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Dunham
Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 2:12pm
Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 7:25am
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page 1 of 21 recent posts

Thread: Leaving contract with 1 year left to go for Perm?

posted
28-Feb-17, 07:34
edited about 10 seconds later
by Dunham
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posted about 2 years ago
I would not worry about burning bridges. Most people will know how tough the job market in academia is and probably understand your reasons. Employees quit and go for a better job and even professors leave their universities for a better professorship with more funding somewhere else. It causes some problems but that's how it is. They can deal with it.

Thread: UK Scholarships to study in Australia

posted
28-Jan-17, 17:26
edited about 21 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From tru:

.......


Spending time abroad will almost always improve your CV. It shows that you are not afraid of risks, you are flexible, you take initiative when you really want something and you manage to adapt to a new place. All qualities that companies value very much and let's face it: that's where 80% of PhD students will end up. Most (decent) universities have nice scholarships with a travel budget. Most of my friends and colleagues go regularly overseas for conferences. I would bet this is the same in Australia. Everything is so international today that it is absolutely no problem to go back to the UK after a PhD in Australia.

Almost all universities in Australia have a PhD program. Just apply as an international and see what you get. Everything is competitive nowadays. Definitely don't do a PhD without full funding.

Thread: Sick of 2.2 haunting me. Please read and help me understand what I have to do!

posted
14-Jan-17, 22:11
edited about 21 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From csonm:


.......



What have you been doing in the meantime? Did you acquire relevant industry-experience in an R&D department or something similar? Being 10 years completely out of research would be of course a bigger obstacle in a rapidly changing field like biomedical sciences.

Keep in mind how competitive these positions are. Most people that are applying have a bachelor and a master as well, have great references and worked hard. Why would they deserve it less? The system works mostly ok, truth is, there are so many people that want to do a PhD that the market is oversaturated. Often you get a rejection because there is only 1 position available and not because you are inadequate or less capable of doing the job. I was at interviews where the PI told me that there were over 100 applications. The chances are high that there is someone in that huge pool who has research experience that is a little bit more related to the project then mine, that maybe had a reference from a "higher ranked" PI than my supervisors or was simply a better application writer. What does a publication of a student really tell in the end? There are so many students who do a great job and go without their name on a publication and also a lot of students who were just lucky to apply to a lab at the time when this specific project was done that eventually resulted in a nice publication.
I don't get that confidence-thing. We are just talking about sending out applications. It's not like you get rejected in person. You can either definitely never do a PhD or send out applications and may or may not do a PhD. With the latter you have at least a shot, so get out some more applications to increase your chances ;) 12 applications are absolutely nothing. If you would have said 50...I know people with really strong CVs who wrote more applications to get their position so no need to lose hope. Good luck!

Thread: 3 months into my PhD and I'm already thinking about quitting. Am I screwed?

posted
09-Jan-17, 20:50
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 2 years ago
It seems that you have a zillion reasons to quit and the only reason to stay is the fear of what comes next (or doesn't come next). Write in your CV that you started the PhD and realized that it is not for you. When you are just 3 months in this is very plausible and unlikely related to inadequacy or failure. Recruiters are just humans and can relate to something like that ;) However, if you wait and quit after 2 years, you will be probably asked why it took you so long to come to that conclusion. A friend of mine I went to the PhD interviews with quit her PhD this summer after 6 months. Sure, her boss wasn't happy about it, but there was no bad blood afterwards. Another PhD student in my department quit after a year and his boss was a non-tenure-track assistant professor at an early career stage, where losing one of your two PhD students after a year is really a throwback that costs a lot of time (new recruitment process, training of the new student and so on). There was also no bad blood in that case...even a farewell party! I would not be too worried about that. Things like that happen. Most bosses are professional enough to know that.

Think about what you really want (in career AND private life) and find the best compromise to achieve something that makes you happy. No need to suffer through 4 years of PhD only to avoid job search ;) Good luck!

Thread: How blunt should you be with your supervisor?

posted
07-Jan-17, 15:25
edited about 6 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 2 years ago
My advice would be: Just don't take any extra work. It is not your business if the post doc is supposed to take care of a student and doesn't do his job. The student will eventually go to the supervisor and notify him/her of the lack of supervision and the supervisor will have to take care of the issue. I see no reason why you should get involved in the student issue.

