Overview of Ephiny

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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: Should I do a Phd to get back to work?

posted
20-Feb-11, 21:54
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
Funded PhDs are very competitive now, and unfortunately you will be up against people with a much better academic record, just as you are in the jobs market. However the fact that you have real industry experience should count for a lot, especially if it's closely related to the PhD you apply for, so do make the most of that in your application/interviews.

I would say though, only do a PhD if you're sure you want to do a PhD - as others have said it's a lot of hard work for not much money, so you have to have real motivation and a passionate interest in your subject of research. And it may not actually do much for your employment prospects, that depends a lot on the field of study though and the types of jobs you're hoping to apply for at the end.

Thread: maternity leave

posted
15-Jan-11, 09:21
by Ephiny
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posted about 8 years ago
You should definitely be able to take some reasonable length of time out from your PhD. If you're asking about maternity pay, then that's a different issue and depends on how you're being funded/paid (if you are), you'd need to check with the funding body and maybe with your university to find out how they handle it. There's Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance in the UK, though I'm not sure if they're applicable to you being overseas student.

I would say though, you're only in your 20s and it probably won't be too late after you've finished your PhD! (unless you have some particular medical reason to think so?) Lots of women have their first baby in their 30s and even early 40s these days, though I agree it's best not to wait too long.

Thread: A general enquiry

posted
11-Dec-10, 22:42
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I wouldn't advise doing it just to prove something, whether to yourself or anyone else. If you love the subject though, and are prepared to devote a lot of time and effort to it, then go for it! Performance at undergrad level isn't necessarily an indicator of how you'll do in a PhD, as it's a very different thing, and also you're now at a different stage of life with different motivations, and hopefully a better idea of what you want to do.

I think it would be difficult to do while continuing to work full-time though, would you be able to have some flexibility or reduce your hours at work to have enough time to devote to the PhD?

Thread: Increase of University fees, what to expect?

posted
16-Nov-10, 18:02
edited about 28 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I'm pretty sure the 9k cap is for undergraduate courses and not relevant to PhDs, in fact I haven't heard any announcement at all about research postgraduate fees and funding relating to the cuts!

Thread: Timetable/Schedule and Commuting

posted
07-Nov-10, 15:11
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I go in every day at the moment as I'm in my MRes year and have to attend lectures/tutorials most days. Once the lecture course is over, I'll probably still go in most days, maybe have one 'working from home' day a week.

My supervisor isn't particular about the hours we keep, there definitely isn't a 9-5 culture for us. But we are encouraged to make use of our desks, partly to justify the group having the office space, partly because as several of us are working on related projects, it's useful to be able to ask questions and have discussions as required. I probably work better and have fewer distractions in the office, though I'm lucky that we have a fairly quiet office which allows me to concentrate.

I'd discuss it with your prospective supervisor before deciding, to get a feel for what their expectations are. I shouldn't think it would be a problem either way though, assuming the project isn't lab based or anything.

Thread: Stuck at literature review stage

posted
07-Nov-10, 15:03
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
Would you find it useful to look at example literature reviews? Your supervisor might be able to show you some that their other students have done, or you could look at other people's PhD theses in the library (the first chapter is usually essentially a lit review). Might give an idea of the sort of standard and style and depth that's required.

I do sympathise as I started my PhD a couple of months ago and am struggling a little to get to grips with the lit review. One of my problems is similar to what you mention - there's been just so much written on the subject that I can't possibly cite (or read!) absolutely everything, but then how to choose which articles to use? My supervisor has been quite helpful in guiding my choice of reading though, maybe your sup should be giving you a bit more advice and pointers?

Thread: newbie!!!

posted
06-Oct-10, 22:14
edited about 27 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I just started this week too - actually next week is the 'proper' start of my MRes which forms the first year of my PhD, but I met the other people in the research group, got my desk set up etc, it's very exciting. For now the only 'mountain' I'm thinking about is the mountain of reading I have to do :)

Thread: PhD or work?

posted
11-Sep-10, 22:15
edited about 6 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I would say that if you're already able to get a good job without the PhD, then you need to think about whether you actually want to do a PhD, whether you'd like to spend 3/4 years doing research etc. If you don't strongly feel you want to do the PhD right now, then I'd say take one of the job offers and get some experience - you can always go back for the PhD later if you want to or if you feel you need it to progress in your career in the future.

Thread: Decisions, decisions

posted
06-Sep-10, 18:26
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I would go for the research assistant position - yes, good academic results are important, but then you already have a first-class degree so have shown that you're not lacking in that area. I think having some actual real-world research experience will really make you stand out compared to other applicants who have only done taught courses.

