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Ephiny
Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 4:56pm
Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 11:32am
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page 1 of 13 recent posts

Thread: Thesis corrections and lost job

posted
20-Feb-16, 13:47
edited about 9 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 3 years ago
I would hold onto that thought about the silver lining -- if this gives you the time to focus on your corrections and get them done, then some good has come of it. In fact if you can manage it financially I would probably suggest finishing the corrections before job hunting. Personally I'm finding it quite difficult to combine corrections with working full-time, and some employers might prefer an applicant with the PhD done anyway, rather than one still writing up or doing corrections.

Thread: What to do if I am downgraded from PhD to MPhil?

posted
02-Jan-16, 17:47
edited about 4 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 3 years ago
Sorry to hear you're in this situation. It does sound like you've had inadequate supervision (as many of us do, sadly), and I know how difficult it is to have to struggle alone, especially with depression to contend with as well.

I have had a similar experience, and got to the viva stage very worried about being failed or downgraded, although in the end I was given the opportunity to revise and resubmit my thesis in 18 months. I think what made the difference was that I'd prepared well for the viva and performed reasonably well (to my surprise), which gave the examiners confidence that I was capable of PhD-worthy work.

So I guess my advice would be to go into your meeting with the coordinator as well-prepared as possible, have a good summary of everything you've done and all the results you have, especially emphasizing any original contributions you've made. And have an clear outline of exactly what you still need to do, and the resources and time you need to do it. If you go in there well-organized and with a plan of action, it makes a better impression.

I know how hard it is to stay motivated, especially knowing that however hard you try it still might not be the outcome you want. All I can say is take it a day at a time, have your list of tasks to tick off one after the other, and just work through it as best you can. That's all any of us can do.

Thread: Changing supervisors at 14 months.......

posted
21-Dec-15, 14:31
edited about 22 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 4 years ago
I didn't change supervisors during my PhD, and with hindsight I really wish I had (or at least made more efforts to resolve the problems). I struggled badly to make progress given the lack of guidance and feedback and am now facing having to resubmit my thesis, and it has altogether been the most frustrating, demoralizing and isolating experience of my life.

I guess what I'm saying is don't ignore the problem and hope he will change -- people usually don't! If you don't feel you can talk to your supervisor about it, or if you've tried this and it hasn't helped, can you go to someone else in the department? There should be a Postgraduate Tutor or director of studies or similar, who should be able to help explore your options and give some advice.

Thread: Final stages of writing & personal life stress

posted
17-Dec-15, 12:30
by Ephiny
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posted about 4 years ago
I think it's really difficult to say what's 'normal'; writing up can be an isolating and stressful experience, and I guess most students go through some anxiety and fear of not getting it done, not having done enough etc.

But everyone's circumstances are different, and it sounds like you've had more to cope with than most over the last few months. I would suggest that you don't hesitate to ask for help (e.g. counselling) if you feel it might be helpful, or for an extension or mitigating circumstances to be considered if you feel your work is being affected.

This is just my advice from personal experience -- I have a bad habit of trying to just struggle on by myself despite personal problems and not tell anyone or ask for help, and looking back I wish I'd done differently during my PhD.

Thread: Resubmission and unsupportive supervisor

posted
17-Dec-15, 12:13
edited about 43 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 4 years ago
Thanks all for the advice and suggestions. I'm really in two minds over whether to make a formal complaint -- it's good to hear that I might have a case, though it's a fair point that I should have raised these problems years earlier. I can't justify why I didn't, except that I hate confrontation and conflict and tend to avoid them at all costs, I was worried no one would believe me as my supervisor is quite senior and well-thought-of in the department, and I was struggling with anxiety and depression through much of my PhD so it was tough just to get through the day at times. I guess I just ignored the problem and hoped it would go away, which of course it didn't...

I'll give it some more thought, while I wait for the list of corrections from my internal examiner. Really I just want to get the revisions done and resubmitted, and hopefully pass my PhD, as soon as possible. I don't want to complain or have a fight for the sake of it. Maybe the best approach is to see if anyone else in the department is willing to help out informally or look at my corrections for me before I submit. My internal examiner has also said I can contact him with any questions during the process, which may be useful if I need to clarify anything. He actually seems more helpful and supportive than my actual supervisor, which seems the wrong way round, but that's the way it is!

Thread: Resubmission and unsupportive supervisor

posted
16-Dec-15, 12:42
by Ephiny
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posted about 4 years ago
I had my PhD viva this week and have been given 18 months to revise and resubmit. It's not a completely surprising result (honestly I'm relieved not to fail or be offered an MPhil) but still a bit of an upsetting experience, and it looks like I'm going to have to do the corrections without supervisor support. My main supervisor has been distant and unhelpful throughout the whole PhD process (I don't want to go into details about the failings of supervision here as I don't want to be too identifiable, but let's just say it's been a frustrating and lonely experience with almost no guidance or feedback over the years, and my efforts to do things like submit papers or attend conferences being ignored or obstructed). She also refused to read my thesis.

The only contact I've had with her in recent months has been a terse email informing me of the time and place of my viva -- no advice about it or even a 'good luck', and on the day of the viva I didn't see or hear from her at all, so I have no idea what her reaction is to the disappointing outcome. Although I don't know why I expected anything else...

I guess my questions are: has anyone else done major corrections or resubmission without supervisor involvement, and did you look to anyone else for feedback at this time (I'm particularly concerned as the examiners said several times that my supervisors should have picked up on the problems with the thesis and advised on how to fix them before submission, and now I'm in the same situation of working without supervision again) -- and is there any point making a complaint about my inadequate supervision at this stage (I know I could have done so much earlier, but didn't for various reasons).

Any experiences or advice very welcome, thank you!

