Signup date: 28 Sep 2011 at 6:51am
Last login: 27 Apr 2022 at 6:50pm
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Tudor, I feel your pain, and I am not saying that your supervisor will write you a brilliant reference. I don't write here very often now. But I read when I can. I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. This is why I felt I had to write something. I have been there before you. What I am trying to say is that actually, you do have more than you think to lose. I don't know your situation in detail, but from the reaction of your current supervisor, I gather that your former sups have a lot of influence. If you openly put yourself against them, it is likely that there will be some form of retaliation. I have seen this happening before, and I can tell you it's never the PG student that comes out well from these kind of situations.
Hi Tudor, my two pence of wisdom. I think that you have quite a lot to lose. Your supervisors are part of a wider network, and you know very well that research specialism often means that only a very small number of people research in a certain area. So, cutting off the connection in that way would not just be matter of saying good bye to your sup. Also, even if you are not planning a career in academia, their reference - or a reference by somebody they know - might be needed anyway. Nowadays you cannot even apply for voluntary work without references. It's unfair, it's unjust, it's tough, but I agree with Pjlu, it is part of learning to deal with difficult people, and you find them also outside academia.
I agree with TreeofLife and I would add that this is a pretty common situation. Some supervisors are very hands on, but many are not. There is a lot of pressure on academics nowadays to deliver on different fronts and there is only so much that anyone can do.
It is hard for a student and understandably disheartening at times. However, the nature of a PhD is different from an undergraduate or taught PG degree and requires a high degree of independence. You are effectively project managing your research and of course all sorts of problems can come your way: personal, health, family etc.
So, the challenge, it is to learn to navigate through these problems and achieve your objectives in the most effective and least damaging/ problematic way. Sometimes it will require to negotiate a deadline, some other times to ask colleagues for help or take full responsibility and get on with something without support.
It may sound scary, but actually, if you think about it, it is very empowering.
Dear appleby, first of all congratulations! Secondly, what you are experiencing is pretty normal. Don't fight against it. I had a baby in the middle of my PhD and although I didn't have nausea I definitely had the dormouse syndrome!
If you feel that you cannot be in control and sustain a viva, you should speak to your supervisor immediately and ask whether is possible to postpone the viva for a few weeks. It shouldn't be a problem.
However, the symptoms you are experiencing may be over in a matter of days, so if you think that you can go ahead as planned do not dwell too much on small details.
I don't know which field you are in, but you surely know your thesis better than anyone else. I can tell you that I got none of the questions I had thought prior to my viva - and I passed anyway. So, take stock of the work you have done and be confident.
Good luck on all fronts!
Choosing the right examiners is not only important for the outcome of your viva, but also because they might provide you with references in the future. My external examiner acted as my first referee on several occasions, and I think that it makes a huge difference if you have a reference from a high profile academic rather than from a young scholar.
Unfortunately this kind of behavior is more common than we think, particularly in academia. Maybe they see you as a threat to their position, or maybe they are just insecure or jealous, who knows. Perhaps they come from a common social and cultural background and they are not prepared to let anyone else in their group.
On the one hand you must grow a thick skin, because you find people like that in every area of society. On the other you need to think very carefully what you are doing there and what you want to take away from this experience. You are there to learn and give your contribution to that research group. Hopefully you will build a network that might be useful for your future research. If you manage to build up a friendship, it would be wonderful, but this is not a given and definitely not the point of the exercise.
I came across people like that many times and in different environments. So, my advice is: do not try hard to fit in. Keep it simple and professional. Usually people with that attitude auto-eliminate themselves from the scene pretty quickly.
When you have a meeting prepare yourself as well as you can. When you have something to say, do so, gently, but firmly. Often it is just enough to say: I would like to add....if you don't mind. You don't need to sound sarcastic, or to shout, but you need to be assertive.
It might be hard the first few times, but then with time you will earn their respect if you bring something useful to the group, and the rest will follow.
with regards to building friendships: I would suggest that you look at your mates very carefully - what ideas/ values/ behaviors do they share (other than ignoring you)? Are you prepared to conform to or give in to some of them? If they behave as you said, maybe it is better to look somewhere else!
My two pence of advice: there is no rule, but there is what works for you and your family. From what you describe it appears that your relationship is imbalanced in his favor. There are many relationships like this and ultimately, if you are both happy with your arrangements it shouldn't be an issue for anybody else.
