Signup date: 01 Feb 2018 at 2:52pm
Last login: 01 Feb 2018 at 10:38pm
Post count: 18
I told you I'd keep you all up to date so here it is... I was, yet again, unsuccessful. This has resulted in me not only failing to transfer, but also failing the terms of my probation meaning I will be removed from the course. As you can all imagine I'm completely devastated and terrified about what this means for my future.
My transfer meeting itself seemed to go well. My supervisors and the examiner commented on my new found confidence, the stable argument presented, but also their decision to not pass me for transfer as they felt I had too much to sort in such a short period of time. Now I'm in the very difficult, and worrisome, position as I'm a student who unsuccessfully studied a PhD for three years and failed a probation, which will now be on my records. As I've stated previously academia is my life, my passion, and I can't just accept this as a defeat... more a set back.
Is there anyone whose had any experience of failing a probation and successfully reapplying elsewhere? I really want to reapply to another university and try again with this project, but I'm scared of how bad it will look to have spent three years studying the same project unsuccessfully. Do you think it is going to be hard, maybe even impossible, to reapply with this project elsewhere? Do you think maybe I'd be more likely to get accepted elsewhere with an entirely different project? Any help or advice would be much appreciated, as right now I'm feeling incredibly down and need some advice.
P.S. not sure if this helps at all, but my course was entirely self-funded, and when I'd reapply it would be self-funded again (hopefully this may work in my favour, show my passion and dedication to it?)
I know exactly how you feel. My PhD is entirely self-funded also, so I felt the need to work alongside my course. However my job hours varied, although I was on a zero hour contract my shifts varied between 3-5 days a week. No matter how many days I did it was too much for me. I am now quite far into my course and I'm on probation, at risk of removal etc, because trying to work alongside the course resulted in me getting very far behind. I know this is probably not want you want to hear but, in my experience, having a job at all just didn't work for me. PhD's are very strenuous degrees, basically a full-time job as bongmaster5000 said.
Is there no way you can get financial support without the job? I know it isn't easy, but if you're already struggling to do both then I think you know it won't work out for you. The PhD needs your undivided attention, otherwise you will end up like me... struggling, barely hanging onto my position because I tried to do everything alongside it.
Maybe speak to your supervisors, or a student's union connected to the uni? They may know ways of receiving loans, financial support etc without physically having a job. At the end of the day you need to go with your own instinct, but hopefully you can learn from my own mistakes that it isn't easy.
Hey there, nosuchthingastoomuchcoffee,
With the amount you've been through I'm not surprised you're procrastinating! I've been through a bit of a bad time myself and I think sometimes emotions get too high and they lead to self-doubt, and then procrastination. I wouldn't worry about how long it takes to get there, this is something you're passionate about and once you have the PhD no one will care how long it took you to get it! I'm currently in the fourth year of mine and, through various issues, I'm now on probation and at risk of being removed from the course. If I end up failing the probation and having to start all over again it would be disheartening, yes, but once you achieve what you want time really doesn't matter.
A lot of people suffer from mental illness, it doesn't make you a failure for taking longer. If anything it shows your passion and determination by sticking it out, not just dropping out when you started to struggle.
Just try think of it on smaller scales. For example, if you have three months maybe aim to do 10,000 words a month? That makes it seem less daunting. You could also arrange meetings with your supervisors to go over sections, having smaller deadlines might push you to write more? I really hope it all works out for you.
p.s. I had a feeling the last line of your original comment must have been a typo!
Thank you very much! To be honest I have been trying so hard to get this right, I don't think I could have really done anymore than I have. I will definitely post on here and let you know how it goes :)
Have you actually spoke to your supervisor about your desire to teach? I would assume that, because you are only now beginning to cement your ideas, your supervisor is wanting you to focus more on that than teaching. She/he will probably be more inclined to discuss teaching options with you once they know your project is moving in the right direction. They probably want to see your potential first before allowing you to teach others, I would definitely recommend just asking though. Failing that, is there no-one higher in the university you could contact to find out about teaching opportunities? As the teaching isn't technically related to your project I don't think you have to go through your supervisor to do so.
You're right, I'll definitely do so. I've found out now, however, that the reason one of my supervisors has been unable to get back to me is because she is now on leave due to illness. According to my DoS, this supervisor will try get back to me with feedback but, because she's been asked to go on leave, it is more than likely she won't be able to attend my assessed meeting in just over a weeks time. Apparently, instead, once I send off the final report near the start of next week, she will pass her comments onto my DoS who will ask questions on her behalf.
Thank you for your kindness and your support, I will definitely let you know how it goes! I plan on waiting after my meeting to quickly speak with my DoS to see if she can give me a rough idea, otherwise I'll have to wait until March. Though, if it is the same as it was before, I should get emailed within a couple of days after the meeting with amendments to make which will give me an idea on what they thought.
On Monday I had a meeting with my DoS to discuss half of my re-written report, this meeting went very well and she said that she saw great improvement, and a solid thesis statement that carried throughout my report. I also sent this section to my other two supervisors, both of whom still haven't replied to me.
My DoS said, as long as the second half of my report is as strong as my first, I should be okay this time. Unfortunately I need to send the report off by no later than Tuesday next week, so I don't have the time to send the next half to my DoS for feedback. Now I just need to hope my other supervisors get back to me, which seems debatable as I have already sent several emails chasing this up, and also hope that my second half of the report is as strong as the first.
