Signup date: 28 Mar 2011 at 9:31pm
Last login: 09 Dec 2012 at 4:31pm
Post count: 451
Same as Natassia and Bewildered: great department staff! In fact, every time I'm on campus and drop in, they make me feel at home. They even popped open a bottle of champagne after my viva because "another one of ours" had passed. Many of the dept. staff members are alumni, or studying part-time at the uni, so that may explain the sense of camaraderie and simpatico.
Some of the central staff are sometimes moody and impolite, but there's a back story: they're routinely treated unfairly by their "superiors", and I know that a few of them also have pretty difficult situations at home. I don't think they mean to take it out on students.
One thing I might have done differently is I wish I had either taken clearer notes, or asked the examiners permission to tape record the viva. Although I took copious notes, I was very nervous, and trying to listen to five people at once was challenging. Deciphering my chicken scratch a few days later was a bit time-consuming, and frustrating. (At my uni, the examiners are required to type up comments only if the outcome is revise and resubmit.) Although I was able to recall the minor revisions requested, they made a lot of other helpful comments - I just couldn't wrap my head around everything at that moment. It's my understanding that there's no rule against recording at most unis, but it's good etiquette to ask first.
Good luck in October!
Your post was cut off because it exceeded the word count, but it sounds like you're trying to decide whether to stay in the program, continue elsewhere, or request a formal investigation regarding your department chair's actions. I do hope you'll continue the post so that people on the forum can make suggestions, if you think that will be helpful.
Have you spoken to anyone in disability services, or your academic supervisor about this?
The right reasons for staying in a program will differ from person to person. Personally, I think the decision to continue should have something to do with passion for the subject, personal fulfillment, and the intellectual rigor of the experience. Like anything worthwhile in life, there will be rough patches and self-doubt, but in the end, it's the passion for learning that pulls you through.
A lot of people base big decisions in life - marriage, children, PhD, career, etc. - on image (prestige) or trying to please family. I'm not saying it's wrong to make others happy. What I mean is it's wrong to spend a huge part of your life doing something just because you're afraid of disappointing an academic supervisor, or relatives, or just for the "Doctor" title. If that's the case, you're not a person, you're a marionette.
There's also the self-confidence issue...At some point, most PhD students have doubts about their abilities, regardless of how well they've done in their academic careers. I think people forget that the PhD is a training exercise - similar to military Boot Camp, or sports training - where you're whipped into shape so that you're ready to take on the rigors of academic life. The experience is meant to make you emotionally and intellectually stronger, so to speak.
You questioned whether stress and depression are a normal part of the experience. In my opinion, the stress is normal. Most things that are challenging will be stressful at some point. As for depression, too many people use the word casually. There's a big difference between feeling a bit down in the mouth, and clinical depression. The latter is a medical condition, and in many cases isn't even triggered by adversity; a clinically depressed person can feel depressed for no apparent reason. I think people who suffer from clinical depression or bipolar should take steps to make sure they have professional support in place before beginning a PhD program. Most unis provide such services to grad students.
You also asked about regrets...The only thing I regret about my experience is that I think I should have taken a leave of absence during a period when I really needed to sort out some difficult issues in my personal life. My sup told me it would be difficult to get back into the program if I left, but in retrospect, I have doubts. I think if a student has very good reasons for requesting a leave of absence it's fine. If it's a flimsy excuse such as feeling tired, or trying to balance full-time work with studies, that's usually not acceptable.
Overall, I think you posed a very good question, because in many societies the idea of "quitting" is frowned upon, but there are times when it's pragmatic and sensible (Diana Nyad is a good example). If a student is letting himself off the hook due to lack of confidence, or fear of embarrassment, it's not a good reason to quit a PhD program. If a student is hanging on just to please others, it's not a good reason to pursue a PhD program either. It really boils down to being honest with yourself, and true to your convictions.
Hey there! I don't know what the academic schedule is like at your uni, but at mine June - August is slow, and most people are either on holiday or leaving the office earlier. That may explain the delay if it's similar where you are. I've been following your threads, and just want to say, "well done" regardless the outcome. Your tenacity and hard work is admirable - outstanding, really! (up)
It's not much money, so it really depends upon how much you need. Do you have other stipend or grant money coming in? If not, are the TA hours flexible and/or leave enough room to earn money doing something else? Also, is a TA position something that will help your CV? Will you get to teach some classes, or will you be spending a lot of time photocopying?
Thanks for asking - I recently finished my PhD program, so I can't purchase a single-user license at a student discount. I didn't realize there is such a huge difference in price.
There are some projects I would like to work on from home. I don't think I can still access the campus labs as an alumni.
Congratulations on starting your PhD program, and your new baby! In my academic department, a number of students were pregnant, new mothers, and single mothers, and they made it through their programs just fine. At my uni, there was an on-campus peer support network for new mothers, as well as a pre-k/day care facility. Perhaps you could inquire in the student services department, or health services department to see if anything like that is available. Since your scenario has changed, grad school isn't going to be exactly the way you initially imagined. That doesn't mean it won't be successful and exciting - it will be, but just different from the image you had in your mind.
I don't know if I would define the grad school demographic as "carefree." Unlike undergraduates, many grad students are married, dealing with ageing parents, jobs, mortgages, health issues, etcetera. Sure, there always are a few fortunate people who have the luxury of focusing solely on themselves, but it's not a horse race or competition. If you focus too much on what you think you're missing, you won't enjoy what you have.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest