Overview of bongmaster5000

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bongmaster5000
Friday, 9 February 2018 at 10:18am
Friday, 18 May 2018 at 3:01pm
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page 1 of 3 recent posts

Thread: PhD loans - what do you all think?

posted
18-May-18, 15:01
edited about 7 seconds later
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posted about 4 days ago

Honestly, if you can't get full funding for your PhD you really need to take a step back and listen to the message the system is telling you. I would personally never take out a loan or self fund.


Yes, I think this is the main point.

Thread: PhD loans - what do you all think?

posted
18-May-18, 11:18
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 4 days ago
Already on a PhD so can't take survey. My two cents - not much help. £25k might seem like a big wedge but over 3-4 years it's a drop in the ocean. I think my studentship, bells and whistles included, is worth something near £70k and once you factor in 4 years of living costs, tuition and all the rest of it, that's spread pretty thinly. I expect to be working part-time during my writing up year even with saving part of my stipend each quarter.

If you take out a £25k PhD loan you're going to need to find at least another £30 - 40k from somewhere. Might be handy if you're self/family funded as it relieves some of the immediate outlay but otherwise I don't see the point in it. Anecdotally, I've seen people discussing the loan elsewhere who seem to think it's going to cover most of their costs - clearly not doing the maths. If the loan ends up encouraging more people to take on a self-funded PhD than would otherwise do it, fair enough, but I wonder if it might encourage some to take on a bigger financial burden than they can realistically handle.

Thread: Dated in Thailand while I was visiting

posted
17-May-18, 10:41
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posted about 5 days ago
Hooo boy

Thread: Potential Options for Second Masters

posted
14-May-18, 10:04
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posted about 1 week ago
I wouldn't bother. If you're going to do a PhD, then save your interests for that. Another MA is just going to cost you money and in all likelihood won't particularly helpful towards PhD applications.

Unless you have unlimited cash and can afford to pursue it for intellectual stimulation alone, in which case, go nuts.

Thread: With an Unconditional offer can I FAIL my MSc???

posted
11-May-18, 12:12
edited about 19 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
I don't think that's always the case. If it was me I would definitely check with the funding body and university first. Maybe it's different in physical sciences though where MScs aren't always required.

It's probably a good idea to avoid failing your MSc regardless though. Reckon you can scrape through with a straight pass?

Thread: With an Unconditional offer can I FAIL my MSc???

posted
10-May-18, 13:45
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 1 week ago
Probably not. If you check the T&Cs I suspect there will actually be a condition that you pass your masters. You should be OK to interrupt for a while and pick it up when things have settled down, though - I don't think that would affect your offer. Check with STFC, they'll be able to advise.

Thread: When to start writing thesis

posted
07-May-18, 10:48
edited about 12 seconds later
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posted about 2 weeks ago
As above, don't worry too much, sounds like you're fine. The main thing at this point is that you've done a lot of reading. Good advice about a modest word count target per day - I started at 500 and can now reasonably comfortably write 1500-2000 decent 'academic' words a day if I need to. Some of my peers haven't written much of anything yet either, and they're OK.

Start small and your confidence will grow quickly. Once you've hit your daily word count, my advice would be to do something else or even go home; don't set a target of 'write for 7 hours' unless you really have to, I find this really inefficient.

I'm also in my first year and have done a lot of writing, but none of it has really been in the format of 'chapters' for my thesis - instead, I've written shorter papers on different elements of my project before supervision every few weeks, which really took the pressure off (no expectation that any of this ends up in the final thesis) and also got me used to academic writing. That might be a helpful exercise perhaps. The upshot of this is that I sometimes feel like I've not done as much reading as I'd like (I think this is something everyone encounters, mind) - sounds like you don't have that problem, so you're good.

Sorry to bang on about my writing - it probably doesn't help. What I'm getting at is that everyone's different, everyone has a different process. As long as your supervisors are happy with where you are, you're fine. Once you get writing proper, you'll probably find it much easier than you thought and it'll be very rewarding.

Thread: I didn't get any scholarships :(

posted
24-Apr-18, 11:49
edited about 19 seconds later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From chantedsnicker:
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Quote From ethanscott:
The ones who have talent are never sponsored.


That's quite a statement!


That's what I thought! I *think* I should be insulted :-)


It sounds like the Dunning-Kruger effect talking!

Thread: How to deal with fellow PhD students

posted
20-Apr-18, 12:13
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 1 month ago
I agree with everything that's been posted so far. Jealousy/insecurity is probably a significant factor.

However - in my own experience (and I'm not saying you do this at all, it's just worth bearing in mind!), there's a couple of people in my dept. who constantly bleat about how great their work is going, how great they are at 'networking', how many big names they know, and just transparently humble-brag to the point that it becomes unbearable. I've consciously distanced myself from one of these people - to the point of almost breaking off contact altogether - because constantly hearing this stuff is stressful, irritating and probably unhealthy. It's not the nicest thing to do, perhaps, but for the sake of preserving my own sanity I'm happy with that decision.

It doesn't sound like you're doing this, but just to echo what tru said with a personal experience - if things are going really great, it can be a bit alienating for others who aren't in such a good position to be constantly reminded of it. Just worth having in mind, although it sounds like you're being perfectly reasonable.

PhD communities ultimately can be quite weird and intense places, and if you've got friends outside I wouldn't sweat it so much, as long as you have functional professional relationships with your colleagues.