Thread: Forgetting what you have read

posted
04-Jan-17, 07:28
edited about 25 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 2 years ago
I think that's normal and you can't avoid it. I started to write down a couple of key points per paper and collect that in a Word file. This way you can read through that file from time to time rather than reading thousands of papers again. You have to be minimalistic though and really reduce it to few key points. It works for me (Biology) but I would assume that this is harder when you study e.g. history or philosophy.

Thread: Switching lab (racial gender minority issue)

posted
30-Dec-16, 19:35
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Personally, I don't really see strong evidence for gender or minority issues in your story and think you are taking the easy way out (at least a little bit).
Speaking in your native language if there is a chance to do so is relatively normal. If you do your PhD in Spain you can't really complain if they talk Spanish to each other even if the result is that you feel excluded. They are your colleagues, not your friends, and as long as they don't refuse to switch to English (usually the lab language) when talking directly to you I see no problem. There is no obligation to include you in their social circle, even though it would be nice if that happens.
Hands-off supervisors are also relatively normal. My bosses never showed me anything in the lab and I also have to take initiative if I want someone of the seniors to show me a technique. They won't come to you ;) Being yelled at when getting something not right at the first attempt is of course not nice, but these kind of people exist almost everywhere. That's something you have to cope with in every workplace so it's good to get used to it.
I would not recommend to switch labs but rather to develop a thicker skin, even though I know that this is an easy thing to say from an outsider's point of view. Switching labs will cost you valuable time and does not really guarantee you any improvement. Maybe your new colleagues would like you better and include you more, maybe they would not.
Hope it's getting better soon!

Thread: Is it still possible? PhD dreams...

posted
05-Dec-16, 17:46
edited about 7 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Hi Emma,

You have nothing to lose by applying for a PhD. I think you should contact your first boss and ask if he is prepared to give a reference if contacted - you are only hearing it second hand that he is angry with you, and maybe he is, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't give you a good reference.

Yep, put down HR as your other reference, unless it states academic. Just put down a colleague if you have to.

Yes you have a 2.2, but you have a wealth of experience which should counteract that. You don't need a masters.

Personally, I doubt it matters. References often aren't requested until you have been given the PhD after a successful interview, so start applying now and worry about references later.


Most applications require two, sometimes even three references and I doubt that you get invited without them. At the Universities I was so far no one was invited to an interview before the references were there and ok. Otherwise you invite people for interviews, pay travel expenses and so on for nothing.

I agree that there is generally nothing to lose, but on the other hand there is also not so much to win. The chances are basically 0 that you could continue in research after the PhD given the extremely competitive field, your age (no offense) , lacking masters degree and a low bachelor grade. I know that there are people here who were in their 40s when they started and found a job but those people are usually rather the exception. I think the chances are high that you are afterwards forced to apply for the same technician jobs but this time you will have a much harder time to get them (overqualified, will look for something else as soon as possible etc.). Don't want to discourage you and I am not doubting that you can do it, but I would really do some thinking if this PhD is the best way to achieve whatever you desire in terms of a private life and career. It is not as if there would be someone in academia or industry waiting for people with a PhD in Biology...
As a student, I could never understand how technicians could work in a University Lab and see all these students around you getting a PhD. Now that I am a PhD student myself and see where the Post Docs are going after their Phds, it is not looking that bad anymore. Again, don't want to discourage you, just want to make sure that there are no wrong expectations about the job opportunities with a PhD. If it is just about the PhD experience and having the title then go for it. Apply for positions and consider a part-time PhD (maybe easier to get). Maybe you are lucky. Good luck!

Thread: Worried they will ask me to leave PhD

posted
30-Nov-16, 17:28
edited about 7 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Stop crying and learn the stuff you should already know ;) That's everything you can do at the moment. If they want you to leave they will tell you. Nothing you could do about that. I guess it depends a bit on how severe your lack of knowledge is. Are we talking about skills you can acquire in a couple of weeks or does it take a lot of time? I guess most PhD students were already in the situation that they were using a method or a machine and couldn't answer properly how it works in details. For example, if you are doing q-PCRs and your supervisors realizes that you don't understand how the method works (e.g. you are just following a protocol and never bothered how it works), they will be disappointed and tell you that this is not acceptable but it is not a huge problem. If they however think that you are lacking the whole statistics basis, then this might be a bigger problem for a big data project as you can't catch up on that in 2 or 3 weeks.

If they were fine with your work so far they will probably not fire you immediately. Just focus on closing these knowledge gaps. Much more important than the review. Good luck!

