30, saw supervisor and met my examiner who was very nice, went and checked computer and projector were all set up and ready to go and then went to TRY and eat lunch, very unsuccessfully!

Talk went OK, got quite a few questions, mostly ok, but a couple I just couldn't answer, however, most annoyingly and just to put the final icing on how much I hate my sup - he asked me a really horrid question! I couldn't answer it very well, and worst of all, I was speaking to him the other week and told him I felt this area was a weak point for me, so in his usual manner, he decided to take that and pick on it!! Anyway, best thing about finishing - I NEVER have to deal with him again!

I then went into viva, convenor went through what everyone's roles were and how they were going to proceed. I knew, although I wasn't meant to, that my internal examiner had other commitments later in afternoon so my exam wasn't going to exceed 2-2.5 hours. This was quite a relief, but also turned it all into pretty intense grilling, and I didn't really get the chance to just discuss the work, tell them all about it, my ideas etc, so I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I could have done if we'd had longer. Maybe that sounds silly, but I was hoping that if they were generally happy with it, and I could relax then we could discuss my work and enjoy - as so many PhD students have told me about theirs.

Anyway, due to time constraints, it was more, lets go from start to finish and you can tell me all the things we have discrepancies over, so basically - these are your mistakes, see if you can get yourself out of it. They were nice, and it wasn't like I was defending the whole thing, they told me clearly from start that they liked the thesis, enjoyed reading it, and saw there was a lot of data in it. I just felt there was no time to discuss the best and exciting parts, we just concentrated on the stuff I got wrong, or didn't explain clearly etc! :( It lasted around 1 and 3/4 hours, which I think is pretty fast, but this was obviously due to internal needing to get away. They sent me out of room to discuss and i swear it was the longest 5 minutes of my life, i'm not even sure whether it was more like 10-15 min!!

They then brought me back in, all stood up, said, congratulations you've passed, and shook my hand (it really did feel like they stood up for me as I came in, and that was it, I was 'allowed' to join they're academic group)! or cool enough to join they're gang as my partner just put it - haha, I had to stop myself from bursting out laughing! :p

But, that was it, and by the time I got home the convenor had sent me the corrections, which are basically what they went over in exam!!

It all feels pretty weird, but I think until I've done the corrections it is not going to feel complete and over and I won't be able to relax properly. So I might actually do them tomorrow and get them out of the way, they should take me an afternoon and then that will be it done!

So that's my viva story! In general, I agree it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, i'm just glad it is over.

Preparations wise, I'm so glad I read some papers, especially surrounding my externals work as he brought a couple things up that I could better answer having done this. I also had gone through thesis and not only listed my typos (which they didn't talk about, but I'm going to correct anyway), but I also

I passed!!!

Passed the viva today, just got a few minor corrections, but it all went pretty well!

Had a few champagnes and pretty tipsy, just off out for dinner with friends. will add to this thread later letting you all know more details about actual viva, but i'm done...!

Final countdown - 37 hours to viva!

thanks everyone! not long to go now, down to the final hours!

Partner took me out last night for dinner and the cinema, was great just to get out of the house and have a laugh!

Can't believe it is today, think part of me is in shock or denial! Hopefully have a new thread tomorrow with some good news and let you all know what it was like!

time for coffee and try to chill out. AL

Final countdown - 37 hours to viva!

Thanks WanderingSage, heehee, I like your thinking! I did actually think about a mirror last night, but managed to make it to bed before I fell asleep!

Having pretty slow day due to late night last night :( but just having lunch and reading last two papers - one to go! and had a long shower thinking about questions and possible answers and the 'broader picture' - which i'm really struggling with! my area and specific topic, along with my actual research make this quite difficult, but I just need to take the step back and think outside the box!

But, i've sorted myself out, got my outfit all ready and laid out, going to straighten my hair tonight - takes a while ;), I figure I feel good and look good then that makes a difference to my confidence too.

I'm going to finish this last paper, practice my talk one last time, write some answers to my broad questions and have a wee practice while i'm in the house alone! and then its time to try and chill!

