Signup date: 28 Mar 2011 at 9:31pm
Last login: 09 Dec 2012 at 4:31pm
Post count: 451
Hi Pineapple, I returned to the forum today just to check on whether there have been any updates from you! I must say I admire that you're keeping a cool head. I think you're doing the right thing by being proactive without going ballistic on them. As M. Beefy pointed out, you don't want to get on their bad side. Your sups deserve a good telling off - after you get your diploma! Hang in there. I'm crossing my fingers for you!
Hi, Fiona! As you said yourself, you didn't get a fail and that's positive. Sure, it would be nice to be done with it, but you just have a little further to go. One thing I've come to realize is that while every thesis is unique, some areas of research are more challenging than others because the field is rapidly changing, or it's very innovative, or controversial, so you can't really compare your experience to others. Another thing I realized is that the examiners aren't out to get you - to the contrary. The thesis will be published for the whole world to see with your name on it, so they want to give you the opportunity to present the best piece of work possible.
Once you receive the list of comments from the examiners, you should probably go over it with your supervisor to make sure you're both clear about what's going to be done, and then do the same thing (as a checklist) before submitting your final revised manuscript.
It's understandable that you're shocked after having had a good mock viva. I suppose there could be a number of reasons why issues raised during the viva didn't come out. For example, sometimes the supervisor isn't as expert as the examiner in a particular area. Without stepping on your sup's toes, it might be a good idea to keep checking in with the examiners as you revise, and just work as closely as possible with them. (In other words, "When you need to get past the gatekeeper, make the gatekeeper happy.")
If you can, take the weekend off and deal with it on Monday once you're rested. Don't be sad - you're almost there!
Sounds like you gave the rewrite 100% so it's likely you've passed. You did (above and beyond) what was asked for, now it's out of your hands. The wait is excruciating, but if you've made it this far, what's another week-and-a-half? Maybe it's a good idea to keep yourself busy with some things you enjoy - especially things you haven't had time for over these last months.
You may as well correct typos and spelling as you proofread now, but make a list of other mistakes with the page numbers, and bring the list with you to the viva. Also make a list of any "weak points" or shortcomings in your work as well. That way, if the examiners point these out during the viva, you can respond that you're aware of these points. You should definitely share this list with your supervisor prior to the viva.
People have different opinions about whether it's better to wait until the examiners point out flaws or if it's better to preempt them. You should discuss this with your sup. It really depends on the significance of the flaw, and the mood in the room.
Keep in mind that overall, the examiners are concerned with two things: that you know how to do good research, and that the thesis is really your own original work. Good research doesn't mean that your project is perfect; it's more important that you're aware of strengths and weaknesses, and can think critically about your research.
It would not be good use of your time to try to re-write now, since you don't know what kind of corrections you may be asked to do. Try to read through your manuscript so that you can feel comfortable discussing it. If you can, try to get someone other than your sup to listen to you talk about it.
It's amazing the number of bloopers you'll notice at the eleventh hour, but don't let that psych you out! It's pretty typical, I think.
I agree with Docinsanity's recommendation to divide the work into "chunks" and plan the amount of time you will spend on each task every day. I just want to add that you should try to treat the work like a job, starting and ending at a set time each day, with planned breaks. I found the pomodoro technique helpful (http://mytomatoes.com/) whenever I got stuck in an unproductive rut.
If you're having trouble getting motivated, you could "warm up" each morning with some easy tasks, before starting the challenging tasks. (You could also try the reverse: start with the challenging tasks, then reward yourself with easy tasks toward the end of the day.)
Although looking at the PhD project as a whole might work for some, it seems most people, at some point, just feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the thing. If you're at that point, taking it one task at a time, one day at a time - even 25 minutes at a time - might help. Every journey begins with a single step.
The university won't reject your work unless it was plagiarized. They won't give a toss that he made grammatical corrections, and will care even less about your financial affairs.
You could take the matter to small claims court if you feel it's worth the time and energy, or you could cut your losses and never use him again.
Either way, the lesson, going forward, is to put contractual agreements in writing.
Good luck, and sorry you had this mess to deal with.
Was your agreement verbal, or via email? Written documentation of what was mutually agreed upon would resolve the issue. If it was a verbal agreement, unfortunately, you really don't have much proof and should probably just pay him, and never use him again.
I don't think your university will give a toss if he was just proofreading for grammar and punctuation. If the matter escalates to the pont that you must prove it, administrators can simply compare the attachment you sent with the edited attachment he sent you. (I'm assuming you exchanged documents electronically.) If he was writing portions of the manuscript for you (which I hope wasn't the case) that's a problem.
Sorry this happened to you. I hope it all works out.
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