Signup date: 12 Jan 2015 at 3:24pm
Last login: 08 Jun 2016 at 1:31pm
Post count: 43
Thanks very much for the helpful replies - I think it is so easy to forget what things are like when you are writing up. :-) I stopped by his place the other night, with dinner already mostly prepared, cooked while he went for a run, quickly ate with him, took the dishes with me and left him to get right back into it - and I could tell he really appreciated it. It really is the little things. I'll try and do more practical stuff like that, and for the rest just not distract him Thanks again to all of you and all the best with the PhDs!
I finished my PhD (social sciences) last year. My new-ish boyfriend (5 months) is on the brink of going into the writing up phase of his PhD (hard sciences). I want to support him, but our experiences are quite different because our fields are so different. I want to find out if you guys can share some tips on how you like to be supported, or what I can do to help/encourage - keeping in mind that I do not reeeeally understand the challenges specific to his study. I try to listen as best I can, but he withdraws when he becomes really stressed. My main obstacles are that we don not live together (or even close together - in fact I'm about to move quite far away - think a 2 hour flight) so small things like making tea/coffee/dinner etc are not that easy/simple. Being a post-doc also means money is quite tight for me at the moment - making lost of gifts/surprises a little difficult as well. Oh and because we haven't been together that long, I guess there is that struggle of trying to not take it personally when he is stressed/distant/just being weird.
Anyway, any advice would be fantastic and much appreciated. Thank you!
It's not a final report from the examiners, they have to submit a report pre-viva so that the uni knows that all examiners agree that a viva should be held (it is possible to fail outright). More serious issues will come up at the viva, and depending on how you address (defend) them, it might become minor/major corrections or R&R. But let's hope not, my supervisors seem to think it should be okay. :-)
You might remember me from my frantic posting about my last minute submission of my PhD. :) Thanks again, btw, for the support.
I thought I might update everyone who was rooting for me.
So.. I submitted my dissertation, went on leave for a week and then life returned to normal. I was told I shouldn't expect any feedback for 6 weeks, so I put it out of my mind. On some level I thought I should start preparing for the viva, but honestly I couldn't face it..
I fell seriously ill and was out of the office for almost a month. In that time my reports from the examiners came back, but I was mostly too sick to care. Luckily they seemed mostly positive with only minor suggestions that would have to be addressed before the viva.
I came back to work this week, finished the revisions on Monday - frustrating because although they were small things I couldn't help but feel that someone was "interfering" with my ideas... Silly of me, because it is intended as constructive criticism. I was told that things would have to go very wrong at my defense to suddenly end up with major corrections or R&R, although I have heard horror stories!
Today I've started with my viva prep. I have a little over a week (but I'm working, so mostly only evenings and no weekends because of family/social obligations). I'm nervous, but I feel like if it is a fair discussion on what I've done I should be fine. I'm worried that I will be asked questions about things that fall outside of what I've done. i.e. "future work" questions. It's an open event with lots of colleagues attending so in a way I'm almost more nervous about looking ill-prepared in front of them... Worst part is that the examiners are all abroad, so it will be via teleconference but with an audience! Has anyone defended in similar circumstances?
I SUBMITTED! YAY!
I can't even believe it, it feels great!
I am so relieved, there are no words.
Thanks so much to everyone for all your kind words and encouragement, I appreciate it more than I can say.
I have 10 days leave to recover from all this drama, but I will keep you guys updated on how the process goes from here.
Good luck to everyone, it's nice to experience this level of support online, hope I can return the favour one day.
Guys, you'll never believe the weekend I've had! But let me just say - I have good news! It's not "officially" submitted yet, but I was told that I would be allowed to submit! (This was after quite a few fights with admin and a few "dead ends", but it was confirmed this morning that I would in fact be allowed to submit, if I manage to do it today. So I sent my thesis off to be processed by the plagiarism software, and if all is good with that I have until 16h00 to courier the hard copies.
It was a very unpleasant weekend, with lots of tension between me and my supervisors, and I think they resent me a bit for being so pushy, but hopefully the relationships will recover, and at least I now have a shot again at graduating on time. Plus, for my bursary conditions this was good enough - I merely had to submit on time, not graduate by a specific time. Oh and I will probably still have to pay the penalty fee (for the administrative chaos I caused, or so I'm told) but if all goes well I won't have further (unexpected) expenses so it is not the end of the world.
Sorry for the rush-job update, but I just wanted to give a shout-out to everyone who was rooting for me on this forum - your comments and advice helped me to assert myself and to fight for this chance, I appreciate it so much!
Oh and for those who are wondering when I got the feedback - I got an e-mail at around 9 on Friday night, and it was four comments - two clarifications, an extra footnote and a language error. In the end he only read the chapters he has not seen before. If I had more time I would probably have gotten more/better feedback, but under the circumstances I think we all did the best we could. Hopefully the examination process will go smoothly.
Thanks again to all of you! :-)
Thanks so much guys. Good point though, I have the document 100% ready to go just in case (it has actually been that way for about a month, because I was hoping to submit every single day).
Thanks Eds, I really liked your message - now I have a chance to really make sure I hand in a "as close to perfect as possible" thesis come November. At least it's something positive to focus on.
