Overview of cherub

Recent Posts

How to support a PhD during writing up

When I was writing up my partner basically did all the housework, cooking, and generally stuff that I'd do around the house. He used to tell me that even though I was at home all the time - he worked from home as well but he worked in his study upstairs while I did my writing downstairs so we stayed out of each other's way - it was as if I wasn't there because I was so absorbed in my writing. To make it up to him I'd go out to a late night movie or just eat out one day in a week.
I agree with Dunham though, if you guys are not living together I don't think there is much you can do. Just be there when he calls you to chat/moan or whatever. You calling him and checking up on him will be nice but again, I think the timing is crucial as the last thing you want is to distract him when he is in the middle of writing! Best of luck!

To justify or not? Formatting

Just to be different I left justified mine and indented each paragraph! :) All my colleagues justified theirs and didn't indent the paragraphs. Also, because I had to use some IUPAC names for my compounds I found that justifying a body of text can sometimes leave huge gaps of space between some words which I didn't like. With left justification all spaces are equal. But like tol said it's all down to personal preference in the end!

Data storage and syncing data - tips needed

If you have external hard drives you can use Microsoft synctoy. I used it to to update my files between my PC at uni, my laptop and my PC at home. I made sure I have a folder (which i called COMMON) with all the files that I'm working on that constantly need updating in all three places: uni PC, laptop and home PC. So if I work on different files at uni at the end of the day I use the hard drive to update it using synctoy and when I get home I update both COMMON folders in laptop and PC using the hard drive. This was really useful for me as synctoy searches through that particular folder that I want updated and updates it only. It also searches and renames files/folders within the primary folder that I have renamed or deleted.
I used Dropbox mainly when I need to access software on my uni PC while working at home. In that case I'll use team view to do my work remotely but save it in Dropbox so I can access it straight away. But I'll then save the same file in my common folder so I can update the rest.

New to the forum... Advice on PhD and pregnancy

Looking back I don't think my supervisors would have been happy if I'd taken a maternity break. In fact, my primary supervisor (male) jokingly told me not get pregnant shortly after I got married! They wanted me to finish the PhD in the allocated time (which I did) unlike most of my colleagues who had to ask for extensions.
I know as a woman (who wants to have kids) when you are hitting 30 you start having all these emotions about when is the right time to start a family and the media constantly inundating us with reports of declining fertility in your 30s doesn't help!
Whatever you decide, best of luck. If your university does allow for you to take a break, then I think you can do so (not sure why your supervisor was cold to you after suggesting it?) instead of quitting altogether after all the work you have done. However, you will need the support of your other half if you decide to embark on taking a break to have the baby. It's not going to be an easy journey!

New to the forum... Advice on PhD and pregnancy

Hi PryingPry,

I feel you. I started my PhD at 29 and just had my viva (passed, corrections submitted and accepted!). It was a 4-year course so I'll be 34 this year. Like you, I wanted to have kids during my PhD because ideally it would have been better to suspend my studies, have a kid and go back and complete PhD (that's how I planned it anyway). However I had to work with chemicals so I didn't think it would be an ideal environment to be in and I suspect my supervisors and the health and safety zealots in my uni would have advised moving office (my office was next door to the labs and we sometimes work with teratogens) or to take an early maternity leave which would have inevitably prolonged the time I'll be off. Anyway I scrapped the having a kid plan and carried on with my studies. However, last year after submitting, I was told that I have some health issues that have the potential to impact on my fertility so I decided to suspend my job search and start a family (I didn't know how long it will take after learning about the health issues) and now I am now nearly 20 weeks along! At that time I was pretty convinced that it will take time to conceive but now that I'm actually pregnant I've been through a roller coaster of emotions. First the euphoria (yaay, i can have a baby!), then the worry that I'm damaging my career prospects by staying at home (maybe for 2 years?) to bring up a child after my PhD when I don't have any industry experience up my sleeve (I'm not planning to work in academia by the way).
However, having been to a few interviews for lab-based roles, I'm contemplating changing my career direction. I've decided that while I wait for the baby, I will take up some online lessons and strengthen my skills in programming (I have some experience in this from my PhD) to make good use of my time at home. I've also decided to do some volunteering in my sector (when I can) to enhance my CV and expand my network. It's not an easy decision and I feel lucky that my other half can support me while I am unemployed and not receiving any maternity pay.

Finishing PhD and feeling low

Congratulations Dr Redridinghood! Here's tho wishing you the best in your future pursuits! x

To our knowledge?

I've used the phrase 'to the best of this author's knowledge' as a disclaimer in my thesis. I was advised 1) to claim ownership of my work i.e. not to use the word 'we' and 2) to write it in an impersonal way. I've seen people use 'despite searches in the available literature using x and y terms in (year),...' as a disclaimer too.

