Signup date: 17 Aug 2006 at 11:22pm
Last login: 18 Apr 2012 at 7:30pm
Post count: 134
I hope you are feeling more positive today. I don't say much on this forum but today I feel like you did in your original post. There's rock bottom, 50 feet of crap, then me (sorry to quote bad TV at you). I have just started my fourth year and have given up a full time job in order to finish my phd (I had to get one after a messy divorce last year) and my father died at the beginning of the year. Life has a knack of getting in the way! Now, it seems, my supervisor has turned on me. I have been doing everything he said for the last 6 months, only to be told it is all wrong. Things he said were good in previous drafts are now being called into question. I feel like I am teetering on the edge of failure. I thought I was within sight of the finish line, but it appears I am alot further away than I thought. My point is, you are not alone even though it feels like it. I too have watched colleagues who started after me graduate. My resolve to keep going keeps getting shaken, but it hasn't deserted me yet and I hope yours hasn't either. There is one good thing about being at rock bottom; the only way is up . You can do it. And hopefully, so can I. Clare x
I feel for you Pam. I'm also experiencing major hiccups on the road to submission. It's relentless. Recover from a crisis/situation and another one pops up that just can't be ignored. I've taken leave from uni for a few months and have resorted to full time work to ease a severe financial crisis. 40 hours a week serving 200+ people breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can hardly keep my eyes open. But none of them are hormonal teenagers. Small mercies :o)
I don't have any advice for you, just a message that you are not alone. Keep fighting for what you are trying to achieve. I hope things work out for you xxx
I sympathise with your plight; everytime I sit down to write anything I have to go through an hour or so of self doubt, self hatred and utter despair. Sometimes I can't even get a sentence out that sounds half way decent by undergrad levels, let alone phd. If I choose to read a chapter instead I have forgotten half of what the author said by the time I get to the end, if I do get to the end. Usually something distracts me because I don't fully understand what i'm reading, or can't see the relevance and I end up doing very little beside panicing and wondering why the uni took me on. Hence I feel like I've not done anywhere near enough work (I'm 2nd yr humanities) and that the work I've done is not up to standard. Eventually I pick up a book again or open a piece of work because I have to do it, I got myself into this Phd and quitting is not an option, not now at least.
Then I get an idea, or something an author writes resonates with me, I begin to feel as though I understand something just a little bit better; perhaps I can do this. I start writing despite my worries. I'm past caring about how it sounds at this point, I just let it flow, swear words and all ;o) I can edit it later, no one is going to read it except me at this stage. It's the ideas that count. My confidence starts to return and I get some work done for the day, even if it is only a little. Tomorrow I will start all over again with the worrying and the self doubt. Everyday my routine is the same, but I am beginning to wise up to the foibles of my own mind. I know I will spend an hour panicing, and I know I will move on from it, because I have to. My supervisor has been in the 'trade' for many years and he said that it takes him a long time to settle down and get something constructive done too.
Someone once said writing is easy; all you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until droplets of blood form on your forehead. Someone on this forum (i forget who) said that a phd is 10% intelligence and 90% tenacity. I have these phrases written everywhere because they give me hope.
What I'm trying to say is allow yourself the time to panic, cry and despair over your predicament because it is natural, but try to move on from those feelings, if only for an hour or so. Once you have got them out of your system you will feel better, you will be able to get some work done and the standard won't be that bad. Sometimes your internal editor can be a little too enthusiastic, so learn to ignore him/her for a while so that you can write freely then bring him/her out later when you are ready to edit. There is a writing method called the Flowers method I think, I don't have the ref because I am totally disorganised, but basically she recommends something similar to the above.
Don't give up. Not just yet. Be tenacious and use those droplets to write something that might not be awesome right now, but it will be when you are finished with it.
Mental health tips. . .
Don't listen to the little demon in your head that says you can't do this. You can do it, you will do it, in fact, you are doing it. If you've been accepted on a phd then your supervisor, your institution and your funding body (if you have one) all believe in you; so make sure that you remember to believe in yourself once in a while.
