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Imminent Viva

congratulations and WELL DONE :-)(up)

Any advice

*holds up hand* imposter here....just passed viva with minor corrections. I think there are many many many PhD students that feel exactly the same way and it is pretty normal to do so. I didn't and still haven't lost the "imposter syndrome" hence my stress over my minor corrections (another story).

As for not being interested.....well.....lots of us have to find funding to do the subject we want to do. If you get funding offered by a research council it will be in an area with very narrow scope and not very likely that you'll have had much thought about it, though generally the subject you love fits around it. You then have to *become* interested in the scope you have been given, in order to acheive a PhD in the subject that you love.

It's VERY hard to keep the momentum going, and this is where you must indeed really really want a PhD and realise that you are in fact still researching your subject area but probably having to apply it to something that you find quite dull or uninteresting or worse something you'd really rather NOT be doing for ethical/moral/personal reasons. It is the double edged sword of receiving funding to do it.

I have a feeling that you are falling in to this category, and again, this is a pretty standard scenario to be in.

Keep at it.

Viva date

my external had to fly in from elsewhere, and I haven't heard of anyone having to travel for their viva. I just wanted to collapse at home after mine too, although I was promised an outing down the pub with everyone, I politely asked whether anyone would mind if I simply went home (it was all I wanted to do).

Imminent Viva

Just wanted to say good luck, and hope you come out smiling. :-)

Can you disagree with the examiners position at Viva?

I think (and have read elsewhere) that the viva itself can help push a desicion in one direction if the examiners are unsure (not ready to agree), so in that respect your defense is quite important and can "tip" the balance if necessary. You can constructively argue against opinions/statements that the examiners make about your thesis in the viva, and I guess it is this that will help sway any issues you might have with the final desicion (in that you can refer back to the conversation).

3 months corrections and feeling stressed and burnt out

Quote From dunni73:

This was quite a stressful time of waiting but as Bilbobaggins said 'you have passed so they will not want to fail your corrections'.

I think I need to hang on to this.

3 months corrections and feeling stressed and burnt out

Quote From mak_2011:

In my case, the internal was the main problem and really had some bias against me (at least that is how it felt). Still she was unable to finally do anything other than pass me (after the corrections). Her final words were "I don't agree with this but I understand what you are saying". :p

THIS..........exactly this. I'm hoping that this is what will happen. To defend myself in my Viva I had to show why my internal examiner wasn't necessarily correct with his critique of a key part of my thesis. I'd used "newer" maths essentially and had the journal publications regarding it with me at the time. Unfortunately he had published a conference publication stating that what I had done wasn't possible and purely by chance I'd found it just before my viva so I KNEW he was going to try and hammer me for it. As it turned out I defended my position well in the viva regarding it, but he still didn't sit very comfortably with it (though my external thought my explanation and defense was great).

I've got to include a section that discusses in far more detail this "newer" stuff....even though I did briefly explain it and gave thorough references to it within my thesis. I know I am only doing it to keep him happy......but I'm not 100% convinced he won't come up with some other argument against it, once he's had another read. :-(. I think he's P*ssed off with me about how I managed to defend myself infront of the external to be honest as he kept looking to him for backup and reassurance. :-( (but I was right!)

Since receiving my corrections there was one item on there that didn't come up in the viva that the internal examiner has added (and I had to email him to clarify exactly what it was he wanted), which includes a whole lot of extra work that NO-ONE in my field does, or has needed for journal publication or other! I've spoken to colleagues about it and they do think it is a bit petty minded that he has requested it. I am so worried that he is p*ssed at me and trying to make my life difficult.

Sorry, needed to offload. Just feels like I've been waved a carrot infront of my face at the end of the viva, and now it's been taken away.

Is Ph.D possible?

The Viva is the final exam where you have to defend your completed thesis in person to an internal and external examiner, over a period of some hours. Seeing as NASA have a great deal to do with academia (one of the departments I have worked in collaborates with one of NASAs many branches), I would have thought that they actively encourage you to partake in part-time academic activities, particularly PhDs. As such I think you are in a perfect position to undertake one, especially as it seems they have already supported you through your undergraduate study.