I woke up today with my tummy and guts doing back flips, but for those who were with me the other week when I had a health scare, my latest blood results have come back ok so that's one less thing to worry about - Thank you to those who were there for me and kept me calm!

right, one last paper....! and some red bull and nicotine gum!

Final countdown - 37 hours to viva!

Thank you Satchi and Bleebles! I hope i am as prepared as you say! I've just read 3 of the key papers and am off to bed before I fall asleep on them - although maybe I would just soak up the information...? Maybe not a good idea though, waking up with ink on my face ;) I might turn up to viva looking a total state! haha!


Final countdown - 37 hours to viva!

======= Date Modified 29 13 2010 02:13:23 =======
======= Date Modified 29 22 2010 00:22:04 =======

I can't believe this time has come! All the time i've been a member of the PGF i've seen these threads go up and thought i'd never get there - but I have, and the fear has set in, i've realised it's really happening and I feel there is so much I should have done! I'm sat here surrounded by papers, coffee and feeling sick, but I know I should go and rest and chill out like everyone keeps telling me!

So what have I done for prep (I need some accountability for next 16ish hours!):
Read thesis, DONE
List of typos - DONE (45 in 260 pages) :(
Seminar talk - DONE and practiced a few times, couple more required tomorrow
marked off parts of thesis with post-its for chapters and key areas - DONE
read through newly published papers and some I recently found - DONE
reread other key papers - DONE
key broad questions about thesis - started...

Still to do:
Finish answering broad questions and practicing how to deliver these answers
read back over 5 key papers relating to my research -EDIT - Now read 4 of the 5 :) and time for bed!

Anyone got any more ideas of things I should do tomorrow to prepare myself? I feel completely under prepared and that i'm going to fall flat on my face when I get in there. But also trying to tell myself positive thoughts to get through this, as I know going in confident of myself and the work i've done will make a difference.

Anyway, probably time to go to bed so I can get up early tomorrow and get these things done and then try and relax in the evening! I just can't actually believe this is happening, it feels like its not real and that I don't deserve to be here!

How can you bear to read your thesis?

Hi Claudia, i've been in same kind of position, my viva is on Thursday!! I only submitted a month ago and promised I would have one week off and get stuck back in, but in reality its only been this last week or so that i've done ANYTHING!!

I, like you, did not ever want to pick it up again, I think we all feel like that. You feel this massive relief on submission that you've done it, and then you're faced with another mountain to climb! for me, i've felt like this whole 4 years has been one hike around the mountains, getting to the top of one and then being faced with another, unable to free wheel it back to the bottom!! :) submission should be that last bit, but its not, you get a longer break and then have to climb again! That's how I see it for me anyway...

But, I guess I've just had to talk myself into fact that this will (hopefully) be it this time!

I started slowly, listed what I wanted to definitely do as preparation. And before I really started properly reading through the thesis again, I just got some of those thin post-its and marked off each chapter, and key figures/tables/points of interest in the thesis. This helped me to just refamiliarise myself with it, it wasn't a massive daunting task, but helped me just to pick it up again and not feel so scared of it.

Maybe that would help just to do a little task like that first, and then slowly build up to reading it. Maybe just say, right today I will go through the list of contents etc and check for any typos, then do references/appendices, and work it up from there?

Good luck and let us know how you get on. Don't worry you still have time!


I didn't get the job - WAAH!!!!

======= Date Modified 28 Sep 2010 10:30:42 =======
Hi Sue,

Big massive hugs and love coming over the oceans to you (might take a wee while!) >>>

I am so sorry, but please don't be disheartened, look at all the experience you have
"5 publications, presented at 12 conferences, have won academic awards, am a subject matter expert in their area" I wish I had anywhere near that experience!! I think alot of employers want to see the PhD finished, so i'm sure once you are Dr Sue, there will be no stopping you!

Its horrid, as I know as you say not many jobs come up in this area, but maybe once you're done you could start looking abit further afield?

