Signup date: 04 Dec 2006 at 9:01pm
Last login: 12 Jun 2009 at 6:38pm
Post count: 321
I just want to add ...
I have known plenty of people who have switched supervisors (and then managed to 'happily' complete their PhD's)!!! And yes, their reasons being they didn't have a good working relationship with their existing supervisor. Obviously, the issue of 'office politics' will be a concern ... but if you cAN find one person to talk to in your department (preferably someone 'senior' who you get on with and who you feel would be understanding/offer you sound advice), then that would be good.
REMEMBER: Your situation isn't all 'doom and gloom' ... you just need to talk to someone about this!
Sorry to read you are having an awful time with your supervisor. Simple advice (and what you probably know already) ...
Talk to someone about this (preferably your head of department/school - or someone 'senior')!!! If your supervisor isn't a very nice person, you can be sure that others will be aware of their ways. Also, it may be possible for the department to allocate you another supervisor - but you won't know unless you ask. You need the support of your supervisor to get through a PhD, and if they aren't helping, than I'd be very concerned about the future implications of this (i.e. will you have a PhD at the end of 3/4 years).
Don't suffer in silence - TALK to someone! No time like the present ...
What you are feeling is (I hope) completely normal ... I'm at a similar stage so understand totally. My approach was to go through and look at how many amendments I needed to make, then set a REALISTIC time frame in which I could get the stuff written (i.e. 2 weeks for chapter X).
I always think of this stage as a marathon (although I've never run one!). You've heard the 'final bell', are totally zapped of energy and think the end is never going to come, but the only thing you can do is to keep pushing on.
It really doesn't matter if you don't hit the April deadline (i.e. if you are one or two months over). It's better to be realistic about how long this is going to take you (i.e. get through this without losing your mind!), and know you are submitting a (semi)decent piece of work (... and if your supervisor is understanding/good, they won't let you submit unless they think it'll do the job!).
My comment was being made slightly 'tongue in cheek' (probably doesn't translate very well via email).
Having said that, I have noticed (in my experience) that the majority of PhD students who attend these things, 'give the talk' but never actually produce any 'solid' work (i.e. get anything written). I'm in the social sciences though, so I'm assuming it's different for 'proper' science based subjects.
What a nightmare situation to be in.
If you supervisor isn't supportive then ... get another supervisor! Your supervisor is supposed to be there to guide you through the PhD (i.e. you are supposed to be banking on their support/knowledge to get you through this process). So I'd be less concerned about 'tidy labs' and more concerned about the future implications this would have on me (i.e. spending 3/4 years of working in a nasty environment, and not having a PhD to show for it at the end of the process).
When you get to PhD level ... I think it's the (academic) reputation of your supervisor that matters far more than the uni.
Also, some uni's might be ranked low overall ... but specific departments within them might be 5*.
Having said all that ... I think it's probably good to get a combination of both - i.e. good supervisor within a good department!
I wrote one chapter (a lit review) within my first 6 months ... because my supervisor told me to do so.
Looking back, I understand why they made me do that. It's about overcoming your 'fears' of putting pen to paper, and - more importantly - committing yourself to the PhD by getting something solid down on paper.
By the way, I'm doing a social science based PhD, so if you are I would suggest ... start writing (even if it's a load of rubbish) sooner rather than later! Your writing style will develop the most you write (I'm now looking back at chapters I wrote early on in my PhD and think there's an enormous difference between them and later chapters ... but if my supervisor thinks they are ok than I'm happy enough to use them).
By this time next week we'll all expect a draft of your thesis then
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