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bewildered
Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 6:52pm
Monday, 17 September 2018 at 8:13pm
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Thread: How to Keep Sanity intact after being forced to quit first year of PhD

posted
17-Sep-18, 20:30
edited about 19 seconds later
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posted about 5 days ago
First, I think you need to see a doctor about your mental health concerns. You sound very distressed and without much support and that's dangerous. You need some professional support here.

Secondly, I wonder if your desire to be well-known and successful is leading you to being unrealistic about what can be achieved in a PhD time frame. Is your supervisor concerned about the viability of what you are trying to do? And is there any chance that you're trying to do everything so fast that you've taken short cuts that could be seen as misconduct? You wouldn't be the first PhD student to fall into either trap and if your supervisor has been away as you say, I can see how things might have gone awry without any bad intent on your behalf. I hope I'm wrong and this is all down to the supervisor being a deeply unpleasant person as you claim but maybe worth considering.

Thread: Should I quit my masters degree?

posted
17-Sep-18, 20:07
edited about 3 minutes later
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posted about 5 days ago
How much of this is injured pride about the fail? If so, I think you need to avoid shooting yourself in the foot through being too proud. If you don't finish you'll get a PG Diploma for the taught element - employers unfortunately tend to assume that's a failed Masters. And if you don't declare it, you have to lie about a year on your cv. So it might be in your best interests to complete even if you think the dissertation element is going to be hard. And many with undergrad 1sts don't get distinctions at Masters level given some universities are giving 40% 1sts these days - you really won't stand out. You say you don't want to work in the industry which is fair enough but I think you could tell a better story to employers about your resilience and perseverance in completing despite that than looking like someone who gives up when things are hard. And you need to avoid sounding bitter - e.g your last sentence above.

PS Even very good students can sometimes misunderstand what an exam question is looking for... it might be worth considering that possibility. The work as a fail will have already been moderated by a second marker as fails always are and sent to an external examiner - again fails always are picked. If three people agree it's a fail maybe it's time to accept you just got something wrong.

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
15-Aug-18, 20:10
edited about 23 seconds later
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posted about 1 month ago
Quote From bewildered:
I know people who've got a second funded PhD but that was when they had had very significant personal extenuating circumstances that had prevented them completing the first like serious illness. I don't know whether it's viewed differently in better funded subject areas than my own but suspect it might be worth finding out whether your idea is viable.


This is useful to know, and yes, I need to talk to people who sit on panels in my area to hear what they have to say (I know one academic I can ask but she is on holiday at the moment). I think that explaining that there was no intellectual development on my PhD would surely be a good enough explanation, if probed about it. Unsure though.

It feels a bit like a trap![/quote]

Not saying this to be mean, but I think that reason would sound a lot of alarm bells. I would assume that it meant your work wasn't strong enough to pass if I saw it written down. And if I was able to probe in interview, I think my concern would be that you were unrealistic about what a PhD is about and so would be difficult to supervise.

Are you sure this isn't just cold feet at the thought of the viva or applying for postdocs? If that might be the case, you're far from the first to feel that way towards the end. Just wondered if you were in an over-thinking phase and whether a chat with the counselling service might be useful to clarify your ideas a bit before you do anything irrevocable?

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
14-Aug-18, 15:11
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posted about 1 month ago
I agree with what the others have said about the danger of romanticising the PhD experience and also think you should complete. I think my other concern if I were you would be the likelihood of getting funding a second time. I suspect quite a few academics would be concerned not just whether you'd complete the second one given the MPhil but also about whether it's fair to choose you ahead of someone who has not yet had any funding. I know people who've got a second funded PhD but that was when they had had very significant personal extenuating circumstances that had prevented them completing the first like serious illness. I don't know whether it's viewed differently in better funded subject areas than my own but suspect it might be worth finding out whether your idea is viable.

Thread: Abandoned by Mentor

posted
11-Aug-18, 22:33
edited about 4 minutes later
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posted about 1 month ago
What were you intending to do? Are you concerned about the supervision of your thesis or future career plans?
Academics do move jobs (it would be highly unreasonable to expect someone to jettison their career to supervise your MA thesis) so there are probably procedures in your department for the allocation of a new advisor. Is there a director of MA studies or similar who you could ask if this hasn't been made clear to you? Don't worry about the exact expertise match - you don't really need that for an mA thesis - just someone who can keep you on the right lines.