Also, I know when you went for interview,although you thought it didn't go well, you said that returning to your home city wasn't so great, and reminded you of some of reasons you left, and your partner was not keen on going there either. I know its heart breaking, but maybe it wasn't for you, and something better will come along that is great in every aspect. Just hold on to these positive thoughts to get you through the final 4 weeks to submission, and then you can start thinking about jobs again. I guess in this economic climate at least having a job (even that you don't like), is something to be thankful for! I know I sometimes get so fed up of my job (even though I chose to leave academia for it), and despise having worked so hard for 4 years for a wage that equals my phd bursary!
But then I know some friends who don't have a job at all and can't find anything, and I should be thankful that I have something.

I know none of that will make you feel better, and I'm so sorry you're so upset, but just think of all the things you thought about when you came back from interview. Something better that you deserve even more WILL come along, just hold tight and get through to submission.

a couple more big hugs....AL xx

6 mths to go - count down's on!!

Hi Sue,
That's brill, well done on getting so much done in your week off. I'm sure you will get it all done by Friday, and then 5 weeks eh! I'm sure it will come together, so just you start looking forward to the end point!

I was just the same, didn't book any holidays until 2 weeks ago when I knew my viva was confirmed. I actually just booked flights today, just for along weekend down to south of England to visit my best friend. She had a baby in the summer and I am so excited about meeting my new niece! :) I haven't booked a proper long holiday away as partner is now back to masters until next summer so we're going to wait til then. But I have two long weekends at end of October, and then a longer break around Christmas - which for the first time in what seems like forever won't be a rushed xmas dinner and boxing day surrounded by studying! :) Hopefully....!

I'll keep you posted this week i'm sure, although if you don't hear from me I'll be in a stressed bubble of 'pretending its not happening'! :) But I will post up a thread on Friday once I recover from the inevitable hangover letting you all know how I got on!

Thinking of you, have a good week! AL x

6 mths to go - count down's on!!

Hi Sue, and everyone!

I'm so sorry about your dear dog, that is awful. But she has been there with you all this time, supporting you and getting you out the house for walks in the fresh air. It is terrible to think that she might not be there at the end to see you finished, and have you all to herself again. But I guess its not the finishing post but the journey that matters. I'm sending big hugs for you!

Thanks for advice Sue, I will try my best to 'own the space', I do like that too! :) Not sure its something i'll be good at though, i'm not really an 'owning the space' kind of person, but i'm trying to get my confidence up!

I have now finished the talk and practiced it afew times, gonna just do it every day once or twice and practice it again in front of partner on Wednesday. Sup had a look at it, and not sure he was too impressed, but really, the presentation is just a taster of the thesis, and the actual slides aren't what matters, its how I present it. I spend my life presenting things to people, so hopefully I will be ok with this.

I also finished going through thesis today, have found 44 errors in 260 pages, and majority unfortunately are stupid mistakes in reference to sections I changed in introduction and chapter 2 :( !

I have also, as I've gone through, investigated a few things and made notes on things I'd like to further investigate or discuss iwth them on the day, and I have Tuesday and Wednesday to do this. And also found afew new papers that I want to read, and also have 5 key ones for my research that i want to go through again.

I think this is manageable in the two days, and tomorrow evening I plan on writing out my brief answers to main possible questions. Luckily I finish work at 4.30 tomorrow instead of 6, so I can get stuck straight into this! :)

Anyway, i'm off for an early night. Sue, I hope your week of writing goes well, I don't know whether its because normally when working my pace is quite slow, but I find I can get some much done in a week off work. Just get stuck in, do your tomatoes, and take lots of breaks too! I hope you have a day off in there planned to chill with your partner too? If not, you should!

AL x

Why did I do my project?

======= Date Modified 26 06 2010 22:06:54 =======
Ok, so viva is on Thursday, just doing final preparations, but this question concerns me!

I'm expecting them to possibly ask why I chose this project/topic/subject area etc? I guess I did choose it, but actually it was an idea already in the pipeline by my supervisors and they chose me to be their PhD student and apply for a studentship grant with this project. For the lab I worked in, my project was a bit of an aside to their main research area, and if it had been a PhD studying their main areas of intereste I still would have taken it.

I'm sure many students do a project that is already set out for them in someways, although over the 3 years I did take it down my own avenues I suppose. But what are you meant to say to this question in your viva?

Cheers folks! AL