Signup date: 25 Jan 2008 at 11:11am
Last login: 11 Aug 2010 at 11:56am
Post count: 230
I myself have to fight low self-confidence every day. I went through a really bad patch a few months ago. I just couldn't concentrate on anything. I would find myself reading something, and then realise that I hadn't taken anything in, and was just looking at the pages, everything in a blur. I was overwhelmed by the theory I was reading, and just couldn't get my head around it at all. Also, I was thinking 'I'm never going to be able to produce anything like this!' I got scared, because I thought that I just wouldn't be able to do it. Then, after speaking to others about this, I found out that alot of us are baffled by some of the criticism we read, and I wasn't alone in feeling confused and not being able to process it.
spacey, I just wanted to let you know that I was talking to a couple of third year PhD students yesterday, and both of them expressed the same feelings you're having. One of them told me that he still hasn't presented at a conference because of his fear of presenting his work to an audience, and the other one experienced a 6 month freeze, where he couldn't do anything because he was feeling such low confidence. It just shows you that most of us go through this, and just battle through it somehow. I just wanted to reassure you that you're not alone, and that many of those around you will be going through something similiar, even if they don't express it to others.
My sleep is so disturbed! I haven't had a decent night's sleep in over a month. I would give anything to have a night where I slept right through. Instead, I go in and out of sleep and wake up feeling lousy. I think insomnia is probably one of the biggest ailments suffered by PhD students. In the past couple of weeks, nearly ever single dream has involved being chased, and trying to run away, but I have no energy whatsoever, and my limbs feel like jelly!
I have difficulty concentrating. I know that sounds strange coming from a PhD student, but I really can't read for longer than 2 hours at a time. I would say my max is 4 hours a day. At one point, I was worrying that I'm not doing enough, but to be honest, I really don't think there's any way to measure how much you've progressed until you start writing. No matter how much you read, you're most likely to be focusing upon a particular set of texts when you write, so it can be a case of reading less but reading the right stuff, rather than reading heaps of material.
When are you upgrading? How long is your upgrade piece expected to be? I don't think there's any set place that you should be at, because everyone works at a different pace. However, now would be the time that you would be working towards refining your project title and really narrowing it down finely. I would definitely be approaching all materials with a critical eye, and determining which are most appropriate to support your argument.
I wish I had a circle of PhD students as friends, but it seems like the cliques were formed early on in the year and there's no way in. I'm not really bothered, because I don't like group mentalities anyway, but it seems like it would lighten the monotony. I have a few acquaintances at the uni, but I only see them once a month or so.
I totally understand. I too have had a non-existent social life. I haven't found anyone in my department that I gel with, and it really gets me down some days. I wish I could find someone that I really related to, someone who shared similiar interests, thoughts and feelings. That person hasn't appeared yet! It can be quite disheartening when you look around and see other students hanging out and having a laugh. I sometimes think that if I had a few close PhD friends, my troubles wouldn't feel so heavy. You're not alone in feeling alone!
spacey, I've had these feelings too, and can completely understand where you're coming from. I tend to sway back and forth, between feeling proud of how far I've come (to actually just be doing a PhD) and feeling terrified ("Can I really do this?!"). I think we're going to inevitably swing between good days and bad days. What I would suggest regarding your doubts about whether or not you're actually up to it, is to just go with it for now and see what happens. If you do reach a point where you really can't go on any more, you can deal with it then.
Thanks so much for all your advice everyone! I'm so scared of the idea of presenting and have been thinking (as you said Krashty) that I should just jump in. That's the only way isn't it? If I start thinking about it too much, then I'll find all sorts of reasons to not submit an abstract. Can I ask one more thing? Would you write your conference paper in the same way as you would a normal piece you were working on? Or do you write with the audience in mind? I hope this doesn't sound like a ridiculous question! It's just that having never been to a conference, I don't know what the standard is. I'm going to look for examples of conference papers now and hope I can find something. Thanks again!
I tend to cook things in bulk and keep it in the fridge, so whenever I get hungry I can just tuck in. Having said that, I also contribute much of my weight gain to doing this--even though I've been cooking pretty healthy stuff, I end up eating too much!!! My diet tends to fluctuate. I'll have three or four days of eating rubbish, realise that I'm doing it, and then have a few days of eating really healthy. If I'm really stressed (brought on by writing!!!) I'll 'comfort eat' crisps, ice cream, etc.
Cheers olivia! Yeah, I'm thinking it may be disastrous if I sign up to present without even having been to one! I haven't a clue as to: how long your paper should be, what style is used in writing conference papers, how to present, etc. I now wish that I had attended a conference during my MA--then I wouldn't be so terrified! From your experience olivia, is it more terrifying leading up to your presentation, and then when you're doing it you're ok?
Hi everyone! I'm thinking of presenting at a conference over the summer, but I've never been to one so I have no idea what is expected! I want to talk to my sup about it, but he is so busy right now. Any suggestions? I was thinking of just attending one without presenting in order to get a feel of what it's all about. What do you think?
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