Signup date: 01 Nov 2009 at 4:56pm
Last login: 09 Aug 2017 at 11:32am
Post count: 273
You might find that you cope better this time because you can be prepared. I had depression/anxiety during my first attempt at a bachelor's, and it took me a long time to get help because I didn't know what was wrong with me or who to turn to. But now you know this could be a problem for you, you can take steps like registering at the university health centre and counselling service, so you have somewhere to go if you need help; making sure you notify your tutors promptly if you find your studies are starting to be affected (much better to do this early than wait until you fail an exam or miss a deadline); building whatever self-care things work for you into your daily routine (regular exercise, mindfulness, yoga, etc) to try to manage your stress levels.
I don't know much about the academic culture in Finland, but most universities these days are very used to dealing with students with these kinds of issues, and will have procedures in place. You do get the occasional unsympathetic academic supervisor, but most should be understanding.
I think it's completely understandable to feel that way, but it would seem a shame to walk away without your PhD after all the work you've put into it! Maybe try to take a short break (you have to wait for the report anyway, right?) and see how you feel.
I got 18 months major corrections/resubmit (thankfully no second viva either), was devastated at the time and thought of quitting many times, but I got the corrections done and am waiting for the result now. Whatever the outcome, I think I'd regret it if I hadn't at least tried.
It is really frustrating to have a setback like this, especially when you thought you were almost done with your PhD, and your supervisors thought your work was good. Unfortunately it's the examiner's opinion that counts, and there's no predicting them sometimes. Hopefully they'll give you a clear list of the corrections they want, and you can just get them done, get your PhD and then move on with your life!
I'm sorry things worked out this way, but it sounds like you did the right thing.
I had a similar situation, not in my PhD but in a job, where it was only when I handed in my resignation that they suddenly started to dangle the prospect of promotion, pay raise, reasonable hours etc, all the things I'd been asking for! I left anyway as I didn't believe those things would ever materialise. I expect it would have been the same for you.
We're taught as kids that it's bad to be a quitter, and it's hard to go against that without feeling like a failure on some level, even when it's not your fault. But sometimes it's the right decision, and the tougher one, to walk away from a bad situation.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do next, and I hope you're not feeling disheartened for too long.
I would go for the funding too, it must be so difficult to manage without it unless you have support from wealthy parents or similar.
I don't think ranking matters hugely at PhD level - not compared to publication record. Queens is a good research university (Russell group) anyway, so it's not going to hurt your reputation, I'm sure! Surrey is perfectly respectable too (and has a lovely campus as I remember).
Surely it is extremely rare for a PhD to be revoked - I've never known anyone this has happened to, and I've only read of it happening when there's been evidence of widespread plagiarism in the thesis or large amounts of data being falsified. Not because of some records being accidentally deleted afterwards. And yes, I would think any data on the university system should be backed up and retrievable anyway.
I agree you seem to be having excessive anxiety about this, and some worrying thoughts about people 'coming after you' - did you leave on bad terms with your supervisor/department, or have some other reason to fear someone trying to cause problems for you?
I agree too it might be worth talking to someone like a GP if these thoughts are bothering you a lot and interfering with your everyday life.
Can you split the data into several smaller tables? Or yes, have an Appendix!
Be careful about contacting examiners directly - at my university you're not supposed to do this, and would need to go via supervisors or registry with any queries. It might be different where you are, but worth checking the regulations.
My concern would be that the types of PhDs that are more likely to lead to jobs afterwards are usually already funded (lab sciences, clinical doctorates, etc) by the research councils, medical charities or industrial employers, so the people using these loans might often be taking on a large amount of debt (on top of their undergraduate student loans and any amount they had to borrow for a Master's) only to be no better off in terms of employment afterwards.
Having said that, I guess it's a good thing for people to have more choices and opportunities to do the research they want, as long as they go into it with a realistic view of the finances. I wouldn't like to see this replace grants/studentships though.
I think it's fine to bring notes. You may not even need them in the end, but it can give you confidence to have the information there to refer to in case you do need to. Also fine to say 'no, I think we've covered everything' if you don't have any questions/comments at the end, it's not a job interview and it's up to the examiners to bring up anything they think needs to be discussed.
Good luck today!
It's worth remembering that many published papers are really badly written - either because the authors don't have particularly good English, or they're not skilled at expressing themselves clearly, or both - and some journals don't copy edit as thoroughly as you might think.
Otherwise, I agree about taking short breaks when you can, instead of trying to work for long stretches at a time - if you find you're getting mentally tired or losing focus, step away from the books/papers/screen and take a walk or do something else, then come back to it with your brain and eyes a bit fresher.
If you find anxiety is a problem, maybe look into some mindfulness/relaxation/breathing exercises. Getting regular exercise and enough sleep can help, all the usual self-care stuff.
Wonderful news! I've followed your story and hoped to see good news every time I see your name on here - so happy for you that it's finally happened :). Can't even imagine how relieved and glad you must be after all you've been through.
Thank you too for sharing your story here. So often in real life you only hear about the good, 'normal' outcomes, which is very isolating for those of us who have complications and difficulties with the process. And you persisted and got there in the end - it give me hope to keep going with my re-submission and not give up hope.
Congratulations!! I hope you're able to celebrate, relax and move on with your life, and finally put all this awfulness behind you.
It might not have been as bad as you think - I've had interviews I thought went embarassingly badly but then got offered the job; others I thought went quite well but no offer. You can never tell, and you never know if other candidates did even worse!
Either way, it's really common to get nervous in interviews, I'm sure the panel have seen it all before, and quite possibly some have had the same experience themselves in the past.
I don't see what you have to lose by applying. If you don't get the job, the decision is made for you :). If you do...well, then you can make a decision based on actual options not what-ifs.
Check your current contract and what it says about early termination. If you abide by the terms of the contract (e.g. giving the appropriate notice period to your current employer), you're not doing anything wrong. Maybe some people will be annoyed/inconvenienced, but I think most will understand. Also, if it was the other way round, and your employer wanted to lay you off, they'd think nothing of doing it if the contract allowed; that's how the world of employment works.
I would go for the funded place, if you can get it. As well as it being hugely useful financially to have the regular stipend and not have to worry too much about money while you're studying, it will look good that you managed to win a competitive studentship.
After that, I would place a good supervisor above a high-ranked university. I went to a 'prestigious' university but had an awful supervisor who was no help to me at all, and I've really struggled. If you can, check whether they have a good record of students passing their PhDs and co-authoring papers (their research group website should have details of past and present members, and a list of publications).
I think sometimes there's a fear of finishing, in case it's not good enough. Or just that the final tasks remaining to do are the ones you're (subconsciously or otherwise) been putting off because they're difficult or boring or you feel uncertain about them.
Or you're just tired after working so hard for so long - obviously you can't spare much time with only days to go, but sometimes taking a short break/having an evening off can help you come back to it with your mind refreshed and make faster progress.
If you've met the academic requirements already, then I would guess it's probably unconditional. But there's not much point any of us speculating about what the offer details might or might not be, because we have no way of knowing! Can you call or email someone at the university (there's probably a PG administrator who manages admissions, maybe the person who informed you of the offer) and ask for clarification?
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