I get very nervous during presentations too so need to also hope that I hold my nerve and don't struggle to answer questions during my transfer meeting!
As far as I'm aware, in order for me to pass the transfer process I need to do several things. I need to show that I have an argument that is worthy of PhD level, I need to show my supervisors I can complete the PhD to an acceptable standard during the time frame, and I need to show them that I have been continuing to write my PhD whilst struggling through this report. In the past, the main issue I've had is that I kept getting told that the way I was presenting my argument came across as though I had done a lot of research in the field, but that the research I'd been discussing was too closely linked to my own. In other words, I need to try and convince them that my research is independent and unique, as apparently so far it hasn't come across in that way.
I can't say I particularly know much about your area of focus but, in general, I believe most PhD's are based on an overall thesis statement that is followed throughout the whole piece. I'd recommend maybe doing this other chapter as a separate piece of research instead, it may look quite out of place if it's really different to everything else you're doing. I'd speak to your supervisors about this though as they may say it's acceptable to add it.
Thank you for your responses, Pjlu and TreeofLife,
I can assure you both my goal is to try and pass this probation, I'm just figuring out some back up options in case I don't. The idea is my own original idea though, naturally, my supervisory team have helped me a lot in terms of its progression. In order to pass this probation I need to write a detailed time scale for completion, write a draft of one of my chapters (which are all just over 16,000 words), and successfully pass the transfer process from MPhil to PhD. I'm not overly concerned on the first two aspects, even though the chapters are long my DoS has said that, as long as it's written, I won't fail it if say the chapter itself is awful. However, this will be the third time that I have tried to pass this transfer process, which is the stage of the probation that most concerns me. The reason I have been put on probation is due to these previous failures (the graduate school basically said the probation is more of a life line to give me one more chance of success). Unfortunately, due to this probation status, I don't think I have the option of MPhil anymore; it either will go through as a PhD, or a fail.
Yesterday I had a meeting with my DoS which, surprisingly, seemed to go very well. She told me my thesis statement and methodology were much improved, and that I need to just ensure that the rest of my report follows that same frame. Before I hadn't received any positive feedback for quite some time, hence my desire to have some suitable back up options. I'm now just aiming to write a brilliant report which convinces them all that I am capable of doing this. Anyone have any helpful advice for passing a english lit transfer? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
I would speak to your university about this, because you should be able to do the core course in September this year. Similar to you, I started my course in January so I missed some of the events that happened before Christmas, but I was able to just do them later (as September this year would still count as your first academic year).
Thank you for your reply. I'm usually a very positive person, but being put on probation and being at risk of removal from something that means the world can bring a person down a bit. Do you think a person could have a chance of beginning a PhD from the start if it shows on their records they once unsuccessfully attempted a PhD elsewhere? I'm positive in that, if I did have to start all over again, I would happily do so because I'm so passionate about my project. Just nervous at the thought of not being able to do so.
If anyone has any thought/comments/advice about this then that would be great.
Personally, I think it depends on the work in question. If it is the work of say a theorist who is quite renowned, or has done quite a bit of work in that chosen field, I'd say it's fine to use it. One of the main things your supervisors will want is for you to demonstrate why your own research is independent and worth pursuing, so you would need to compare it to someone's work which you will either deploy or depart from.
However, if it is just some random work you've found which has no academic relevance then I wouldn't use it. Your supervisors are bound to question your sources, and if it is someone who doesn't offer anything intellectual then it will more than likely not be accepted. I'd definitely stick to more scholarly sources.
I think the question you need to ask yourself is how badly do you need the money? Working full time alongside a PhD is very stressful (I'm speaking from my own experiences here). From the beginning of my PhD I attempted to work a full-time job alongside a full-time degree to the extent that my degree really suffered, and I'm now at risk of removal.
If your supervisors are suggesting you still need to do a lot of work I really wouldn't suggest getting a full-time job and only focusing on your degree for one full day and a couple of mornings. Your PhD should be your number one priority, I really wouldn't risk any issues with it by working a lot. If you're desperate for income I'd recommend maybe a part-time job, but I'd never suggest a full-time job alongside a strenuous degree.
How much longer do you have on your course, anyway? Also are you part-time or full-time? If you're a full-time student I'd suggest unequivocally no on a full-time job. As I said, from my own experience I wouldn't recommend doing it. My supervisory team told me several times it was a bad idea for me to work a lot alongside my degree and I didn't listen, now it looks likely that I may need to start all over again because of it. Obviously different people have different experiences, but if your team is still suggesting you have a lot to do I wouldn't recommend putting less focus on your degree for a job.
I have experienced similar issues in the past where I needed to chase up someone for some feedback. I ended up waiting just over six months to receive something that should have taken one. My advice? Do all that you can to chase this up. During my own personal issues, I sent numerous emails to find out what was causing the delay, and often received unhelpful replies and excuses as to why there was a delay. Ultimately, this was only sorted due to me chasing up the issue, and sending emails of complaint to higher members.
This is important to you so I wouldn't just wait for them to get back to you, put the power back in your own hands and chase them up until you receive what you need.
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