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I passed!

Think Cool and the Gang put it best ... Celebrate good times C'moooonnnnn!!! :-)

Was doing the PhD ... now can't even look at the Masters - in a deep dark hole

Sorry lads and ladies but just need to vent!
I came to a decision about 4 months ago to finally ditch the PhD and finish as a Masters. Now, I think that I am even incapable of doing that and just want to ditch the whole thing as I am in fairness in the darkest hole of despair!

At the moment, it is sheer hell and only going thro' the motions and stuck between trying to find work in the worst recession and somehow trying to look at material which I have absolutely no motivation for.

Worst thing is that I do have a long term goal of getting a H-Dip in the next few years, but at the moment, my own self-worth is zilch (by my own admission I was in denial but no doubting that this is the worst I have felt in my life ... head is all over the place between the Masters, trying to find some semblance of work and just general feeling that I have wasted 4-5 years of my life). Bro hit it on the head saying I judge myself as a person because I am so stuck in academia.

Sorry for being a downer at the onset of the weekend. I am getting medical help but confidence/mood is so low that at times I am nearly wondering do I need to be hospitalised!

To stay or go?

Apply anyways - once after the interview and if you are lucky enough to be offered, you can make the decision!

To quit PhD for science communication?

Findinglifehard - I would reckon that you should give yourself some time (maybe over the summer) to really research whether you can or cannot move into the area you want easily. Ring up people and maybe create a dossier of important links etc. If you are still paid and it is important to you, make the effort to meet a person in this area and ask them the questions that matter.

I would totally forget about any hold-ups about letting friends or family down - it is your life and intrinsically, most people don't care what you do so long as you are happy (and get the rounds in).

One thing is though be prepared for some level of regret no matter what decision, but if you have made up your mind and have some bit of a plan in place, it will pass and don't let this drag you down! Either situation has advantages and I think you are young enough and intelligent enough to be flexible to adapt if needed :-)

How does your relationship with your supervisor work?

A few practical suggestions
1. Coding - I am assuminig ya comment the cr@p out of it ... in that way if your supervisor ever reads it, it might make sense to a non-techie
2. Meetings - Would she be on for using Skype/Yugma? Explain the difficulties you face getting to every meeting
3. Minutes - Start every meeting with the minutes from the last one.
4. Worst case re comments on writing - send her two copies with an SAE and then she sends one back to you marked and then goes over the editing on a skype call

Coming from a guy jumping ship might sound bad, but f**k, it does sound as if at least she has an inkling of what you are doing and does give feedback. State you appreciate this, but need to be practical as well.

Decision made ... now for the uncertainty

Well lads and ladies,
Bit the bullet last week and had a heart to heart with the supervisor, who was very understanding, and we both settled to try and eek a masters out of the work (may need to do surveying) but after much soul searching, decided to call it a day - we might look into the possibility of continuing any results on, but the mind is made up. Had a bad few days of it in the head afterwards but think long term will be ok ... to be honest, trying to keep positive and keep the Black Dog away. Had a few freak attacks since, but expecting it!

Now the job hunt begins! Am still hell-bent on teaching as that was undoubtedly the high-point of the time in college and am pondering on combining it with some travel (any tips on that would be appreciated). Am ok for personal funds for about six months, if I take it handy.

No way am I losing touch as still need to do a bit of work with the masters, but would like to thank ye all for the advice ... it was cruel of me to look for someone to say "go" or "stay on". That must come from yourself. Anyone in trouble though, do not keep it to yourself. This forum is a great means of communication and support so keep up the good work.

Think the cookie really crumbled y'day ... was at a family christening and was zonked as had to go back on meds as was a bit down. But seeing the kids running about and talking to family made me realise the important things - friends and family

Cheers anyways,

My first panic attack

It will always be there unfortunately i.e. the next problem to surface! But there are ways about it, like even the simple thing of writing down a list and allocating time to specific tasks ... you may not follow it religiously but will clear the mind. The other thing is to remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing (your motivation for this work).
I would suggest meeting with your supervisor and clear the air and let them know it was a mistake and tell him/her of your difficulties - they will listen and might suggest means to alleviate the worry.
Most importantly though, make sure you discuss your feelings with the people dearest to you. At the end of the day, they are the ones that will provide support and you need to make them aware of the sometimes contradictory nature of research.

Quitting - no teaching prospects?

Quote From walminskipeasucker:

Hi Bonzo, sorry to hear about your predicament. FE is further education in the UK, so colleges and sixth forms. With a Masters, if you did decide to take that route, you would be well qualified to lecture in colleges. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck. (up)

Cheers walmin
I think I do know what I want to do now and its just get the thing done. I think to be honest, there are a few questions in the back of the head and that I know logically that any sensible person would dismiss them (things like would people see me as a failure and am I actually employable - I know both are positive and even if the second one is true, I could work at getting practical skills to address it). But I am overanalytical and without being too fine a point on it, tend to dwell on issues until they get to me. I think I pin too much on my work and should start living more ... of course that brings me back to the whole thing of in order to do that, you need not a lot of cash but more than a stipend anyways :P
I am going to be positive and suss out my options. Thanks for the advice and as I said before, if you're work is going well or just hit a small hitch, keep in there lads.

Quitting - no teaching prospects?

Cheers again lads,

Mog - what is FE? Sorry I am not in England.

Mood is generally ok but I think its just an intrinsic lack of faith in meself which I think needs to be addressed by myself. Obviously am a bit down but I do feel that the one thing I have shown to be good at is teaching and have gained more experience at that. Just feel that for the effort needed to get this thing out the gap is too big from various perspectives (time, motivation and money). People do say what about the time already put in but what can you do about that - its the past!