Also consider what area you want to do the PhD in, would the MSc or the RA job be better preparation for that (you mentioned they're in different fields).

Thread: god parenting: gift(s)?

posted
24-Aug-10, 10:59
edited about 17 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I'm not a godparent, but for my little niece's christening I dedicated a tree to her via the Woodland Trust, they get a little certificate saying the tree was planted in her name, and the wood where it's planted so she can visit when she's older if she wants to (you don't necessarily know exactly which tree it is though!)

I thought it was a nice idea for a baby as it grows as they grow etc, and I know her parents are already innundated with baby clothes and toys and lots of material 'stuff'. depends on the parents though and whether they'd think it was weird or be expecting a more tangible gift.

Thread: PhD in London with £15K

posted
04-Aug-10, 14:22
edited about 29 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I'll be getting £15500, not a lot for London but according to my calculations it should be comfortably enough to manage on - will cover my half of the mortgage and bills, plus travel and food and such day to day expenses. Look into getting a student Oyster card, I'm planning to get one of the annual travelcard ones as it'll be a significant saving on my commute (though if you can walk/bike instead that's even better!). Am hoping to be able to do some teaching/demonstrating to earn a little more.

Yes the stipend is tax-free - so you'll be significantly better off than many people with 'proper' jobs. There's a council tax exemption/discount as well (fully exempt if you live alone or with other f-t students).

I wouldn't expect to be able to save at all though, and I think any big expenses like holidays (I like a lot of holidays :)) are going to have to come out of existing savings.

Thread: DTC

posted
05-Jul-10, 20:04
edited about 11 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
If you search the forum for 'interview' there are lots of threads giving advice about PhD interviews generally, which should be useful.

One additional tip - I interviewed (successfully) for a DTC studentship, and one thing they asked was why I wanted to do my PhD with a DTC rather than the more traditional route, so it might be worth knowing what the difference is, what DTCs are all about and why you think they're a good thing/suitable for you.

Thread: How to get into a PhD program

posted
03-Jul-10, 14:42
edited about 23 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 03 Jul 2010 14:43:06 =======
Check findaphd.com and similar sites for advertised (usually funded) places, also look at university department websites, this seems to be the main way of finding science PhDs.

If no luck there, you could email academics you're interested in working with. There's probably no need for a full research proposal initially, just say a bit about your background (possibly attach cv) and what sort of research you want to do, and ask if they might be interested in supervising you. If so you can discuss funding, how to apply etc, and they can will let you know if they want you to produce a research proposal.

I got a funded PhD place with a 1st class BSc and no MSc, and know people who did with a 2:1, so it certainly can be done, though a Master's probably helps (mine is a 4-year program including an MRes in the first year, that might be something to look into). It all depends on the competition for places, and especially for funding.

Thread: Perfect PhD slipping through my fingers help!

posted
30-Jun-10, 22:25
edited about 29 seconds later
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I think it would be fine to send a polite email to the supervisor - you'll hopefully get some useful advice, plus it shows that you're genuinely interested in working in this particular department. It sounds like you're well qualified, as you say you probably just left it a bit late for this year.

Also maybe keep an eye out for other opportunities - I didn't get my initial first choice of PhD studentship, and felt like that was the end of everything, but came across another which actually was even better and an absolutely perfect fit for my background and what I want to do. And if I'd got that first one I wanted, I'd never have even found out about the better one. So things can work out like that.

Good luck anyway!

Thread: Is it bad to take a "year off" after MSc and before PhD?

posted
27-Jun-10, 21:29
by Ephiny
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posted about 9 years ago
I think that if you do paid work related to your prospective PhD subject, then it's very likely to be a positive thing, especially if it's research or lab type work, it will help you stand out compared to other applicants who 'only' have their undergraduate/Masters work to talk about in applications and interviews.

If it's less relevant work - well, that's still not necessarily a bad thing. I spent several years working in a job that's only very tenuously related to my PhD subject, and have got a fully funded studentship to start this year. The thing to do in that case is to make a point of any skills etc from your job that are relevant, especially technical ones but also the soft skills like project management. And expect to be asked about how you've kept in touch with your field by reading journals etc, keeping your knowledge up to date (though if it's only a year, this shouldn't be too much of a problem).

I would do whatever you feel would suit you best at the moment. If you're keen to get into paid work after so long as a student (I certainly was) then I wouldn't necessarily advise against it. It's very nice to be making proper money :) and having some work experience is always a good thing for the future, and helps make you more employable in case the academic route doesn't work out. And if you're not sure you want to do the PhD, a year doing something else can give you a bit more perspective and of course time to think about it!
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