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Please help, need some advice for a first year PhD

I think every PhD student has felt this way at some point. It took me about 8-9 months into my first year to feel as though I fully understood what I wanted to study and how I was going to do it. Then I had my first year review and had to explain to others what I was still getting to grips with myself.

My advice would be, take into consideration what the reviewers have said otherwise you might struggle to get past the next review but if you don't feel that their criticisms are justified, talk to your supervisor and ask him/her for advice on where to go from here and how to impress them the 2nd time around. You will get good advice and criticisms from people through your entire PhD but you don't always have to take that on board. Sometimes it's best just to thank them for their input and carry on as you are, other times they can be very helpful.

Supervisor off sick!

At the moment, nobody else is willing to sign it. I only have the one supervisor and she is the boss of most of the other academics that I know. Her boss is currently away on holiday.

I'm thinking if nobody gets back to me I'm just going to submit it with an explanation as to why it's not signed and hope for the best. If I don't get it back with approval before the summer holidays it will add a good 2 months onto my research.

I just want to be done...

I know that feeling. You start to wonder why you ever chose to put yourself through the trauma of a PhD in the first place.

What are you stalled on? Anything that you can be helped with?

Supervisor off sick!

I'm the same, I know she's having a hard time and I don't want to hassle her, if I was at a different stage of my research it might not even have affected me but I am getting very worried.

Supervisor off sick!

I would be stalking the necessary people if it wasn't for the fact that I live 250 miles away from my University and when I have tried to phone I keep getting voice mail. I know a lot of people are starting to take holidays around this time of year. My supervisor did tell me she would be off for a few weeks but she would still be available via email but I know she's had a few unexpected complications which has resulted in her being hospitalized for a lot longer than she expected so I'm assuming she hasn't got access to her emails.

Supervisor off sick!

Hi Guys,

Does anybody know if a second ethics application can be submitted without first being signed off by my supervisor?

I have initial ethics approval to develop a survey and get it validated by experts, however, I need to submit another application with my finalised survey and my ONLY supervisor has gone on sick and is not returning any emails. I need to submit this ethics application by the end of June because the ethics panel will break for the summer holidays by end of July and if I don't submit it, I will be waiting until September to start collecting my data!!

I have emailed my supervisor who also happens to be the Director of Graduate Education at my University so can't email them for advice either. I have emailed her temporary replacement and had no response. I've also emailed a member of the ethics panel and had no response. I'm starting to freak out a little bit.

I was thinking that because I have already had my first application signed off by my supervisor that it might not be essential for the second submission to also be signed off but I'm not sure. Does anyone have any idea??

PhD Stress, but not mine! (Advice appreciated)

Guys have a tendency to try and fix things, it's in their nature but sometimes all a girl needs is to discuss things with someone who will listen. You don't necessarily need to understand what she's talking about or offer advice but sometimes by just voicing the issues, we can often have a "lightbulb" moment and you will have helped your GF just by accident.

Goals at Halfway point

I have the same problem. My PhD is in social science and I am 18 months in. I keep worrying about getting behind and my supervisor has kept telling me I'm doing fine and keep going and not to worry. Until a few months ago when she told me your not behind but you need to get your finger out which to me was totally ccontradictory and made me panic but it worked. I did indeed get my finger out but it has made me constantly worried that I'm falling behind now.

I haven't got any chapters written yet but have two papers in the pipeline to get published and I've started working on a 3rd. Each project is different so milestones will also different slightly between PhDs and between disciplines.

anyone just done a PgCert/PgDip?

Different disciplines must differ in the PgDip as I did one a few years ago and I had a 10 thousand word dissertation to do to complete it. I then did a full master's after that.

The only reason I did the pgdip was because I needed it to obtain GBC (graduate basis for chartership) otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. I felt it was a lot of money and a lot of repetition from my undergrad just for that one thing. The masters was a lot more interesting and challenging and I enjoyed that a lot more.

I feel like I have wasted 2 years of my phd!

Don't stress too soon.

I'm also doing a social sciences PhD and I've had that thought more than once as I'm sure many others have. I'm nearly 18 months into mine, I've got no chapters wrote at all, I'm still trying to get my survey finalised so that I can start sending it out to participants, I constantly feel like I'm behind where I should be at this stage so you're not on your own.

What is your relationship with your supervisor like? Do you feel like you can speak to him/her for support. I would suggest you tell your supervisor how you feel and they will either say, your doing fine just keep going or they will say you need to get your finger out and get on with it which will give you the motivation you need to crack on.

Hope this helps x

Is it reasonable to quit PHD out of loss of interest ?

I'm no expert in the rules of a PhD but I would think it's reasonable for your supervisor to suggest that if you're no longer interested in the topic it's maybe a waste of your time as they are also putting time and effort into it at their end. However I don't think the supervisor can make you quite for that reason.

Depending on what year of study you are in I would think long and hard about whether you want to spend the next few years studying a topic you lack interest in. The PhD is intended to make you an "expert" in your chosen topic and you won't get the most out of it if it's not a topic you enjoy.

How do you juggle...

I am quite lucky that I don't have any teaching or marking to do with my PhD as I am at least 4 hours away from my University.

However, I am doing a full time PhD and working full time as I have a house to run and can't live off fresh air. I am also required to carry out unpaid work for the University as part of my PhD, this can be anything from developing questionnaires, collecting data, analysing results and writing reports for staff members who need a hand. I totally agree with Zutterfly, it is hard to juggle everything and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day, some weeks I've been that snowed under with work I haven't even thought about my PhD and other weeks I have had the chance to work on my PhD during a quiet shift. Its easier to say its all about gaining the right balance but everybody works different and you need to do whatever works for you.

New to The Forum

That's really kind of you to join just to help others.

Welcome to the forum.

Feels like landing into the wrong PhD and stuck trying to find a good solution

Try not to panic, easier said than done I know. I would recommend you speak to your supervisory team, or at least one of them and ask for help/advice. Things might not be as bad as you think.

Also, you can use your "failed" experiments to your advantage, for example, if you can argue why a certain methodology did not work, why the test you used isn't producing reliable data etc then you can show that you understand the science behind it. I'm sure you don't necessarily need a positive outcome to pass your PhD as long as you understand why it didn't work and can offer alternative methods for next time.

Good Luck

New to forum

Thanks guys

I had to do a conference presentation earlier this month and got chatting to a few other PhD students which was a big motivator, I realised that I'm not the only one who has days where nothing seems to be working out as planned and it gave me a nice big kick.