Signup date: 17 Sep 2021 at 12:37pm
Last login: 18 Sep 2021 at 6:08pm
Post count: 5
Not to be funny or anything but it does say right there on the government website that you're not eligible if you already have a Masters degree or equivalent. I take that fairly unequivocally to mean that a non-UK MA makes you ineligible.
It's great that you have time-consuming hobbies on the side. That's very healthy. Nurture them while you can. You will find your workload ramps up towards the end, and then once you submit, it's all change and likely a stressful period ahead. The PhD can be a very valuable time to prepare for that by treating yourself well, developing healthy approaches to work, and nurturing those other interests to the extent that, when you finish and go into the hellscape of early-career research, you'll still feel compelled to make time for them even when things are really busy.
If everybody thinks you're doing well, and you're not being dramatically under-supervised, then I'd advise to keep on trucking. Get the PhD finished and after that you can hopefully focus on research that's more interesting to you. Enjoy the relative abdundance of downtime while you can.
I can't speak to the other stuff about your supervisor and witholding contacts etc., that's all very strange. Maybe they are concerned that you focus on your work, maybe they are scheming and being deliberately evasive. However, my main point is don't feel bad for not working more if you're making good progress. You probably have a better-adjusted approach to work than your colleagues and peers, and that will serve you well in the long run.
Long time lurker, made an account to respond to this.
I think you're fine. I submitted in August and have my viva at the start of next month. Never during my PhD did I work a solid 40 hours a week (although many many weeks did I sit at my desk and waste time for 40 hours). 1st through 3rd year my workload was honestly quite relaxed, and I did other extracurricular things alongside - teaching qualification, big academic admin role to help with career stuff, plus a lot of cycling and bikepacking! During my 4th year it really intensified and I did the lion's share of my writing, but I don't think I was touching 40 hours of work at all. That's normal, I think. The majority of posts on here are horror stories and people going through serious problems, but I think for a lot of people (if not most) the PhD can be an enjoyable experience where you get to read a lot and work to a relatively relaxed schedule. Don't get me wrong - it's still been hugely psychologically stressful (for many of the reasons you described) - but I haven't worked my fingers to the bone.
I'm in social sciences rather than STEM so my experience re: supervision and project will have been very different to yours, but I think it's also very normal to not be excited about your project. As I finished my thesis, I really felt that I'd gone as far as I could with my research topic, and I'm now drafting up a big postdoc bid on something that's different but related - and which I'm actually really excited about. The PhD is an apprenticeship, essentially, to prove you can do research. I think anyone who's still absolutely mad about their PhD project after 4 years of work on it is either lying or has a screw loose. I've submitted a thesis which I'm pleased with and proud of, but it doesn't excite me like it did in 2017.
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