Thread: PhD funding Reserve list

posted
13-Apr-18, 13:41
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 1 month ago
Not every candidate will be on the reserve list.

You have a chance - it's a slim chance, so make other plans, but you might get lucky. I've been in a similar position before and I reckon that a fair few people who get PhD funding offers will be top candidates who end up with an embarrassment of riches, and end up choosing between 2 or more offers. If one of them ditches your studentship for their preferred option, you might be in with a shout, especially if you are first reserve.

Don't count on it, but I always assumed that 'reserve list' was meaningless and a way to let you down gently - of course it's not, it's there for a reason. Good luck!

Thread: Resources for PhD Students Who Want to Appeal Examiners' Decision

posted
04-Apr-18, 11:16
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 1 month ago
Classy.

Thread: Interview Tips

posted
31-Mar-18, 16:55
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 2 months ago
In response to this, and the other thread: something which I found helpful was being confident enough to discuss where my project would need work (this is probably only relevant if you've submitted your own proposal). I'd thought about it a lot in the run-up to the interview, and I talked about how there were certain parts which would need to be tightened/recalibrated and that my research question would need re-phrasing.

This was based on tips from PhD students elsewhere, and the panel seemed impressed. I was able to anticipate a lot of their questions and demonstrate that I was flexible, adaptable and reflective enough to make changes when needed.

May not be relevant to you - something to think about though. Obviously also you don't want to overdo it and sound like you don't know what you're doing - it's not about lacking confidence or being unsure of yourself, but the opposite.

Anyway ramble over - good luck everyone :)

Thread: Feeling lost due to the strike

posted
29-Mar-18, 10:30
edited about 2 minutes later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From pm133:

I have no idea why you fully support your lecturers. They have deliberately targetted students with both the timing and duration of the strikes and for many students this will result in life changing drops in final grades.
Unfortunately I have no idea what to recommend here. There is an entire year of students being screwed over here. My own daughter is one of them although she is able to teach herself from books so will be OK.


'Deliberately targeted students' = withdrawn their labour in an effort to disrupt university processes so as to stand up for their employment rights - a course of action which is very close to winning significant concessions, by the way, which has basically discredited the narrative that this was unavoidable, pension fund hugely in deficit, no way around it, etc. We have won the right to an independent valuation. We have pushed back against unreasonable changes to our terms and conditions.

I have attended UCU branch meetings throughout the strike and I can assure you that the overwhelming sentiment is that everybody wants it over and done with as soon as possible with minimal harm to students' education. It is unfortunate that students are caught in the dispute but the nature of our jobs demands it if we want to employ collective bargaining.

This is how industrial action works. If you don't like it, presumably you don't agree with strikes in principle. Sounds like the typical small-minded British attitude to trade unionism - grousing and bitterness when other workers take the initiative to stand up for themselves and protect hard-won rights and benefits that they themselves don't have/have lost. Because I don't have a decent defined-benefits pension, nobody should. Reverse solidarity. It stinks, frankly.

I agree strongly with everything that PD has said.

OP, you should be fine - sorry that you have been affected, and I agree that it's not nice to miss contact hours - but PG is about independent study - sounds like you're doing it. Well done.

Thread: Doing an advertised PhD topic at a different university

posted
28-Mar-18, 10:34
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 2 months ago
I am not sure about copyright either, but I'm sure something would be in place - maybe someone more informed could advise. I'm not sure what you're proposing - is this through a DTP or through the university itself? Are you talking about submitting this topic as your own research proposal elsewhere?

If you get away with that, word gets around in academia. If someone finds out that you've lifted their research proposal and done it yourself, at a more 'reputable' university (even if it didn't get funded in the first instance), people will eventually know and it will be professionally damaging. There are academics who have reputations for stealing other people's (often PhD applicants) research ideas and that label sticks.

I suppose there's also a risk that you end up duplicating someone else's research - I assume if this project doesn't get funded, it's still an idea that someone is interested in pursuing eventually. I don't know the specifics.

I wouldn't bother though. At best it sounds like far too much hassle, at worst it could be construed as dishonest and unethical.

This is my relatively uninformed take - would be good if someone else could clear this up.

Thread: Funded Phd at low-rank uni or a masters at a top uni

posted
27-Mar-18, 22:34
edited about 4 minutes later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From Montanita:
I disagree. ive recently seen job applications which specifically ask for a degree from a RGroup universities. I think this is going to become more prominent with there currently being a movement in the UK away from the idea that everyone should go to university even if its to a low ranking university to do a pointless degree. Also speaking to lecturers I have heard many saying privately they look at PhDs from a well ranked university better than one from one lower down.


Job applications for where? I don't doubt that City finance companies, for instance, filter by that metric, but it doesn't sound like that's what the OP wants. Also, it sounds like you're talking about bachelors degrees which are a slightly different ball game.

Regarding PhDs, what 'ranking' are we talking about - Guardian/THE tables or departments that have well-recognized research capabilities in a particular field and strong supervisors? Because at PhD level the former becomes far less important than the latter.

I wouldn't bother with a PhD at a post-92 university that didn't offer excellent supervision and a stellar research track record in my field, but neither would I bother with a PhD at a Russell group that didn't offer the same. RGs, by dint of their deep pockets, attractive reputations, and well-resourced departments may be more likely to offer that, but being a Russell Group university alone doesn't automatically mean a better PhD experience or better prospects at the end of it. If some lecturers don't grasp that, then they are misguided.
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