Signup date: 06 Sep 2008 at 1:33pm
Last login: 09 Aug 2010 at 12:30pm
Post count: 214
Keep going. Keep going.You can do it. Sleep is for wimps ;-)
Seriously though, the weight off your mind when you get it sent off will be amazing. Then you can rest a little.
I am on my last legs here. Trying to get the whole document ready for resubmission in four weeks and need about ten weeks. The latest problem is a chapter that has 23,000 words and it should be 15,000. For the life of me I can't see where / how to cut it and my supervisors appear to have dropped off the face of the earth.
======= Date Modified 08 Feb 2010 13:58:08 =======
I find it quite reassuring that there are others that are just as fed up!
I just want the damn thing finished so I can go back to the life I used to have before this malignant burden eroded it. I used to have fun and friends and time for family games of monopoly and could go to the gym. I even used to go on holiday.
======= Date Modified 07 Feb 2010 19:48:14 =======
I am close to re-submission and quite frankly couldn't give a flying f**k about the thing. It seems utterly dull, irrelevant and pointless. I begrudge every second I spend on it and loathe the document from the cover to cover.
I also feel that my life has changed and moved on so much since I started that the potential 'achievement' is null and pointless. I have worked in HEIs in research for over a decade and have been shafted so many times by incompetent, money-grabbing management. I have published and worked on research at an international level. In my most recent job I was unceremoniously made redundant (again HE cost-cutting and the researchers get a kicking) and have vowed not to be seek employment in the sector for a long time, if ever.
So now I am looking in the private sector and really whether or not I have a phd is irrelevant!
The Durham student scene is pretty lively and there always seems to be a lot of socials going on (I haven't gone there but am nearby and have friends who have/do).
In the city there are also quite a few decent pubs and restaurants. Also, you're only minutes away from Newcastle which, if you're in the arts, offers a heck of a lot of potential. And Newcastle is certainly lively. There's also a fair bit of cross-over between Durham Uni and Ncl Uni.
Durham is also in a nice position as you have a really beautiful city, but are only a short distance away from amazing countryside / coast. Further north you have the Northumberland coast which, imo, is one of the country's hidden gems.
Firstly I'd say that you really need to try and get some good sleep. Worry grows exponentially when people are exhausted and making good decisions is very difficult on that basis. Could be worth trying Kalms or Nytol etc, if you haven't already (Kalms daytime are quite good for taking a bit of an edge of the anxiety too).
In terms of your questions I'd say that your contribution is basically the significance of your results (or processes or findings, whichever). It is what your work has brought to the field - have you brought something new / added to a key argument / proved or disproved something. Sometimes your contribution can be quite subtle and it needs to be spelled out. For example, my findings are not really my contribution, my contribution is the dismantling of a concept and proving links between it and a much older concept.
If you don't know the answer to a question then you don't know the answer. Don't try and blag it. Examiners don't expect you to know the answer to every question they ask you.
If you don't get the response that you want your reaction will probably just happen - I ended up sobbing, which was quite embarrassing. If it doesn't go as well as you hoped then try and remain polite, thank them for their time, make sure you understand what it is they're saying in terms of the result- ask them to clarify if you don't.
Try to stop worrying xxx
So, I'm no further forward really - I've spoken to the grad school and they told me to speak to my supervisor not them and gave me a link to a document setting out the appeals procedure:
For appeals against the decisions of the Boards of Examiners (excepting those relating to assessment irregularities).
There are only four possible grounds for appeal.
•You were adversely affected by illness or other relevant factors, of which you were previously unaware, or which for a good cause you were unable to disclose to the examiners in advance.
•Procedural irregularity on the part of the examiners.
•Inadequate assessment by an examiner or examiners.
•Bias or prejudice on the part of an examiner or examiners.
Note: an appeal relates to the decision of the examiners and should not be used to raise general complaints about tuition or support over the length of the programme.
Congrats on the baby.
I'll give you a very brief run-down of my situation as it may help....
I too was fairly confident of a pass with minor amendments, had passed all the annual progress reviews etc without any difficulties. I went into the viva room fairly confident to have my thesis ripped apart by the external examiner. After a very long few hours she told me that they would give me the opportunity to resubmit but then said she'd wanted to fail me outright.
I am a mature student and, although funded, my thesis has cost a lot of time and ££. My family and friends had high expectations of me. I can honestly say that after that viva I was utterly distraught, hurt, angry and so humiliated. I remained like this for some time (and still haven't shaken all of those feelings off). I too seriously considered walking away (and still do on the bad days), but here I am heading for resubmission, with a second viva.
I was given the 12 months and have then applied for, and been granted a further two six month extensions. There was no problem getting extensions, I had never had them during the main four years and the dean of postgrad studies was very supportive. One was on the grounds of some mental health issues I was having and one was simply on the grounds that a) I was too upset to work on the thesis and b) simply had too many other things going on in my work and home life. So, the '12 months' is not necessarily all you will have.
I would echo what Sarah has suggested (she's a wise woman), take some time away from it initially and then you'll be better placed to make a decision.
I am well aware that I could still 'fail', in fact at times I think I probably will. I take the imposition of the second viva in my case to be a bad sign and absolutely dread being back in that room with that 'f***ing b**ch' (excuse the language). But, although I loathe and despise my thesis and see absolutely no relevance in it anymore, I feel for me that it would be a bit more bonkers to pull out now than continue.
The people who love and respect you will continue to do so whether you have a phd or not, you're not a failure - after all you've put yourself through one of the hardest periods of study anyone will ever do, that takes guts. Hang in there and don't make any decisions just yet.
I think that is a very positive message from the examiner. She would not say that if she intended to fail you, I'm sure, as that would be the pinnacle of cruelty. Accept that your thesis isn't perfect, but whose is at this stage? That's why they have various options to provide you time to tweak and alter your work after the viva.
The very best of luck.
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