Keen - Sorry for the lack of communication but hope things going well and that you are still being uber-helpful to people on the forum.

As I said before, I think the issue, while manifesting itself in this scenario is just a one of self belief and going for what I really want.

Well off to enjoy some of the weekend - I was lying in bed at 8.30 and was sulking away and then just got up and did a whole load of stuff connected with the lecturing and while it was hard work, by Chr!st I enjoyed it. I know I am having a bit of a hard time with the super but I think an objective meeting with him (at least to clear the air) will have to be had, even though I dread them.

By the way, I know I sound very negative about the whole thing - if things going well, keep in there and strive! We all know this process is lonely and perhaps we all over-analyze stuff too much in our heads, but if its what you want to do, do it! Be strong, be assertive but most importantly, be yourself!

Quitting - no teaching prospects?

Ta for the replies lads,
I suppose I am looking all around for someone to answer a question I should be answering myself. I know its unfair to expect someone to come up with the answer for me.

Keen - The PhD, well I reckon I could salvage it but there is so much that would have to change it could be another 2-3 years and between being broke, an unco-operative supervisor and just, as I said before the prospect of ending up doing associated work I hate in order to teach ain't motivating me.

I suppose what I need to do is get my thoughts down on paper and as much as it will hurt, discuss it with the supervisor (not the best of relationships to be honest!). One of the other things as I said before was the whole notion that I think that I am somewhat unemployable as I have spent a lot of my time either in teaching roles or studying ... guess thats a confidence thing, which at times can really let me down.

At the end of the day, I think its just attitude and seperating the PhD from the person.

Quitting - no teaching prospects?

Lads and ladies,
Letting aside the fact that much time and money is now gone, really am considering quitting as I do think that even if I complete this accursed beast from the deep (miles from doing so!!!), I would be so browned off research I wouldn't stay in academia for the reason I went back i.e. to teach!

I ain't down, but looking for an answer (which I think I answered) but would like yer opinion. Would ye reckon you would need to become a paper vending machine in order to remain teaching in third level?

I am considering just getting the Masters (second one - doh!) and going for a Hdip in a few years as I do feel the only environment which I really enjoy is teaching and between us, think that academia is like a swimming swan - all graceful above the surface, kicking like an unorganised aylum under it.

As I said, I do think I have answered a lot of questions, but am unsure and would like any opinion (also compounded by the fact that I think I am unemployable - where I get that I don't know ... more issues than a series of Dawson's Creek I tells ya!)

Main thing is that I consider myself blessed and can lose sight of the fact that my family and friends are there whatever I do. Not down about it at all. Dunno about ye, but its scary the times when you get engrossed in questioning your own worth for something that maybe 4-5 people will read!

Beating PhD blues..

Hey Purpleflower,
Take it easy on yerself first of all ... it is only natural to get pi$$ed off at something that has and will be part of your life for a long time. First of all, don't feel guilty - that can only make it worse over time.
A practical tip would be to go into a room with a whiteboard or get an A3 sheet of paper and do a mindmap of your work to date. It really does wonders at getting you thinking and also serves as a means of summarising work and uncovering patterns that you may not have seen. Most importantly, as these new thoughts start emerging, you will feel new found interest in your work.

Some people will scorn what I say next but sure I will anyways. If you are having a bad day - f**k it! Don't feel guilty about it and do something productive instead (sort out other work or better still, go exercising ... recently took up mountain biking - it rocks ... sorry, slow day :-)

Main thing is don't get into a rut about it. If really worried, speak to the supervisor and he/she might have a conference in mind to really focus the work.

The "oh &*%£$!!! my supervisor has given me 4 weeks to write up" thread

Good luck Sneaks ... you will get there - you have a LOT of it done and will get there. I suppose when ya heard it must have been a Will E. Coyote in ACME product mishap moment :-)


I see that you haven't got your methodoloy done ... if you are using either Case Study, Survey or Action Research, seriously get "Research Methods in Education" by Cohen ... it is a one stop shop as to why you would use specific methodologies and there is a great table explaining the essential differences between them. If you need some stuff on Case Studies, let me know - why should ya spend a week looking up stuff that is the same in similar PhDs?

If you could have any superpower ...

Sneaks - it would be good to have such a power!
Once you are in a meeting with the supervisor and you could agree as to the next step, you could pause time, get that thing done and submitted before he/she would change their mind. Along the same lines, I would think a "What-the-f**k to English" translator chip in the brain for such meetings as well ha ha!

Nah ... I would seriously like the superpower of just being able to remind everyone to kick back, put the legs up and on chill! That and the ability to predict the next 100-1 at Chepstow :p

Quit PhD as I'm entering 3rd year?

Another "I hears ya brother!" to the list ... Will be short - don't worry, you are not alone in your experience (why this has to be the norm for a significant number of people, I don't know!). Between the practical problems of money and the more personal problems of putting major things on hold, it is a minefield. A lot of us are in situations like MJM - in this dilemma because we want to teach at some point and failing to somehow see how this insular exercise prepares you for that but hey, what do we know?
If you decide to stay on, do so under your terms and don't put yourself under pressure (take a years deferral, go part time).
If you decide that you've had enough, fair play and at least you know that at least we understand exactly where you are coming from. But what I would say is that if you do take this course, make sure to look into how you can protect your work already done (you might never know - you may wish to return at some point). Even if its just getting your PC hard drive.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do but please do what you think is right - not what you think others will think of you. And don't be afraid to ask for help - it is only thro' the help of others (this forum included) that the vast majority of us are coping.