Kelpie, I agree 100%. Loads of things can affect graduation - usually if there are issues you just graduate later because there are more deadlines after submission - dates for vivas, approval of corrections, approval of viva results etc. If you can't make them (for whatever reason) you just graduate later. It's just loads of red tape to be honest, but what can you do? I'm not about to take on the system ;-)
Good question, I don't know why the uni has such a stringent submission schedule. My best guess is that it is because my uni has two doctoral graduation ceremonies - one in Dec for students who submitted "on time" and one in March. (A nice one and a not-so-nice-one ;-) ) You can basically submit at any time up to the third week of August for the December graduation, and then only in Nov for the March graduation. I guess administrators don't want to deal with non-urgent submission during the time they are busy with the submissions for the December graduation, so they "block' that time out. If that makes sense? But yeah, seems silly to me too. I will obviously not attend the graduation ceremony (if I even graduate, as Awsoci mentioned) next year but at this stage that doesn't even seem like a big deal :-/
Bewildered, yep, I agree, late submission does seem inevitable. The supervisor in question is also the head of the department, but I will definitely go and speak to someone at admin to see whether arrangements can still be made so that I don't have to pay the fee. But to be honest, the penalty fee is just one of many extra expenses that I will have due to late submission and I feel like I have no more "fight" left in me, I just don't care right now so I will probably just pay it.
To everyone who commented and supported this week - thanks so much! It was an awful and stressful week, but venting here has been a huge help! The ship is sailing today and I'm not on it, which really sucks, but now I have another 2/3 months left to work on my dissertation, so I guess I better just get over it and make the best of the situation.
Thanks again and good luck to you all.
Thanks for your viewpoint Awsoci, but I disagree with you on "what you sign up for when you do a PhD". I did not expect anyone to "ensure that I finish on time." I did that myself by always making my deadlines and sticking to an agreed upon timeline. I gave the supervisor 6 weeks, which is the standard amount of time, despite his promises of 1 week (before the bereavement, which is usually how final submissions are dealt with in our department, they receive priority) and the weekly promises thereafter. (5 weeks seem like enough time to accommodate difficult circumstances.) Just because financial hardship is common amongst PhDs does not mean that this isn't a factor to consider when making arrangements regarding my future. But none of this is even about the inconvenience or the money, it's just the frustration of being kept in the dark about something that controls my future,and I have zero control over it.
Also, of course I did take account of the fact that there is a worst scenario outcome - i e a situation that cannot be resolved in the additional 4 months (after submission) that I have set aside to complete my PhD. At our uni there is no R&R, only no/minor/major corrections or a fail, and you don't have to enroll as a full time student for minor/major corrections (if I somehow couldn't do it in 4 months). If you fail, well, that is that, no need to hang around. So this should not have any affect on my employment. I think that I left enough time to deal with "what I signed up for".
I agree with the politics - may be possible, I'm not aware of any, but can play a role.
Finally, I have been sitting on my thesis for a month. I agree that some time to reflect on it is probably useful, but at least the last two weeks have just been excruciating and pointless. I guess it's different for everyone.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
I went to have a chat with the student who received feedback. She did submit a whole thesis (420 pages, mine is around 320) but he has seen most of it before, so in a sense it would still have been "easier" for him to do hers. He has only seen 3 chapters of mine. The kicker is that even though she got the feedback last week, (mostly minor suggestions) she will only be submitting in November anyway, because of personal reasons. But obviously this is not the supervisor's "fault" or whatever, I'm just sharing the irony.
I also e-mailed someone from the research committee to ask whether I can submit when one supervisor is in effect not supporting the submission and she said that all my forms need to be signed by both supervisors, if he won't consent there is another procedure to follow (which she didn't explain) and said that it will cast a shadow over my work because examiners are informed that a supervisor doesn't support submission. She didn't really explain whether they are informed of the reasons why they do not support submission. I think this will royally p*ss off the supervisor, because if he was okay with submission he would have let me submit it weeks ago - not a good move if I am trying to "preserve" what is left of the relationship, which is why I haven't insisted on it until now. Despite what it may sound like, I do feel awful for putting pressure on him at all during this time - I really do have so much sympathy and if I could, I really would just leave it (which is what I suggested initially!) I don't want to have to pester him.
My main supervisor has his research day today (no e-mails or meetings) so I will talk with him first thing tomorrow.
Thanks for everyone's helpful comments and suggestions, and most of all for support and encouragement. It means more than I can say.
No, I think I definitely won't be able to submit. Just seems ridiculous to pretend that I will. I don't know why he can't just say it and then he can relax and read it whenever he has time - since I can only submit again in November anyway. I guess until this morning I was still hoping he would come through for me. But as Hazy said, probably the best I can do is to try and not resent him for the unnecessary stress, turmoil and financial implications and not let it sour the relationship more than it already has.
Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to share their thoughts.
Let me say that I agree 100% with the statements that supervisors also experience personal problems and that of course allowances should be made for them (as they make for us) when times are hard. Moreover, it is true that post-grad students should take the majority of the responsibility for how their studies go - it is our lives after all - so one cannot sit back and expect people to jump whenever you snap your fingers.
That being said - let me just clarify two points, not to be defensive, but perhaps to explain my "frustration" - with the situation, not with my supervisor.
First off - I will be unemployed for 4 months this year - a "sacrifice" I decided to make to leave enough time to finish up my PhD before starting a new job. While Awsoci is right - I might get R&R or fail, I do not think one can be expected to remain unemployed to cater for these eventualities. But other than that, I left more than enough time to deal with examination complications. And I disagree with the statement that supervisors cannot accommodate one's needs outside of the university. I consider his needs outside of uni, so I think expecting him to consider broader implications of his actions is not too much to ask.
The other thing is that I would have been quite happy to submit without his comments - my main supervisor and I both explicitly asked him whether he would consent, and he refused twice. Even now, with only one day to go, he is saying he will "get to it".
I tried to be understanding and open to other solutions, and I truly had nothing but sympathy for him and his situation. I am not frustrated that life got in the way (as it does) but rather by how he is handling the situation now. If he would just say "I can't manage it, sorry" I would respect it, but the empty promises every few days are draining.
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