Your thesis does not have to be perfect, it merely has to be good enough (although this is still difficult to achieve, it is infinitiely more achievable than 'perfect')
Now if I could only follow my own advice . . .
Eish, thank goodness I am not alone! Could have written the original post myself!
I like the 1000 words a day tip, BUT, I worry that this approach might lead to you having copious amounts of waffle, and wading through all of it in the future to create something that is more tightly written is going to be soul destroying.
I find myself creating weak and simplistic arguments or regurgitating other people's ideas and then just showing how the film I'm writing about supports this persons view. This approach is not creating Phd standard writing, in fact it sounds more like an undergraduate wrote it! Does anyone have a better approach?
Thanks for the thread, and the tips!
This thread has set my biological clock ticking again! I spent 27 years saying no way to kids, got pregnant last year (miscarried) now starting a Phd in September. I will be officially putting off the family until I'm done with it, but reading this thread is making me think maybe an 'accident' (a blessed one!) would not be the end of the world. I'm 28, I've got 3 years to go and I want 3 kids. Pinknuron, can I have some of whatever motivation/energy pills you're on? hehehe. Reading this forum has the strange ability to make me depressed and optimistic all at the same time. All the best to anyone's whose juggling Phd and family!
I read an article the next day that asked why enter if we have no hope of winning. Why enter the World Cups (Cricket/Footie) we have no hope of winning them either, or the olympics for that matter (ducks to avoid missiles from sports fans). A serious case of sour grapes methinks. Who cares that we didn't win, it's the taking part that counts. The best bit was those bizaare little filmclips in between the songs, and Terry's acerbic wit of course. Can't wait for next year hehehe
Actually, I did have a budgie that lived for 11 years, everytime we turned the light in the dining room we used to shout 'light joey' to stop him having a heart attack from the shock. Oh, and my goldfish I won at a fairground 7 yrs ago is still alive and swimming.
I've just called the dept, they're not sure yet, will let me know in July when they know what funds are available for next ac. year. Not an entirely positive answer, but at least they've acknowledged my inquiry now. Yay, no need to bug supervisor, he's already aware of the situation. Once again thanks guys, knowing everyone has to deal with money issues made me realise I have as much right to ask as the next person. If the ultimate answer is no I'll just have to make other plans.
I agree with Tricky, the Phd itself is key, but for me, outside factors in some ways made the Phd I accepted even more appealing. When I start in October my husband will be moving with me and we’re going somewhere where his majesty will be able to do lots of fishing. The idea of spending our days off reading by a river makes the whole thing seem manageable somehow. It’s going to be those blissfully peaceful days that I will get most done in terms of background reading I hope. Of course I’m buggered if it rains…
Thank you so much for the replies! I emailed them about 10-14 days ago now, I forget that there are a million other things going on in the department. I need answers I just don’t want to make a nuisance of myself. Thank you so much for the reassurance, Shani and Juno. I didn’t give that black hole enough credit, I think I’ll call first, then email my supervisor as Alibi suggested if nothing happens, but there again I’m loath to bug him in case he takes a disliking to me or something. How pathetic! Its part of the process like you said, and like someone said on another thread I’m doing this to make friends. Right, decision made. You guys are the best, Thanks!
Hello clever people, a little advice if you please… I've been offered a Phd starting oct in humanities. Was in conversation with head of admissions during application process, between us we decided I should not go for AHRC funding as I won't qualify. He told me not to worry, because once I had the offer we could 'take our time' getting departmental funding instead (fees only). So, with a huge sigh of relief I shredded the 18 odd page AHRC application. Now, I've since emailed both the department and said head to inquire about this 'departmental funding' and...nothing. Not a whisper. I haven't even had a reply acknowledging my inquiry. What do you think this means? That there’s no funding available? If so, that’s a bit flippen rude, don’t you think? Should I email them again? Should I phone them? What do I say “Prof so-and-so said there might be some funding available and now he’s ignoring me”?! I really don’t want to make an a*** of myself in front of the very people that I’ll be working with for the next 3 years. What do I do next? I HATE asking for money! Grrr
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