Signup date: 16 Apr 2012 at 10:17am
Last login: 18 Apr 2019 at 8:21pm
Post count: 96
The fact that all these delegates who brought their own valuable academic and real-world insights to the table verified to me (without realising it) that I had every right to fight for an opposing ideological stance buried a lot of PhDemons for me!!
Even though I have my PhD now, the torment of what my external put me through has left a lasting impact on my own self-worth in terms of whether I'm good enough to be an academic. As I am older, wiser and tougher now, I genuinely have few f***s left to give. I am a good lecturer because I take the time to listen, understand, support and encourage people. And if they get it wrong, I will spend more time with them - so long as they are willing to put the work in. I will not denigrate, belittle and demotivate people. That's not what being in academia/teaching should ever be about.
So to all you PhD'ers out there - congratulations to those who pass their viva's with no corrections or with minors. You obviously worked incredibly hard, probably had great supervisors and had the highly undermined gift of luck on your side.
To the rare PhD'ers like me - if the Gods of the academe are against you - even though you're giving everything you can give - DON'T GIVE UP.
One day, years from now, you'll be in a room and realise that the big scary academic beasts are worth very little outside of their ivory towers. And it feels great...:)
I thought I would share this joyous story with my dear old friends and supporters on the Postgraduate Forum.
Feel free to have a read through my old posts which I will term 'the long road to insanity'. Long story short, I had the external examiner from hell who did everything she could to stop me from being awarded my doctorate. We had a different ideological stance on my research topic which ended up being a nightmare and saw me go through 3 rounds of revisions post-viva even though this went against university policy. Anyway, in the end I won and she lost but that joyous ending sounds far too simplistic for the hell I (and my family) endured.
But onto my happy story...
I've had my PhD for almost 2 years now and still smile every day because the battle is over. So when I saw that my external was presenting at a conference as the keynote speaker, I decided to go along and take a front row seat. I'm pretty sure she recognised me as she did a double take but - having only met her in person once back in 2014 - there's no telling if she would have remembered what I looked like. But I stared her out throughout her whole keynote speech. All I wanted was to be there as 'Dr faded07' and celebrate (in the confines of my mind) that I was in a room with her and I had my PhD!!
But the best part was that the many people I spoke to at this conference were highly disappointed with her speech. Although, to be fair, she delivered it well, she refused to acknowledge the counter-argument to her topic (which was basically my argument) and the general consensus was that her research was too simplistic and ignored important issues of human rights and exploitation...[read on below]
Hi Kareem, I'm really sorry to hear about your awful experience. It sounds like you've been treated very badly and I really do feel your pain. Have a look at my old posts to read about my journey. I didn't hire a solicitor in the end but I did decide to appeal the decision of my external who asked me for a third round of revisions (making new recommendations 2 years down the line that weren't even in the original viva report).
The best advice I can give you, and it sounds like you've already done this anyway, is to have a detailed and clear document to hand which outlines the failings of your university. Use the university's own rules and regulations to show the ways in which they haven't delivered on their side of the deal. The more evidence you have, the better - make sure you keep emails as proof of who said what etc.
Also make sure you point out the ways in which this process has impacted on your life - your psychological health, loss of earnings etc.
I really hope things get better for you and you can find a way through this. Please let me know if I can do anything to help. Good luck!
Some of you may be familiar with my PhD story, which I still confidently argue is one of the worst in the history of PhD's (!) - read my previous threads if you're interested in the long and winding story. Anyway, it is a year ago to the day that I received the email I thought I'd never receive informing me that I was to be awarded my PhD. In light of this, I thought I'd share what I have learnt a year on from that with you all.
Firstly, the struggle I endured has defined me. I am not the same as most other academics - I did not follow the procedure and simply pass my viva with minor corrections which were turned around and signed off on in a couple of months. I am a product of a broken system and I am so thankful for the insights my PhD ordeal gave me. It has made me a better lecturer, educator and all round person.
Secondly, although the ordeal has made me a better person, it has also made me more anxious and doubtful of my capabilities as an academic, and of the system in general. A colleague of mine recently passed his viva with minor corrections and he received a dozen round robins congratulating him as 'Dr'. When that title was put in front of my name after my viva (not by me may I add) I faced a formal investigation which could have cost me both my PhD and my job. Academia ain't fair and life ain't fair. Deal with it and make it better.
And lastly, the support of family and friends - their belief, enthusiasm and relentless determination to fight the good fight with me got me this PhD. I couldn't have done it on my own. Allow yourself to take help from the people around you - they are gold.
Triumph over adversity is the best kind of triumph anyone could gain. I don't have a PhD in Sociology, I have a PhD in determination.
I'm sorry to hear you are feeling this way. If it's any conciliation, impostor syndrome doesn't go away even after you get your PhD (sorry!)
I almost gave up when I was in the PhD process - it's very isolating, tedious and, in many ways, sole destroying. The best advice I can give you is to remind yourself of why you set out to do a PhD. Perhaps it's because of your love of your research topic, perhaps it's to get the job you've always wanted, or perhaps it's to prove your capabilities. Whatever it is - hold on to that reason and use it to pull you through.
Getting that final letter saying that you will be awarded your PhD is worth a thousand grey days. I promise. Keep pushing forward and good luck! :)
Well everyone, it's been a long and tedious wait since my Viva in 2014, two correction periods, a lost viva report, incorrect results released to me, an insane external examiner, many tears, many breakdowns...and a lot of perseverance....and I am pleased to announce as of today that:
I HAVE MY PHD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The panel have determined that I be awarded my PhD with no further revisions and have stated that they I have done everything asked of me. They even wrote in their report that it was clear I was asked to adopt a very different ideological stance by my external and hinted that this was a bit out of place. Hallelujah!
I was sat eating my lunch in my office at the university where I work and casually opened up my email account without expecting anything. I'm so used to checking my emails 20 times a day and receiving nothing, so when I saw the subject title 'Outcome of panel - good news', my heart literally stopped beating. I had to get my colleague to read the email to ensure that I wasn't hallucinating!! I then had to go and teach a seminar shortly after and all my students clapped and cheered for me - it was so overwhelming and SO, SO, SO worth it.
A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone on here who has taken the time to write to me with words of encouragement and advice. You don't understand how much it lifted me during the times I felt like I'd never see the end of my PhD. I'm sure these threads will help many PhD students in the future (although I sincerely hope nobody ever finds themselves in my situation!) so THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
I have dreamed of being able to write on this forum that I've got my PhD...and I've bloody well got it!!!
If you want something in life, never stop fighting for it. Even if it takes 8 years...! Finally, a happy ending! :)
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