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cplusplusgirl
Tuesday, 5 April 2011 at 2:41pm
Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 11:20pm
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Thread: I just want to be done...

posted
12-Nov-11, 18:54
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 12 Nov 2011 18:55:51 =======
I think the problem lies in the fact you HAVE to show a contribution to knowledge (something that isn't out there at the moment). It might be that this contribution comes readily to you and you find it easy, but I don't know anyone that has done. You don't say which area your PhD study is in. If it is a science then any contribution you *think* you have made will require rigorous analysis and this in itself is not easy, I'm assuming it is the same in the Arts.

I think you can't gauge an expected bare minimum as there ISN'T such a thing. You are either on your way to providing some new innovative contribution to your area or you are not.

I completely understand the need to want to have it done, tick the box, and forget you ever thought doing a PhD was a good idea. I felt that myself on MANY occasions throughout the journey, to the point of three weeks to hand in I was actually going to throw the towel in completely (not such a good idea after four years work). Fortunately for me I had someone recognise the all time low I'd hit and they gave me a big hard rough PUSH to get it handed in.

With the deepest respect, regardless of what you might be thinking of an academic career ( YEP, just got through my viva and after that, at present I'm feeling EXACTLY the same), I think you've hit a low point. However, you can use this low point to try and figure out what is the shortest route to covering everything you need to cover (again, I'm not sure as I did a science so it is hard to advise). Then you can get cracking!

Thread: Unemployed, no idea what I want to do anymore :(

posted
11-Nov-11, 19:56
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
Do you have an idea of what you DO like doing? That would be a start. To put together the individual tasks that you do enjoy and see what roles might be applicable.

That or have some inspiration and set your own company up...

Thread: Feeling inadequate

posted
11-Nov-11, 19:51
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
YES THIS IS VERY NORMAL


In my case it took roughly 18months-2years before I started to find some footing, but even then I was still battling inadequacy. Most PhD students I have had conversations with don't really have a clue what they are doing for a year really (this is in computer science). It's all about finding some groundingand discovering what your new area is all about. It takes ALOT longer than in the case of a masters.

Just keep plodding away at it and try not to be too embarassed by what little you know or stuff you think you have forgotten. EVERYONE has that in the first few months and even the postdocs you are working with will remember how it felt in the very early days. No one will be expecting you to have a grasp of much at all at this stage. You have ALOT of reading to do ;-)

Good Luck with it and calm the inner self doubting voice. The more you get used to doing that, the less of an issue it becomes.

Thread: Slight disagreement

posted
10-Nov-11, 15:39
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
Quote From sneaks:

I think its more about your relationship with them because it will affect your performance. I know for my I'm a bit timid aruond my sup, but will quite happily be quite bulshy and defend myself and my work better without her there
<--------------------THIS!!!!!

Thread: Slight disagreement

posted
10-Nov-11, 15:35
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
I refused the offer of a mock viva with my supervisor because I knew it would have made me even more nervous than I already was. (Thinking if I couldn't answer anything he asked me I'd be very embarassed and feel worse). I didn't want to think of him judging me at that point as I really didn't need it, emotionally.

I DEFINITELY would NOT have wanted him sat in on my viva. I could not think of anything worse! Fortunately he didn't even suggest it after I'd already refused the mock viva stating that it would make me more nervous.

I honestly don't think it will reflect on your viva and the examiners thoughts. It has to be whatever YOU are most comfortable with at that point, and examiners are more than happy to roll with that because they've been there and DO understand too! I wouldn't worry about the thoughts of your supervisor either. I'm 100% sure you are not the first student to refuse their supervisor to sit in, infact I'm guessing that it is more normal NOT to have them there.

Thread: Maternity pay as a postdoc

posted
10-Nov-11, 12:59
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
DirectGov deosn't really help.

Check out where you are getting your funding from and read their details.
If you are already under some funding you are entitled to maternity pay.

Thread: Maternity pay as a postdoc

posted
10-Nov-11, 12:55
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
I have JUST gone through my Viva and I am coming up to six months pregnant (and 40 years old, so left it right on the wire!). I have some corrections to do but am trying to negotiate some post doc work at the moment. I am NOT entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or any other government scheme as I have been a student and not working nor unemployed. (And even if I claimed job seekers allowance from today I'm not sure I would be entitled to anything as even if I got a job in industry (highly unlikely with the size of my stomach) I would not have worked enough weeks on birth to qualify).