Thread: Abstract guidance needed - urgent!

posted
11-Aug-18, 22:31
edited about 21 seconds later
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posted about 1 month ago
Is that not what they mean by results?

Thread: Mphil scenario

posted
11-Aug-18, 22:29
edited about 1 minute later
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posted about 1 month ago
I think you are perhaps in the despair phase of the PhD and are seeing the worst case scenario as probable rather than the more realistic improbable. Could you take a few days off to regroup?
I agree with Tester - I think you get a very skewed view of PhD outcomes from this forum, as the vast majority who get the 3-6 month corrections outcome don't post, but the less usual awful outcomes are over-represented as understandably those are the people looking for advice. An MPhil outcome post viva is fairly unusual. I only know of one myself - someone who ignored his supervisors and examiners' feedback and didn't make the corrections required. The other MPhils I know about all downgraded after annual reviews - often because of personal circumstances or data collection not working out at all.
I would also write as supportive a reference as I could, but I probably would encourage a capable individual to look outside academia. The reason is that academic jobs not requiring a PhD are often a step down in terms of independence from doing a PhD and/or offer no possibility of career progression. And those jobs are very vulnerable in times of cuts, which atm, with the type of Brexit deal the UK seems to be heading for i.e. not great for science, look ever more likely.

Thread: Politic - Pay scholarship back? Should I?

posted
28-Jul-18, 00:06
edited about 28 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
I think you need legal advice. Does Canada have any free/cheap advice schemes or is legal insurance covered in any insurance policies you have?

Thread: Bullying

posted
27-Jul-18, 03:21
edited about 6 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
So basically you are unwilling to accept any solutions? In that case OIAHE is very unlikely to help. It appears that both your peers and the staff have viewed your complaints as malicious. That is an alarm bell.

Thread: Feedback on Post-Doc applications

posted
23-Jul-18, 13:45
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posted about 2 months ago
Usually if you are invited to interview you hear within 2-3 weeks of the closing date but holidays make this a slow time of year. HR rules may forbid feedback so don't be surprised if people refuse. You can probably get a sense of how strong a candidate you are by comparing your cv with those of recent postdoc hires in your discipline. Alternatively if your supervisors won't look over a sample application, are there other academics you could ask to have a look? Or any specialist advisors in your university careers service?

Thread: The cost of quitting a PhD

posted
23-Jul-18, 13:39
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posted about 2 months ago
How are you framing it in your applications? Could you make it look more like a period as a research assistant rather than an aborted PhD? My sense would be that the less you bring the word PhD up, the less others will. Perhaps go for a skills-based cv rather than an academic achievements based one?

Thread: Long term academia

posted
19-Jul-18, 15:45
edited about 26 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
I suspect it's realistic rather than pessimistic. There's quite a few surveys that suggest PhD students do not have a realistic picture of what the job is like (or the job market), so I think it's a useful set of resources.

Thread: Long term academia

posted
18-Jul-18, 15:02
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 2 months ago
I know from historian colleagues that the market in that subject is very tough so I think you're right to think that stepping straight into a lectureship or a postdoc is the exception not the rule. And many people never get there even if they pick up p/t teaching for years. I think there are several things that might be worth you thinking about.
How geographically mobile are you? The less you can move, the fewer possible institutions you can work for and so the chances of it working out diminish.
How prepared are you to work at institutions very different to the one you are at? For the majority of institutions in this country, teaching and admin form a large part of the day to day role in the humanities, research can get sidelined. And students will be much less well-prepared than you are used to if you have studied at elite institutions.
Being a lecturer is very different from dong a PhD or a postdoc, and for some people the admin side comes as an unpleasant shock. Would you relish running a degree programme or acting as the departmental main point of call for students in difficulties? Or is that wholly unappealing?
Here's a resource that I personally think is very useful on academic careers and whether it's the right choice:

Thread: Conference Comittees

posted
18-Jul-18, 14:47
edited about 3 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
These sorts of activities are useful in terms of socialisation. Once you've got a bit of experience locally, you might want to consider getting involved in the postgraduate / early career network of a professional association in your field. That's the sort of thing that is both useful in network building and getting your name known in your profession, but also sends signals that you're collegiate on your cv, which is definitely a good thing in my experience.

Thread: Long term academia

posted
16-Jul-18, 16:05
edited about 19 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
From your last paragraph, I think you'd hate academia. The actual job is very different to a PhD and if you're entrepreneurial you'd find the admin side frustrating.
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