Signup date: 23 Sep 2010 at 9:04am
Last login: 12 Jan 2016 at 8:56am
Post count: 92
I think it is your work and you should tell your supervisor that you are only after her input on the strengths, weaknesses and relevance of your argument and not your writing style. Surely it is way past her remit to actually edit your work.
At the beginning of my PhD I had to make this clear to my own overzealous supervisor and we came to a four year long unspoken compromise. She continued to put editorial comments on my work and I continued to completely ignore them. In fact just to piss her off I have just made my final submission with fully americanized spellings (americanized spellings being the thing that drives her crazy). So yes I think you should remove her work and stand up for yourself.
I had my viva a couple of weeks ago. It was 8 weeks beween my submission and my viva and I did absolutely nothing to do with philosophy in this time except read my thesis each Sunday afternoon. If I did try to do any work - and this only lasted a few days in the first week after submission - or even read any texts that were remotely theoretical I just got really angsty and began to obsess over my thesis; how much I hated it, how it made me cringe, how it was horribly amateur etc. Anyway I passed the viva and only had to fix a few typos. In fact, I really enjoyed the 2nd half of the viva once it became obvious that I had passed and that these examiners were in fact trying to give me advice on possible publication houses, new directions for research etc. My point being do whatever you can to get through this horrible period of time - I hated this viva-anticipation period more than any other part of the whole experience - so that on the day you stand in front of the examiners you feel the best about yourself and your argument that you possibly can.
I submitted the hard copies of my thesis last week so it is all over now. My one goal for today is to decide what to do next. Actually this has been the only goal I've had each day for the last 6 days. On at least one of these days attention to this goal detracted from my secondary goal of getting out of bed. I am pretty sure that I am going to go back to being a carpenter; albeit a carpenter who knows quite a bit about philosophy.
Know what you mean. I got the PhD last week and all I got from friends and family after 4 years of horror and constant near-breakdown was 'we new you would breeze through', 'why did you make such a fuss etc.'. It really took the shine off things. i wanted to collapse on someone and bitch about it.
I felt exactly like you did in my first year - in fact for a bit longer than that - but I passed my viva last week so although it seems impossible now and there is a lot to endure ahead it is not an impossible dream. In response to your 4 points above...
1. Don't worry to much about the fact that it takes you hours to understand everything. My area is post-structuralist philosophy and I had - and still have - the same problem as you even when reading it in in English which is my native tongue.
2. I also forget stuff really easily; someone asked me the colour of my front door yesterday and I couldn't tell them and I have lived here for 5 years. To combat this as an undergraduate I started making heaps of notes which I call chapter cards. Basically each chapter/paper that I read that I thought was important I wrote up on an index card; sometimes making one of these cards takes me all day. By the time i had finished my PhD I had over 550 of these cards.
3. Don't know what to say about the fact that you find reading these papers boring. This seems to me to be the bit that you should be the most concerned about. I hope that you find your own research interesting.
4. I know exactly what you mean about these confident people who always seem so on top of things and have no problems with motivation. If it is any help to you I have been the recipient of 4 scholarships - the last of which brought me and my family to the other side of the world and paid our food and board for 5 years - and have just passed the viva with no problems and I am the laziest most unorganised and contrary student you could ever meet; never met a deadline, never kissed up to lecturers/supervisors, ignored the conventions for writing a thesis (eg. no literature review), the point being diligence and confidence does not necessarily equate with success.
I posted this somewhere else last week and am not necessarily recommending it just letting others know what worked for me.
My viva was scheduled for 8 weeks after my submission (this was last Monday). I took 3 weeks off after submission and then started studying. I stopped on the afternoon of my 2nd day with the recognition that I was just making myself extremely nervous and paranoid by finding typos etc. I, perhaps foolishly, said to myself that 'currently there is only a handful of people around who are as well read on this stuff as me; ergo I will not study'. I did make a ritual of reading my thesis from cover to cover each Sunday for 5 weeks to keep it in mind (although I didn't do this the Sunday before the viva as each time it took me several days to calm down and stop cringing at how much I hated my own work).