What I have found out though is that if you can find out where any funding for a post doc job is coming from, you can read their details regarding maternity pay. For example, EU funding generally would pay what a unversity would pay for a full time member of staff. Whatever your university staff get, you would be entitled to too. Otherwise it falls under discrimination which obviously they are not allowd to do. So essentially you have to try and negotiate a post doc position if you can.

My circumstances are particularly difficult, becaused I already am pregnant and fell pregnant immediately after submitting my thesis! I was 39 at the time and we had not done anything to attempt to stop it from happening for 19 months. Time was running out so we were very grateful it happened when it did. It is only now we have the headache of how we will manage, but in all honesty I don't care because it had got to the point where we thought it wasn't going to happen for us, so we WILL manage it. Don't know how. But we will.

What I would say is the last couple of months of write up are VERY stressful and I almost certainly don't think I'd have managed it with a baby to care for at the same time. Also the lead up to my viva again was horrid, and I did fear for what my anxiety levels were doing to my unborn child. Thankfully that is now over and I feel great. ......just some things to think about.

Good Luck with it. :-)

Thread: Viva experience PART II

posted
10-Nov-11, 11:52
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
I've now put the two threads together as someone has rightly suggested it. (had a bit of an overtired blonde moment when I posted them seperately)

Part I and part II are now all on the same thread:
http://www.postgraduateforum.com/threadViewer.aspx?TID=20970

Thread: Viva experience PART I

posted
10-Nov-11, 11:48
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
Part II (copied over from seperate thread)

My examiners had what looked like an awful amount of sticky notes all over my thesis and I was terrified that I was going to be ripped to shreds, but as it turned out I think I managed to disarm some of the questions in my presentation anyway and others came out as I was talking generally. In my case I found my external examiner, though he asked more thought provoking questions, easier to deal with than my internal examiner, who it seemed was there just to make my life a bit difficult (I might feel a bit different about this once I've had some time to reflect). I'd say DON'T let the number of sticky notes you can see on the dissetation put you off or make you more nervous. I don't think any examiner gets through all the questions they might like to pose.

As for journal publications which might help you defend contentious points, I DID use mine and it did give my internal examiner no room for manouvre when he asked me questions about how I'd gone about using a certain technique. His paper was a conference publication which had said what I'd actually done in my thesis wasn't possible. I had a journal publication which showed why it was, and I'd implemented it. If I hadn't had this with me (through doing some background reading on my internal examiner) I would have had a much harder time defending it. Do try to find things that are relevant to your research that your internal and external examiners have published. It will show their train of thought when reading your thesis and give you a little bit more of an advantage.

I was asked all manner of questions. Do remember that some of these questions ARE a matter of opinion of the examiners and not gospel. Don't roll over if you disagree. But at all times, be polite and courteous about it. It ISNT personal, and you do have to keep reminding yourself of this.

My viva took roughly three hours and I was asked to leave the room. I wasn't left waiting long at all which did surprise me. I know it was less than ten minutes, and I have a feeling it was much shorter than that. Essentially I didn't really have time to worry about the final conclusion, I was only ust starting to think about the relief of no more questions. It was quite an intense experience but it did go quicker than I realised and at NO point did I feel as rough as I had done in the lead up to it. In hindsight I'd have sat there alot longer if needed and didn't feel I needed to call time on it. The examiners just suddenly seemed to stop.

When I was called back in, I was given time to get myself seated again and I was immediately told that I had done enough to warrant passing my PhD. I was GENUINELY shocked. I was told I would have some corrections to do (minor). To be perfectly honest it hasn't really sunk in yet.


I hope this helps someone, I had two proper panic attacks before mine.

Thread: Viva experience PART I

posted
10-Nov-11, 11:46
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
Quote From delta:

I read it all but why not copy and paste the 2nd part to this thread?


DOH!

might have passed my viva, yet STILL don't have any common sense.

Thanks.

Will do.

Thread: Viva experience PART I

posted
10-Nov-11, 11:33
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 10 Nov 2011 11:34:34 =======
.... follows on in "Viva Experience PART II"

Thread: Viva experience PART II

posted
09-Nov-11, 18:39
edited about 7 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
Thanks to you all.

Thread: Will I ever get through it?

posted
09-Nov-11, 12:01
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
Hope you got there Pineapple.

I passed my Viva less than 48 hours ago. AM SHOCKED!

It would be nice to hear back from anyone else on this thread where they're at.

Thread: Viva experience PART I

posted
09-Nov-11, 11:53
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
I've passed mine less than 48 hours ago and during the lead up to it I found it helpful to read others experience, so I thought I'd add mine to that list. (In the hope it might help someone else).

