Signup date: 13 Jan 2009 at 11:20am
Last login: 09 Apr 2009 at 3:10pm
Post count: 18
I'm so sorry to hear about that awful dilemma Pam. I'm inclined to agree that you need to have a big talk with you partner as a priority. You need to feel out how he sees things working when the baby arrives and also be honest with him about how you're feeling, however selfish you might sound. I think it's important that he understands your position and supports you, because if he doesn't and is (understandably) preoccupied with his daughter, you can figure out how important it is that you are living with him right now. I think that with everything you've been through, you can only now save your phD if you either take a break from it OR put it first and get somewhere else to live for the time being. There is only so much outside pressure that you can take on your PhD...sure you feel selfish leaving your partner with rent issues but perhaps you could still try to help him out a little bit and still step out of that situation? I think personally that it's important he understands your position as it says a lot about the relationship ...
I agree with Missspacey. Take my word for it, the job market is HORRENDOUS at the moment and I know this seems like a really bad reason to keep doing a PhD that you're unhappy with but it is so utterly demoralizing looking for a job in this climate that feeling down already will not help. And I have to disagree with Alice's comments. Actually, if this recession is indicating any sort of pattern it is that the people with degrees (especially Master's) are suffering enormously, the big bankers, CEOs, all senior level people are being hit as hard as the low-skilled workers. At the moment you can find work in ASDA, but not a well-paid job requiring a degree, and companies are cutting off the top people in favour of lower paid workers who are, obviously, cheaper. I speak from experience. I just started my PhD last month, after 6 months of job searching after which I was feeling ready to give up and go and buy a camel and become a nomadic goat herder. Think really carefully about what sort of world you'll be entering outside of the ivory tower!
Eek! Yes, I agree with all that has been said previously. If you read all these replies you don't need to hear the gist of the problem again, but I just want to say that I think it's very good that you posted on here because often when you're without objectivity you can't see what this looks like to others. When reading your post my first reaction was pretty shocked, and immediate "no no no no no!" and it seems like that is the case with the others. Take from that the strength of feeling, not against you but about how awful this could turn out for you. You need proper, professional supervision and you have a PhD to focus on! I feel for you and hope that you can extract yourself without too much difficulty.
Hi Leightonjonny! Any link there to Leighton Buzzard ?! Firstly, it's totally standard to bombard your old profs for reference requests - it is indeed a regular activity for university tutors and they expect it. I know how strange it feels having to constantly grovel to them, especially when you were just one in a sea of students, but really it isn't that hard for them. They do tend to have a template which they edit accordingly, and when they have done it once they can just shoot it off to whichever institution you need - the lucky/senior ones sometimes have PAs, especially at the top unis, and they tend to just get them to do this. So don't be put off approaching profs, even if they didn't know you well. For my Master's I remember one of my references was a guy who only taught me one class/seminar. In my approach email I said, "you probably won't remember me but...." and supplied a whole bunch of info of the units I took/grades/stuff I did at the uni etc to jog his memory - which is always a good idea - though in his reply he said "I do of course remember you.." as if it was foolish to think he wouldn't. It gets even weirder when you are applying for PhDs more years down the line, knocking on their doors once again!
Regards the second query - yes it's fine to apply to a few uni's. It is much more like undergrad in that sense. Just one point though, in your app you should still show why you are choosing each uni/course in particular and just be aware some might ask what other unis you have applied to. Hope that helps!
It is expected that you'll enquire about several programmes, even at the same uni, because it's just commonsense that you need to find the best programme for you. This should involve talking to all of the supervisors of the respective programmes, and don't be concerned about mentioning that you're also talking to their colleagues. At the same uni they won't worry about that. When it comes to applying, though, the idea is that from your enquiries you have deduced the best programme and will only apply to that. I was always told that it doesn't look good applying to two PhDs at the same university. You need to show that you've committed to one or the other and stick to that - it's all part of showing that you're ready for the PhD.
Hope that helps!
Couldn't agree more A116. It is entirely about priorities and sacrifices will always have to be made if you are two ambitious people who want both a relationship and a career. My boyfriend and I have faced these issues since the beginning of our relationship, except a lot worse because we're from countries worlds apart. For the most part a transnational relationship is all about the stresses of visas and immigration regulations; in addition of course to the fact that we cannot be a couple together and each live in our own homeland! Now, he has made the sacrifice to live with me here in the UK while I study (thankfully managing to secure a great job and therefore work permit)...afterwards we will doubtless be moving back to his country for him to pursue his plans. The least stressful option with these situations seems to be to recognize that plans will always change whether you want them to or not. "Go with the flow" (ugh, ouch!).
Thanks everyone for your really helpful replies. My boyfriend and I have been living together for a year and been together a lot longer so I think that we'll be fine, he is instinctively very clued up on what a PhD involves - ie not under illusions about how tough it is and not one of these people who thinks PhD=genius! Hypothesis, you're totally right that I probably don't know in detail what my friends do either - I guess my concerns there are that although not necessarily consciously, they'll treat me differently and Smilodon hits the nail on the head - that they see it as a personal insult to their intelligence in a weird way. Case in point - my cousin ever since I announced to a stunned (and entirely un-academic family) that I'm doing a PhD has started talking about his IQ etc and generally been really passive aggressive. BUT that reflects more on his insecurities than on what I'm doing, and my closest friends are so far nothing but excited for me. As for the family - Megara I think that's a really good bit of advice to keep passionately tell them how great it is etc until it sticks...actually feel like they're realising it's a reality and so it's sinking in. They're asking much more practical questions now as opposed to a few months ago when they varied between ignoring the subject altogether like it was an elephant in the room, making me feel like I had told them I have Aids or something, and asking really vague things like "what would you do afterwards" (emphasis on "would") when I'd already been accepted! Funny. Anyway, I'm jumping into the boat and sailing off with all of them with me whether they like it or not! :-)
Thanks for the kind replies. Wookie, congratulations! And A116 I think you're right, it is a case of growing together and I can see that structure can really help with it. Also I can imagine that being in different situations might actually help rather than hinder. If we were both doing PhDs I can see the possibility of mad implosion at weekends, whereas with the different job etc there's at least a refreshing new focus to moan about! Thanks guys - go forth and conquer!
Hi all, what a great forum this is and very reassuring for those in the thick of it. I'm just about to start my PhD (next month) - straight into the fire judging by the various posts on here. I'm just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on how relationships fare during the 3/+ years. Specifically, with you doing a PhD and your partner not? My boyfriend is very supportive and strongly encouraging my PhD but has a full time very high powered career-type job and already doesn't understand a word of my subject, let alone how it will be down the line! Anyone have any tips on how to navigate the murky waters of the PhD while maintaining a relationship?? Also with friends and family? My family are totally anti-the PhD because it's not a "proper job", "spiralling debt" "uncertain postdoc prospects in a competitive academic world" etc (Pah! ,-) ) and my friends are great but also not very academic and don't understand it either. I don't want to alienate them with this 'being a doc' thing. As we all know, the perception is that PhDers are the world's smartest people on every subject, etc etc, when really it's just about having a particular talent for writing and researching, and a particular passion for one topic just like other people are skilled at other jobs. Anyway, just interested to hear your thoughts!
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