I went to the viva relaxed and passed with only a few typos to fix and was told 'not to spend more than a few hours on them'.
I hope this hasn't come across as boasting I am just trying to show that for some people - like me - panicing over the viva might make things worse. After all, it is almost certainly the case that your examiners - with all the marking, lecturing and admin that they have to do - will not have as tight a handle on the current state of your discipline as you do; nor will they understand your argument as thoroughly as you do yourself.
The only piece of the endless advice that I got from others before my viva that came in handy was that in the course of defending your thesis that you should be confident enough in your overall argument to not be afraid to concede small points. I my own case I admitted to one small problem that I had not really anticipated as well as agreeing that one of the examples I used to illustrate my argument had a few problems.
On whether or not I have to correct the typos they told me two things. First not to spend more than a few hours on any corrections and second that they would not need to see the thesis again; well they actually said to email the final document to them but that they trusted me to make the corrections and they would not be opeining it. So I suppose I could get away with not doing any corrections but I wouldn't risk that. I will do whatever they put on their list of edits even if it takes a week.
On the guy coming in from Spain; I just asked my university if they could get him (I didn't know where he lived I had just read his books) and they arranged it. My thesis has a large component of very abstract theoretical philosophy which deals with the epistemological ramifications of solving a traditional philosophical paradox; I wouldn't say it is impossibly hard but thinking about paradoxes takes a certain type of brain; most days I wake up and I cannot understand my own argument for an hour or so. So I guess that it is because of this that they got this other philosopher in. To be honest I didn't know that this was not usual; maybe my department were worried that someone else might just not get it and they wanted to help me out.
I am not recommending this just being honest.
My viva was scheduled for 8 weeks after my submission (this was last Monday). I took 3 weeks off after submission and then started studying. I stopped on the afternoon of my 2nd day with the recognition that I was just making myself extremely nervous and paranoid by finding typos etc. I, perhaps foolishly, said to myself that 'currently there is only a handful of people around who are as well read on this stuff as me; ergo I will not study'. I onfess that I did make a ritual of reading my thesis from cover to cover each Sunday for 5 weeks to keep it in mind (although I didn't do this the Sunday before the viva as each time it took me several days to calm down and stop cringing at how much I hated my own work).
I went to the viva relaxed and passed with no revisions. I got a few pages of typos and was told 'not to spend more than 24 hours on them'.
I will spend next Tuesday fixing the typos before sending a pdf to the binders. I am not trying to boast or anything just saying that for some people - like me - panicing over the viva might make things worse. I should probably add that I am 40 years old and was perhaps not as intimidated by my supervisors as someone younger may have been.
I had my viva on Monday and passed with no revisions. I found probably 60 typos in my 290 page theoretical PhD during my preparation for the viva and the two external examiners reckon they found about 80 all up; although I haven't yet recieved a catalog of these back yet. I also had a couple of sections that I think were not written well but this never came up on the viva.
Although my viva was pretty tough when it was over the externals both invited me to the pub. I really didn't want to go - I wanted to go and tell my freinds and run around in circles beacuse I'd passed - but I felt I should go with them because one had come from the other end of the country and the other had been flown in from Spain for the day. Anyway, at the pub they told me that as long as everything makes sense, is original and is argued for logically and strenuously then examiners are generally happy and will not sweat the small stuff. They then proceeded to compliment me on my argument while teasing me for being such a bad speller. So don't worry about typos just worry about defending your argument.
Good luck at the viva
Don't know about male tenacity but one thing helped. This was that I had done well on my masters degree in 2004 - this had a course work component as well as a written thesis - and sometimes when my confidence was rock bottom I thought to myself 'I did well then I can do well again'. Sometimes this didn't work and I just sat there crying for days on end in front of a blank screen. It was hard. But I did get the degree and I am now a very qualified shepherd.
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