Regarding family life, I found doing the PhD easier on my children emotionally than working for a commercial company (which I have done also), as my time was far more flexible. I was able to drop everything if I had to, and could work strange hours when necessary, to catch up. I'm not sure this would be the case for yourself though as I assume you still have to meet your employers normal working hours

Is Ph.D possible?

not sure what country you are in, however I've just passed my viva (with minor corrections) for a PhD in comp sci. as a mother with children. I did however take the PhD on full time. I found that with the research council funding I received from EPSRC (which isn't taxable at all) combined with the fact I no longer had to pay council tax, student loans company, etc., meant that financially I wasn't that worse off than working in full time employment. I did have to take a bit of a drop, but it wasn't a great deal, and I found the flexibility in working hours in research far far far more beneficial than any I'd ever experienced anywhere else. It enabled me to make cost savings where I wouldn't have normally been able to (cutting down on travel costs, working from home, etc.) and simple things like time saving shopping out of Tesco "rush hour" meant I had more time to cook and therefore the meals became cheaper.

Anyway, might be worth some consideration.

3 months corrections and feeling stressed and burnt out

I got my corrections today. There is nothing on there I wasn't expecting (bar one thing, which I can't decipher, and will have to ask the internal examiner what on earth he means). However, I have ended up in tears over it and feel completely stressed out about getting it all done in time. I do have other work commitments in the department I am in, with deadlines to meet too, though in fairness I guess it is down to me how I manage my time.

I think I've got burn out. I'm terrified of the internal examiner NOT agreeing my corrections. My internal was tougher on me than my external and I can't face him turning round and saying "no, that's not enough, that's not good enough, I still don't understand". My corrections consist of (amongst others) some "tightening up" of descriptions, including more precise mathematical definitions and descriptions of how one or to things are calculated. Fair enough. However these aren't black and white answers and I've already clashed with him my Viva over mathematical methods and had to defend my position elsewhere, so what is to say when I've written these he disagrees with them too?

Please can someone tell me that my fears I am experiencing at the moment are pretty standard and that fear alone will help me get them in on time?

I'd really rather NOT talk to my supervisor about it as he almost certainly would only add to the workload (as he had no issues with the particular descriptions that the internal examiner had and I think he'd only provide a layer of confusion) and not necessarily be that helpful.


ummmmmmmmm can you talk to your HR department about it? You are staff after all?

It's decision time... Please help

As a mother of two teenage children (and currently pregnant with my third), who has worked in industry and academia for over 18 years WITH a family, I'd say take the job. In my experience there is NO difference to post doc positions and those at the same level in industry, other than the fact that academia seems to be a little more flexible. You will work hard at both regardless. You will do long hours, sometimes conflicting with your family needs. It is a juggle with a family. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. The fact that it is a postdoc position rather than one in industry is not relevant.

Go for it.


Actually doing something about bad supervisors

"Basically speaking I view a PhD like an apprenticeship or traineeship w. You get horrible pay but you have someone is responsible for teaching you the trade, with the idea that you come out of it all with the skills to become an employable part of the workforce. Would you agree with this?"

In one word, NO.

Your supervisor is NOT responsible for teaching you the trade. YOU are. It is your contribution and therefore you teach yourself your own trade. Your supervisor is there to ensure you learn how to do this independently and that includes being independent from them! They are responsible for showing you how to swim in the murky waters of academia and that is quite a different thing.

How can I help my PhD partner - 9 days until his draft is due!

If he's at home and has someone to feed him and stick fluid in front of him to drink ( I needed BOTH, I was in a world of my own at this stage), then lots and lots and lots of support ESPECIALLY when he tells you he can't do it and it won't be ready.

That and PROOF READING. Proof read as much as you can. Check the headings, page numbers, image titles etc all match up with the contents page. Look for typos, spelling mistakes, formatting errors etc etc etc.

AND finally, be his common sense when he can't load the printer, save the right version to a USB stick, remember that he's got no shoes on when he goes to hand it in, etc etc etc. BE his brain. :-)

Forget about any snapping he does. It isn't deliberate and he possibly won't even remember he did it.

Good Luck.

Not passing a PhD

By the time my viva came around I was positive that I would end up with either an MPhil or an MRes to the point where I was going to ask for it. GENUINELY.


I think it isn't that unheard of for you to be feeling the way you are about it. I certainly was. (AND I had misgivings about my supervisor's positive view as I was sure he han't read it either!)

Just get on with it. Roll with the punches and come out the other end. When it is over, regardless of anything you have been rewarded, it is OVER, and you can stop feeling so beaten up inside.