Thread: PhD, 'passed with no corrections'

posted
14-Dec-11, 12:30
edited about 16 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
I think it might be a bit odd to put it on your cv, I've never heard of anyone doing this (though I only know one person who passed with no corrections!). But I know it's a competitive world out there, so you could argue that anything that makes you stand out a bit from the crowd might be worth doing.

It's a fantastic achievement either way, you should be very proud and happy :)

Thread: Is there age limit for PhD?

posted
14-Dec-11, 12:23
edited about 11 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
Of course it's not too late. I started mine at 29 and it wasn't a problem, lots of people do PhDs in their 30s so I don't think 27 will be considered 'old' at all.

The only thing to consider is that unless you're currently working in a research or relevant industry environment, then the interviewers will want to know what you've done to keep up with what's going on in research, and keep your scientific knowledge fresh and up to date. So it might be a good idea to do some revision and reading to prepare.

Good luck with your application!

Thread: Failed MSc Statistics & Stochastic Modelling

posted
01-Dec-11, 11:01
edited about 13 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 01 Dec 2011 11:03:13 =======
Hmm, well to some extent it sounds normal - on most taught courses you get a mix of good and bad lecturers, and the bad ones can be truly awful (incomprehensible lecturing, useless handouts or none at all, unhelpful and difficult to contact etc). I'd guess most of us have experienced this at some point. Sounds like he might have been particularly unlucky to get 2 out of 4 lecturers like that though...

What they might say though, is that if he was struggling and getting stuck and not getting the help he needed from the lecturers despite asking, he should have raised the issue with his personal tutor or someone else in the department. Which is a fair point, there's often more that can be done to help if you raise these things at the time, rather than after the fact.

When it comes to retaking the year, I guess the important thing is to know what (if anything) will be different this time around. If he's not confident it will be, it might be worth going elsewhere, I know there are other London universities offering a mathematical modelling MSc.

Also, and I truly don't mean any offence by this, perhaps he needs to examine very honestly whether the problems have been entirely down to the 'neglect' of the university, or whether partly it's him (you mention a lot of 'issues' with a lot of different people, and a previous year failed for different reasons). And it's surprising that less-than-perfect lecturing would lead to an actual fail, rather than, say, just missing out on a distinction, for an otherwise good student. A fail at Masters level is quite unusual, I think.

Thread: How many days a week are you in, and do you have your own office/workspace?

posted
05-May-11, 18:16
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
I usually work in the office 4 days a week, and one day (Friday) from home, have a desk in a shared office with 2 other PhD students and a post-doc in my group.

Thread: 1 + 3 PhD - clarification needed

posted
16-Mar-11, 14:27
edited about 13 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
I would assume it was a PhD with an integrated Masters too, I'm doing one of these currently. The format of mine is that you do an MRes in the first year, where the first term is a taught course with exams, and the remaining months are spent on your research project. Then other than having to write up your MRes thesis at the end of the first year, you carry on more-or-less seamlessly with your research for the remaining 3 years.

Thread: Noisy office problems

posted
16-Mar-11, 14:24
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
Thanks all for the replies, it's good to know I'm not being completely unreasonable and oversensitive in expecting a fairly quiet workspace! I think I will try mentioning it to my supervisor and see if she can send an email or something (or maybe she can speak to their supervisor?).

Thread: Call For papers

posted
15-Mar-11, 14:37
edited about 17 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
In the UK at least I don't think you *have* to publish in order to get your PhD, not in any field I know about anyway. Obviously it's good to do so if you can, and probably essential if you want to continue in research afterwards - how many papers to aim for depends a lot on the particular field, so it would be worth asking your supervisor, or look at what post-docs in your area did during their PhDs. This will also give you an idea of which journals would be appropriate for you to submit to.

Thread: Noisy office problems

posted
15-Mar-11, 14:31
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
I wondered if anyone had ideas about the best way to handle this situation. I'm a PhD student sharing an office with other group members - we get on fine and have a quiet office, with an agreement that we step outside to make phone calls, go down to the common room or somewhere to chat etc, so we don't disturb each other's work. The problem is we have half of a big office shared with another group, with just a thin screen between us, and they are very noisy. Not even work-related discussions, but gossiping, messing around on facebook etc, shouting across the room to each other, laughing, lots of loud sudden high-pitched shrieking from one of the girls in particular which makes me jump out of my skin as it's literally inches away from me on the other side of the thin wall!

I feel like this is really affecting my ability to concentrate and makes me feel stressed and angry all the time. Have considered going in there and saying something but not sure if that's appropriate (and am a bit of a shy person so this would be difficult for me). Or should I speak to my supervisor and ask her to have a word? Glaring at them through the window has not helped! :)

Or am I being unreasonable and should just put up with it, and get ear plugs or headphones? To be clear, I'm not expecting everyone to tiptoe around in complete silence, just a bit of respect and consideration for others and not behaving like you're in a coffee shop or pub in the office. There are a couple of 'quiet' people in the 'noisy' group who I suspect are annoyed by it too. I could work from home more or go to the quiet study area of the library to read, but don't see why I should have to be driven away from my desk when they're the ones in the wrong. I've worked in a very distracting and noisy environment before, but had hoped that academia would be one place where the need for quiet study and concentration were understood...

Thread: Finding peace & quiet

posted
09-Mar-11, 19:11
edited about 18 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
I like the 'sounds of nature' recordings too - I have rain and thunder and crashing ocean waves, you can get whale/dolphin and crickets or birdsong ones as well, but I find those a bit annoying (crickets, seriously, how can that be relaxing?) . I can't listen to music when I'm working as it's too distracting, but these are fine.

I love the idea of the philosophy van though, that's amazing! I'm lucky enough to have a fairly quiet house (no children, one quiet dog and a partner out at work) but would be considering a science van if I didn't :-)
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