Thread: Maintenance funding for European student for a PhD in the UK

posted
21-Nov-16, 19:35
edited about 41 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Colm:
Hi everyone,
I am a French student and I'm looking for a PhD. I have found several positions in the UK but there's always the eligibility criteria for funding "Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship.This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences)". As I haven't live in the UK for 3 years, I'm not eligible for most fundings. Do you have any idea of where I could apply for a scholarship for stipend ?
Thanks !


There are not many options. You can contact group leaders directly or you can look for advertised positions that are open to everyone (no matter if you are from Brazil, Australia or Russia). The ones for British and European students almost always have the residence criterium. There were several threads about this already.

Thread: Competition instead of Collaboration

posted
19-Nov-16, 13:08
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From pm133:
Quote From Bah:
Thank you so much for all your kind and supportive responses! It feels so GREAT to see there are some people who care about my feelings. I truly appreciate it. To give you some details, we are students in the US and not the UK, so the social setting is mostly racist by nature.


Whoa that is quite a leap! Because it's the US it's mostly racist BY NATURE? You can't talk about racism and then make blanket judgements like that.

Having people who were friends suddenly stop talking to you is unfortunate but in itself isn't proof of racism.

Can you give us some explicit examples where you are clearly experiencing racism? That might help us to understand what you are facing.


But this victim role makes life so easy :) Let's be honest, what else could it be? MUST be racism or sexism. As we all know these are basically the only two things that make us dislike certain people ;)

Thread: Competition instead of Collaboration

posted
08-Nov-16, 07:07
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
You wrote in another thread that you are married, have a twelve year-old daughter, work in an elementary school and so on. Could it be just the age-difference and the fact that you only work part-time? As the typical UK PhD student is usually relatively young, it wouldn't really surprise me if they have more in common with other PhD students at a similar life stage. They are often not just colleagues, but also close friends. Maybe they just want to stay among themselves? Not saying that this isn't rude behavior, but I think it is much more likely than discrimination or jealousy. Especially in the early 20s some people can still be quite immature. I remember a thread where someone that was doing a PhD in his late 40s also wrote that he had a hard time in the department and was excluded of many things mainly because he was over 20 years older than the other PhD students.

Thread: Academic/lecturing prospects in the humanities - UK

posted
07-Nov-16, 07:52
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
The chances that you land a job in academia are probably very, very low (not many opportunities and your age will make it really hard). If you are interested in pursuing a PhD then I would definitely go part-time

Thread: Experiments for thesis

posted
01-Nov-16, 19:51
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From ZaoRazor:
Hi everyone,


Quote From TreeofLife:
Replication is a key part of a reliable scientific study, so try not to see it as not adding anything to your thesis, rather it's making your thesis stronger.


I completely agree. I'm not against replications in any way.. but it's a nuisance - especially if you're a PhD student



It depends in what field you are working. In natural sciences you will most likely never publish something that wasn't confirmed in 2-3 independent repetitions of an experiment. Maybe that is different in social sciences/humanities.
If that is odd for your field I would submit it somewhere else.

Thread: 1 year after defense, still unemployed

posted
25-Oct-16, 11:57
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Mattfabb:
Quote From Dunham:
Quote From Mattfabb:
But really, Wallace, 'ruined your life'? I may be technically unemployed, but I am so happy to have my PhD..


Why? I can totally relate to that thought. Maybe it makes it easier for you to accept that things didn't turn out as you planned if you keep telling yourself how great that PhD degree is but you must really be incredibly idealistic to not come to the conclusion that this was maybe not the best decision. Can still turn out alright, but the thought itself is pretty normal. Some people want things like a family, a house or vacation and none of them you get with a PhD. You get it with a paying job.


The point I was trying to make is that before the PhD, the best I could hope for was some rather badly paid job in my field. Now that I am looking for a lecturing position, the starting salaries are something else altogether. Of course I am still freelancing as I need to, but I know its only a matter of time before I get the position I want. In the meantime, I keep publishing and giving guest lectures. It's not idealistic, I feel, to be proud of your achievements.


Might be the case in your specific field. In Biology however, you have often way more chances to get into a company and then be promoted to well-payed jobs than trying to get one of the few positions that actually demand a PhD.

Maybe you'll never get a lecturer position and be a freelancer the rest of your life. Who knows? What makes you so sure that this is just a matter of time? Tenure track? Tons of people never get the position even though they are trying. Publishing is btw nearly impossible as an unemployed biologist. You need a lab to create data. Even the bioinformaticians need at least funds and the kind of data access only a University or company can provide. You can maybe get some unpublished results out, but that's it.
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