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Need a kick!

I'm not in the same boat, but have you tried the Pomodoro technique to help manage your efficient work time? It's basically where you work for 25m solid (no distractions) and then break for 5. It's a good way to get a good 50m work done per hour and use the breaks for a quick email/facebook check and to mess around.

Besides that, I was always driven by lists. A list of each chapter and then what needed done to each, which I could tick off as I went along, making myself feel I was achieving something. A bit like what you have suggested of breaking up manageable chunks.

You will get it done, you just have to find your way of getting yourself going.

The strange post-PhD year (or more) - what did/will you do?

I had my viva last summer and graduated in November. I started applying for academic jobs once I had submitted, and had a few interviews, but the feedback was always that someone else was more experience, more discipline specific, or had more publications than me.

So I took a maternity cover role in a public sector research department which has been really good for me. It's been good experience, and I'm building on my research skills. I've taken some evening teaching at a local Uni and I've published two journals since I graduated. I will be hunting again soon though, and I don't know how that will go.

So, like others, I'd suggest looking within and out with academia for now. There are research posts in so many places, and keeping your hand in with research is a good idea if you want to make the move to academia later on. You sound like you have a good CV, but it is terribly competitive out there, so it's a matter of right place right time sometimes.

Good luck with it!

Conference posters with no results?

Hi Magdatrix,

I think it is fairly common for posters to be just of the initial stages to demonstrate your plans and thinking. You don't have much time to create one, but there are plenty of templates and examples on various University websites. I found these useful when making mine up.

It will be taken into account that you are a first year when the posters are judged, as they won't directly compare you to a third year who is almost finished. A good poster can be made of your topic, initial reading, any conceptual framework as a visual and then your future plans. It's actually harder to do a poster once you have data as you then have to be more selective of what you include/exclude!

Hope this helps, someone more techie might be able to help with the actual detail, although I think I created mine as a powerpoint slide as it made it easier to create text boxes and visuals.

Current students buddying new students...

We had a similar thing in our institution and I only met my 'mentor' once. I got most of my support from the people who were in the office (a bit like you!). I think they are an attempt from the department to provide a means of support, but in practice it really depends on how seriously the role is taken, and who is in the department to help out with inquiries!

Major Changes to Thesis. Can't Really Face It

Corrections are hard to do. I think once you have mentally closed something off (to submit), it's really hard to start working on it again. I think you've been given good advice above, I found the list technique really useful. I took a few weeks off post viva to recuperate and then got straight in. My three months corrections took me two weeks.

Get corrections from examiner
Reformat into a list or table
Identify quick wins and bits that will take longer
Arrange an order to do them in that makes sense, e.g. I left page numbering, index, referencing and similar issues to the end once everything to be added was in
Alternate quick wins and harder tasks so you are making progress
Tick things off as you go
Write down everything you do as you go - use this in your response to the examiner
Final proof read/pagination etc.
Enjoy the feeling of being finished!

How long did you wait from submission to viva?

I was three months between submission and viva. Seems fairly typical.

How long to spend on preparing for Viva?

I think it's less a case of time spent, as a case of being ready to answer the likely questions!

Does your institution offer Viva prep training? We had a handout given that listed likely questions and I used that to prep. It was similar material to the viva prep books that you will find in your uni library. So for example:

Why did you do a PhD?
Why this PhD?
What would you do differently?
Why this methodology?
What are the implications of your findings?
What's changed in the field?
What next?

So refreshing your memory on why you made decisions at each stage. You have time in the viva to flick through the thesis, so it isn't a memory test of what you wrote. Be ready to answer questions on what and why, including if you would do things differently in hindsight.

When to write acknowledgements?

I wrote mine into my full final draft, e.g the last draft to go to my supervisor before it was submitted. I actually found it one of the most difficult parts to write, but in some ways leaving it to the end felt good!

PhD or new job conondrum

If the job is for 12 months, I might be tempted to take it and do a PhD after. If you are being offered funding for a PhD now, you can probably also get it in the future.

Transfer Viva coming up, was given negative outlook, need advice

Just to add to the already good advice you've been given - is there training at your institution for upgrade events? If so, maybe try to get along?

Otherwise, is there someone (or more than one) in your department who have successfully navigated the upgrade recently (or with the same committee). Can you have a coffee with them to get tips? I found actually the best help was from fellow students a year or so above me who had been through the process. Having access to someone elses report, just for structure/content can be massively reassuring that you have done a lot and you are on the right track. I've always found other students to be helpful allies in situations like this.

Proof Reading Services Needed in UK

Quote From kelpie:
I would strongly recommend the Society for Editors and Proofreaders if you want "tried and tested" and "professional". This is the professional body for proofreaders and editors in the UK and filters out a lot of the people who think "I can spot typos" and set themselves up as proofreaders with little or no proper training. You can search the SfEP directory here:

I would second this advice, our University trainers advise students to use a registered professional. It will be important to get a price upfront and ensure they have a good understanding of what you want.

Early quit from PhD program

A month is quite a short time to experience the department. What is the supervision like?

I think you would need to have another PhD in place before leaving, and a good explanation of why you were moving to another opportunity. Do some research on where you could go, but bear in mind that it might look bad to drop out after one month.

It's been a long week... a bit of a rant

I think you need to step back a bit and regroup. Speak to your supervisors about your data and get a handle on what you need to do to get through. Decide what you need to achieve and try to set mini deadlines to keep yourself on track. Stop working 7 days, you aren't doing your health any good. Try to cut back to 5 days but with manageable targets. Find something to do to take you away from your work on the days off - go out, cinema, walking, anything to take your mind off it. You will benefit from time away, don't feel bad for needing and taking a break.

Look after yourself, that's the most important thing. You won't get anywhere if you work yourself to the bone. Don't worry about explaining the length of time on your thesis, everyone is different and employers know this.

Good luck getting some breathing space :-)

PhD embarrassment

Quote From Clupea:
one of the master's students later confided in me that the three master's students had initially thought us Ph.D.'s were snooty and full of ourselves because we introduced ourselves as doctoral students at each of our many meetings with NGOs and other organizations.

I find this attitude quite irritating. It isn't reasonable to claim that its snooty just to state the job you're currently doing. I haven't come across PhD students who are snooty about it, it wouldn't accord with the perennial state of 'its all going wrong and am I going to fail?'. Being a doctoral student is not something to be ashamed of or that there should be a need to cover up yet negative reactions occur often enough that dodging the issue and just saying 'student' or some equivalent seems the safest response.

I agree. My experience of other phd-ers I've met on here and in real life is that most of us are having lots of ups and downs, I've never met anyone snooty.

I've started saying I'm studying business. Quite generic and understandable and if further questions are asked I explain more. I've had people react strangely to saying I'm a PhD, some of the stunned silence, some of the oh you must be clever stuff, I tend to find that people who don't know much about the University system are the ones who react strangely. People who know what a PhD is, or have one themselves are more likely to want to hear more about what you are doing etc.

First meeting with supervisors

I would go for 10 minutes myself. Then they can ask questions if they want more detail. My supervisors have never asked for anything as formal, but they wouldn't want to listen to a long presentation!

Make sure you cover all the key points, e.g. key authors, methods, ideas, timeline, and whatever else is relevant. Basically show you have given things thought, even if it is a guess at the moment, it shows you have grasped the importance of planning.