Signup date: 09 Dec 2007 at 10:20am
Last login: 31 Jan 2014 at 3:43pm
Post count: 206
Firstly, you are not alone. Many, many people on this forum have had the same experience to you. I could have written word-for-word much of your post towards the end of the first year of my PhD! (I am nearly finished my PhD now.)
Second thing, does your institution have a formal progress check? For example, I had to `upgrade' from MPhil to PhD student status. This formal check with examiners who are not your supervisor is one way to find out if you have done sufficient in your first year. That way, you can get some objectivity about your progress. From what little you have written, I would side with your supervisor and wager that you are getting there and you are doing just fine.
The emotional challenges of a PhD are harder to tackle. Do you have some support in real life with this? e.g. someone who has done a PhD who you could talk to, or your university's counselling service? (I used both of these during my PhD.)
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What discipline are you? If you are in mathematical or computational science, you will find that LaTeX is more-or-less expected. There is a learning curve with LaTeX but once you get the hang of it it takes no more time than something like Word. I use LaTeX for most of my work.
I have Word for Mac which I use for collaborating, something LaTeX is not designed for. Word for Mac is better than Open Office which I found tended to chew up the formatting of any document created in MS Office. I never tried using Word for Mac with a large document but you could split a very large document (such as your thesis) into individual chapters - probably sensible to do this whatever you use.
I use Papers and think this is brilliant but I don't have experience of using the others. Papers has iPhone/iPad apps so you can sync your library to your mobile device and read pdfs on the bus :$ (I don't know if the others have this facility.) You can download a free 30-day trial of Papers and see how you go, you can always export your library out of Papers if you decide not to use it. I think Papers is like "iTunes for papers" so if you are already a Mac user you might find you feel at home.
We didn't buy in the end, but we did get an offer of a mortgage after explaining our situation to a broker who found the loan for us. This was after the crash had happened, but like Blackbyrd we had a guarantor who could show on paper that he could take on the debt if we failed to pay. So if you are keen then I second Blackbyrd as this being an option to explore.
Just to add to what everyone else has said, really
1) Yes it is possible, I know a couple of people who managed it in three years or even slightly less. The two that come to mind immediately were both absolutely determined to complete within three years - that was one of their main aims. It certainly made them focused!
I know many more who began writing up after three years and submitted in three and a half to four years. They either had savings to live off (in which case writing up tended to be quicker, because they could write up full-time, and because they were motivated finish writing up so they could get a job), or they got a job and wrote up around that. I know one girl who did bar work whilst she was writing up (not actually at the same time!) and several who took post-doc or research assistant jobs in the lab where they did their PhD, which is convenient because it means you still have access to your supervisor.
I think it does depend on the discipline. If you are super-anxious about this issue, you could do some background reading (ask your sup for suggestions) between now and October if you need to and you have the time!
2) I call my supervisor by her first name and always did, if you are at all unsure just ask how your supervisor would prefer to be addressed.
As others have said, congratulations on getting your PhD place and good luck with it!
OK I didn't know you were a (clinical) doctor! I imagine that in clinical practice these databases are not the first port of call for information (although who knows, maybe they will be in the future).
There is a lot of interesting research on genetics and psychiatric diseases (she says, going off-topic slightly).
Good luck with your essay and with your MSc!
Is this your first essay, Drjydo? Have you had any help with referencing?
To be honest, for an essay of that length you can get away with doing the references "by hand" instead of using reference manager software, unless you prefer to use a special software for references - something which becomes very useful when you have a bigger piece of work (an MSc thesis for example).
Your university probably offers some guidance on references - for example my uni does via the library.
Here is a hint: Some bioinformatics databses contain information other than "DNA sequence information" - for example, protein structure information or gene expression information...you really want to narrow your answer down to DNA sequence information in the major databases, and in an essay that length you will not have space to write about all of them. Perhaps find two or three and compare them, discussing accessing each and what they contain? You also want to include some information on disease too - do you have any clinician friends you can ask how and if they use these sorts of databases?
That sounds like an awful place to be in.
As your username reminds me, your pregnancy is likely having a significant effect on your mood.
Do you have someone other than your supervisor you can explain your problems to? It seems to me that you are taking on an awful lot! Perhaps a female ear (ideally a mother herself) would be able to listen to you and help you make a plan to get through the final push (no pun intended!)
Are you taking a MSc in Bioinformatics? If so, you should have had some lectures (or been given some reading material) on databases as they are an important feature of practical Bioinformatics these days.
For a starting point you could do worse than here:
Although this list does not give you an indication of the relative importance of the databases therein - it is more of a "laundry list". Do you have any indication of which might be your profs' favourite databases?
You're on a roll, go with it (Like DanB, I work in fits and starts and know how valuable those rolls are.)
Don't forget to "bank" your bank holiday (geddit?) for the next time you are feeling frustrated* and in need of a well-deserved break.
*Not that I am suggesting that this in inevitable! :p
Wow! That's quite a diverse range of interests. Those are not really my fields, do you know where the biggest names in those fields are? Whose work interests you?
I was thinking a bit more about your post - you might have to re-evaluate your views of "Best = Oxbridge, Rest = everyone else" when you are making your decisions...
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