Leave job for PhD

Hi glaza, Big Data in Science is a promising field and I think if you can live with all the stress that accompanies doing a PhD you should go for it. For one, it will be a change in what you a are currently doing - if you love challenges then I'd look at it as a new and exciting challenge. I think careerwise you'd be alright, your experience alone in Big Data will be very useful in other areas especially in consultancy. I say this because my partner is an expert in Big Data and his skills sets are in high demand. He's really fascinated with the stuff I did in my PhD (mainly computational) even though he's not a scientist. He's been encouraging me to learn some courses in Big Data/computing/programming and I am really thinking of taking some online courses to add to the skills I already have.
You said the supervisor is one of the experts in the fields so that will be an advantage when it comes to references and perhaps getting a foot in in academia if that is your ultimate goal. But, be aware that it could also be a disadvantage in terms of supervision because he may not have time to be there all the time. You should be prepared for working independently with minimal supervision - not saying that this will be the case but it is something to be aware of.
Another thing, the PhD will definitely be more stressful than your current work and from my experience it definitively isn't a 9-5 job!
Best of luck with whatever choice you decide to go with!

I passed!

Congratulations! Welcome to the club :)

Week to viva - haven't prepped!

Hi theboaster. Viva finally yaay!
I can only echo what the others have said above. Not being in the humanities I can't offer you advice on what to focus on. However, when I did my viva about two weeks ago (I passed with minor corrections), one of the things I was asked was the novelty of my work and my contribution to the wider literature out there. During the viva itself most of the stuff I got asked was basic chemistry, stuff you learn from the days when you start to learn about chemistry!
Also, both my examiners were nice which put me at ease - I won't lie, I was quite nervous at the beginning but settled in as time when by. Mine lasted for nearly 3 hours.
Best of luck and I hope everything goes well. After 9 years I'm sure you're looking forward to being on the other side!
Best wishes!

Viva tomorrow!

Informally yes :). Formally I'm afraid not. Not until you've received the letter/certificate from the uni and I think they do that after you've handed in your corrections. I think between us here we can call you Dr :). Hopefully the official bit will just be a formality.
Good luck with the corrections. I can only imagine what it's going to be like getting them done with a full time job. But I've seen posts here where people do so you can and you will.
I don't have one now ie job but I'm expecting (early days) but that comes with its own issues!! All I want to do is sleep sleep sleep - I'm told this is normal because of changes my body is adapting to - but I'm determined to get all my corrections finished before the end of January.

Quote From Caro:
Thanks everyone! And congrats cherub! My corrections will likely take me a while as I work full time and they said the new analyses would mean rewriting a fair amount to fit in with that. Are you allowed to call yourself Dr before corrections are submitted? I wasn't going to haha.

Viva tomorrow!

CONGRATULATIONS Dr Caro! At least the biggest hurdle is out of the way. Well done you!

Viva tomorrow!

Hi Caro, this may come too late but best of luck!!! I had my viva on Friday and it went better than I was expecting! Like you I had some errors as well namely punctuation and certain sections in the text not updating properly (e.g. Section 3.4.5. came out as Section 0). I also had issues with my compound numbering where I forgot to update compound numbers on the graph to match the legend and this was picked up by my internal. I did print out all these mistakes and I told them that I'd already picked them up so it wasn't anything major.
The whole viva was more of a discussion of basic things (chemistry in particular) to be honest. They did ask about my thesis but the majority of the questions were mainly on my understanding of things I would never have thought would come up but I took a gamble and still revised them so I wasn't caught off guard when the questions came!! I have minor corrections to do which shouldn't take me more than 2 weeks (that's my plan anyway).
Best luck and hope yours goes well too! x

what do we do with the mistakes that we found during viva preparation?

I have my viva next week and I too have found a lot of mistakes (mainly repetitive words, punctuations, break up long sentences etc) and I have made an Excel sheet listing all these. However, I also found that in one particular figure my compound numbering was out by 3! This was because I wrote Chapter 1 (Intro) last and where I'd only thought I will only show two compounds and name them 1 and 2, I ended up having five compounds in this chapter so I had to re-number all my subsequent compounds in Chapters 2-5 as well as change the axis in all the graphs, legends in figures etc.. In this particular figure the legend reflects the correct compound numbers but the actual graphs show numbers that are less by 3 :( I am not sure whether to bring it up or just wait for my examiners to mention it, but I am going to print that page with the updated compound numbers just to be prepared!
My supervisors did advise me not to bring up the mistakes unless the examiners do!

Getting permission/high-res versions for journal article images

Hi Nesrine87,

I think it depends. If you are copying the images from other articles, you definitely will need to get permission from the copyright holder. I had to obtain permission for all the images I used in my thesis from other articles and usually you do so by opening the html version of the article and somewhere just after the title and author affiliation you should see a link that says 'Get rights and contents' or something similar and it should take you to the appropriate page. To obtain the image(s), on the html article, if you click on the image you should be able to select a high resolution version of it (if available) and download it. When I requested permission, I had to create an account and select what I am using the images for (thesis in my case), which images I wanted, and how many, and they were free. I am not sure if this is usually the case if you say that you are going to reproduce them for printing (article in this case). In my case the price is always shown as 0.00.
On the other hand, if you are creating the images yourself, you do not need to obtain permission. I just indicate the software that I used to create the images. If you use a software, you should be able to (in my case) save the images in high resolution format (300 or 600dpi) by selecting Save As and going through the options available to you.
I hope this helps.

Good luck.