The point though is that you feel under pressure and find difficult to cope with the current workload. So, I think that you need to talk frankly with your husband about why your study is so important to you and find common grounds on which you can re-calibrate your relationship in a way that works better for you and is fair to both.
It is possible that your husband feels threatened by your newly acquired independence and the fact that you are going to spend more time away from the family. We can discuss forever whether this is right or wrong - we don't know anything about them! - the only thing that will lead to a balanced solution is dialogue.
I totally agree with Gwen86. I would also add that wherever you are doing your PG studies, it is hugely important how you relate to colleagues and especially your supervisor. The network that you build there and then can affect the potential outcome of your studies and your chances to establish an academic career. Your supervisor will be the person that will provide you with references and should support you in finding opportunities etc. So, ultimately it is really down to you to decide whether this is a challenge that you want to take on, and if your fears are really dictated by what you perceive to be a hostile environment or if you have difficulties in building relationships.
I would look at how other authors reference them. Usually for Ashgate is Aldershot, while Yale University Press uses two: New Haven and London.
I agree with Hugh. Counselling services at unis are usually very busy and under staffed, so if you need support you will probably have to look somewhere else.
Having to withdraw from your PhD pretty much at the last minute was a huge knock to your confidence and it is normal to feel disappointed and at loss about what to do next.
You need to elaborate what happened and regain focus on what you want to do next.
Also, your colleagues might avoid you simply because they don't know what to say or how to help. But if you want to pursue your dream of working in academia, I would speak to your supervisor again and talk through your options here and now.
I very much agree with who says that we cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude to it. This is why getting support is so important.
Hello Zoya, I can really sympathize with you. Doing a PhD and juggling family commitments is not easy even if your kids are healthy, I can only imagine the pressure that you must have felt at the time. I would only like to suggest to learn to be kind to yourself, because if you don't why should any one else?
You have gone through very difficult times, but now you can start to do something for yourself. Withdrawing from your PhD was only one step in the very long path of life!
There is so much more that you can do, but whatever you choose, try to be realistic about the time/ commitment that you need to put into it, and then go for it!
I very much agree with your supervisor that publishing your research in a high impact journal is important - and I would add that it might open you some doors in academia.
If you decide to look for jobs it is important that you elaborate what happened and that you feel confident in the way you articulate the situation to your prospective employer. You have done research at postgraduate level, that you had to discontinue for family reasons. You have learnt a number of skills that will are potentially very attractive for a future employer, but ultimately it is down to you to sell them. You can make it!
Yes, usually these kind of projects stem from the participation in conferences/ seminars etc. although these papers might not necessarily be published as conference proceedings, but take the form of edited books that include ad-hoc/ commissioned essays as well.
Taking part in conferences, organize sessions, making your work known to the wider audience, and networking, are always the best ways to have a chance to be part of these publications.
Sometimes you can find call for publications on the web sites of research institutions.
Depending in which field you work, you can also be the editor of a volume: approach a publisher/ prepare a publication proposal and invite scholars in your field to be part of it.
So sorry to hear your story. Having had a bad experience with my supervisor myself I can easily understand your feelings. I did manage to complete and get my PhD, but this is because I was a mature student and had enough experience of life to deal with the situation/ person. I am not sure what the outcome would have been if I were in my twenties.
Be kind to yourself. Sadly people like your supervisor can be found anywhere, but now you are much more able to deal with them, should something similar happen again. What I learned is that dealing with difficult people is a skill that it is vital to acquire if you don't want to spend the rest of your life feeling overwhelmed and bitter.
I understand why you don't want to hang out with your old friends - there is little friendship in academia to start with, and people will always support the "winner". This is actually a good thing because it enables you to start afresh.
I think that although the implications of what happened might have an impact on your future choices, you still have many options in front of you - although they may not be evident at the moment.
Sickranbing, it is good that you can express your anger and concerns for the future. It is pretty normal to feel disappointed and at loss about what to do next, when you get rejections etc. But the good thing is that you are in charge! Some people get great cards to play with, others have to struggle to achieve their goals, but ultimately it is you that play the game. You can decide the direction you want to take and how much of your energy, time and effort you want to invest into building up your future. You can have good moments and bad moments, but in the big scheme of things this is just that, one moment. So, do not lose heart.
Academic writing is a skill that you acquire with lots of practice, time and patience. Usually universities offer academic writing courses to their PGs, and it should be free. You can check with your student learning services. Don't be discouraged - I know that it is not easy, especially if you don't enjoy writing, but you can improve if you keep trying and you get a bit of guidance.
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