Preparation.
To start with, I WAS a nervous wreck in the final week leading up to the viva. I felt ill through the anxiety of it all but learnt that the more I prepared for it, the more the anxiety eased off a bit. In hindsight I'd rather have spent more time in the preparation, but as it was, due to commitments, I spent a solid week organising my thoughts and I mean SOLID (like 10am through to 10pm or later some nights). I hadn't really been briefed what to expect by my supervisor other than "A presentation would be helpful, no more than 30 minutes", and "It's ok to disagree with them. Defend your work. Be confident.".........well, a presentation of almost four years work (in my case) condensed into 20 slides and being "confident" were no small task. I took it apon myself to check out my external examiner's latest publications AND my internal examiner's. After going through a huge list I found one or two publications which had topics of relevance to my own thesis. I read them. I am VERY glad I did this as I was able to then appreciate the thoughts of both examiners in regard to some of the subject areas that cropped up in my thesis. I was then able to prepare my presentation with some forethought and bring out my defence in areas where I could see there may be some questions, preemptively! I disarmed the questions before they could be asked. I also took in journal publications to back up my defence (more on this later). I didn't summarise my thesis into one page per chapter (as is suggested on some websites) as I understood that in preparing my presentation, I was essentially doing the same thing. I read a great deal online about viva preparation and experience whilst preparing my presentation which I think in hindsight DID help. The best sites for me were the ones that explained it from an examiners point of view and those where the emphasis is on boosting your confidence, NOT the ones with all the horror stories!

The Day.
Mine was brought forward by an hour earlier than I had been previously informed. GULP. This meant a very rushed light lunch for me (which I forced down my throat because I really didn't want to eat anything). EAT breakfast. EAT lunch if yours is in the afternoon. Take in water (I actually got through almost a litre in mine and I'm not a big water drinker, but at least I was well hydrated, which we all know helps the brain). Take in biscuits. (Mine were untouched). I was nervous but attempted to be assertive and courteous at the same time. I DID take time to think things through before answering and I didn't worry about making the examiners wait for my answers. I couldn't answer everything but didn't bluster about it, I simply said so. I defended HONESTLY and was congratulated for this.

Thread: Viva experience PART II

posted
09-Nov-11, 11:42
Avatar for cplusplusgirl
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 09 Nov 2011 11:55:18 =======

My examiners had what looked like an awful amount of sticky notes all over my thesis and I was terrified that I was going to be ripped to shreds, but as it turned out I think I managed to disarm some of the questions in my presentation anyway and others came out as I was talking generally. In my case I found my external examiner, though he asked more thought provoking questions, easier to deal with than my internal examiner, who it seemed was there just to make my life a bit difficult (I might feel a bit different about this once I've had some time to reflect). I'd say DON'T let the number of sticky notes you can see on the dissetation put you off or make you more nervous. I don't think any examiner gets through all the questions they might like to pose.

As for journal publications which might help you defend contentious points, I DID use mine and it did give my internal examiner no room for manouvre when he asked me questions about how I'd gone about using a certain technique. His paper was a conference publication which had said what I'd actually done in my thesis wasn't possible. I had a journal publication which showed why it was, and I'd implemented it. If I hadn't had this with me (through doing some background reading on my internal examiner) I would have had a much harder time defending it. Do try to find things that are relevant to your research that your internal and external examiners have published. It will show their train of thought when reading your thesis and give you a little bit more of an advantage.

I was asked all manner of questions. Do remember that some of these questions ARE a matter of opinion of the examiners and not gospel. Don't roll over if you disagree. But at all times, be polite and courteous about it. It ISNT personal, and you do have to keep reminding yourself of this.

My viva took roughly three hours and I was asked to leave the room. I wasn't left waiting long at all which did surprise me. I know it was less than ten minutes, and I have a feeling it was much shorter than that. Essentially I didn't really have time to worry about the final conclusion, I was only ust starting to think about the relief of no more questions. It was quite an intense experience but it did go quicker than I realised and at NO point did I feel as rough as I had done in the lead up to it. In hindsight I'd have sat there alot longer if needed and didn't feel I needed to call time on it. The examiners just suddenly seemed to stop.

When I was called back in, I was given time to get myself seated again and I was immediately told that I had done enough to warrant passing my PhD. I was GENUINELY shocked. I was told I would have some corrections to do (minor). To be perfectly honest it hasn't really sunk in yet.


I hope this helps someone, I had two proper panic attacks before mine.
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