Signup date: 07 May 2009 at 4:05pm
Last login: 10 May 2012 at 6:33pm
Post count: 204
Clearly workplace boundaries and sexual harrassment are serious issues.
However, based only on the information that you've given above, I'd like to throw another view into the mix, i.e. don't be too quick to jump to conclusions, just in case you have got the wrong end of the stick. There are a number of possibilities I can think of which could explain his suggestion:
1) In my experience supervisors can barely remember to put their clothes on the right way out, let alone where their students live and what transport they have. He might just have got confused.
2) I have met with my sup at his house whilst he was on sabbatical because he didn't want to waste time coming all the way into uni just to see me on the days when he wanted to work from home. As your sup is semi-retired might he just be wanting to shift his work patterns to spend more time at home and less in the office? (You could be the first student he is trying this out with.)
3) Academics can be a bit socially weird. Maybe he wants to show that through working with you he is coming to regard you as a friend and colleague rather than just a student, and he thinks inviting you to his house for a supervision is a good way to show this.
4) In my experience, unfair as it is, sups relate to each of their students differently. If he hasn't invited any other students to meet with him at home it might be that he just likes you (as a PhD student) and your work best!
Even if it is none of these things, I'd be very wary of talking to too many people about this. If it got back to him or reached anyone else in the department it could really damage your working relationship - which could be totally unnecessary if this is just a misunderstanding. In particular, I'd be very careful of accepting rumours about his personal life. What if they turned out not to be true?
Obviously if the tone of his email was suggestive or if he continues to make you feel uncomfortable then do take this further.
For the time being, your turning down the offer on grounds of convenience sounds like just the right response. I'd be worried though if every time you meet him from now on you were watching for an ulterior motive - I'd give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion.
Battling a cold and a deadline.
Why does this always happen? Just when I need to be at my best, all the synapses firing, I get a stupid stuffy head and feel all tired and floppy. I know that the answer is probably going to be paracetamol every four hours, honey and lemon in hot water, rest and plenty of fluids but just in case someone is researching how to win against the common cold and finish writing a PhD I thought I would ask!
Go on - there must be something I can do to get through this?!
Is it a US thesis? You might just have to order a printed copy. I purchased a copy of a US thesis on my topic through ProQuest. Annoying that my Uni doesn't subscribe to their electronic copies but it wasn't more expensive than books in my field and it was directly related to my topic. I had to wait about three or four weeks for it to arrive though, as I recall.
Otherwise try to speaking to staff at the big copyright libraries (British Library, Bodleian Oxford, UL in Cambridge) - they might be able to help and if you are an HE student at another British uni you can get a ticket to use some of their facilities.
You passed! Well done!
I know it doesn't feel great when you were expecting a merit, but Masters level work is hard and you did it! So the first thing I think is important is please don't be disappointed in yourself for what is a fantastic achievement.
Secondly I would take some advice from whomever you can - supervisors, postgraduate admin, student union postgrad rep, other people on the course. Do as much research as you can into your options.
Thirdly, it varies from uni to uni but where I am you CAN challenge marks if your marks are really close to the border between two classifications. You don't have to say your teaching was inadequate or you had extenuating circumstances, you just ask if the external examiner can look again at your work and the mark it was given. Often this involves meeting with internal and external examiners for the qualification in a mini-viva regarding the work. If you can show them you deserve a couple of marks better it might make all the difference. Does your uni allow this?
Fourthly, it's probably too late now but check if you can apply for retrospective mitigation if you had some problems during your studies which could have interfered with your work.
Fifthly, I agree with the other poster that outside of academia pretty much no one will be interested in what grade you got.
Which brings me back to point one - you have got your masters. Well done!:-)
That does sound stressful but I don't think you've run over by such a massive amount that this is something to panic about. Whenever I have had to cut back on words I have generally done the following...
(1) Check, check and check again all the regulations about word limits. You say that there are no percentage margins. What are the regulations about extended footnotes (e.g. will you be penalised if you use footnotes to make space for points which can't fit in the main text)? What about appendices? Can you apply to have the word limit extended for any reason (this probably won't apply but I have heard of people being able to do that due to quotations in another language which they have translated - they informed the uni and their word count only included the quotation once, if you see what I mean). If you do this check out all this first then you will at least know your options.
(2) Go through and (with sups' advice if possible) identify the sections that are, comparatively, the flabbiest! It's tough but there will be some sections which are even ever so slightly less vital than others. A friend of my did this by grading his sections on a scale of 1 (absolutely essential) to 5 (quite waffley in parts)!
(3) Look at the flabby sections you have identified. Can you cut any whole paragraphs? Half paragraphs? Whole sentences?
(4) Repeat 2 and 3!
(5) Once you are down to a situation where you don't think you can cut anything more substantial, do a word count and work out what percentage of your words you need to cut. As it stands at the moment you need to cut 17.5% of your words. So, that's aiming for 18 words in every hundred to be on the safe side. Let's say you could get that down to 15 or even fewer by cutting a chunk or two in stages 2-4. Then take a block of 100 (or 1000) words, read through it, and do all the little itty-bitty rewrites you can. "I will claim" becomes "I argue" saving 1 word!, etc. This is tedious but it can help tighten up your writing style and I have found that it gets you there in the end.
I'm interested to know whether other people find that writing just takes as long as it takes, i.e. you sit down to write something, you struggle with it, you draft, you refine and the time you take is dependent on how tough a section it is.
Or whether you can somehow make yourself write faster even on the tough bits. I find this nigh on impossible. I can't write a page of vaguely relevant cr*p to meet a deadline, nor can I work all hours of the day and night (with the very occasional exception) just to get something done. I feel like I need space and time when working on something really difficult.
Trouble is, that just isn't an option when you are writing up to deadlines.
At the moment I'm just letting the whole schedule slide because I know I can write what I need to but I don't believe I can do it as quickly as my writing-up schedule calls for. But maybe I'm just not being tough enough on myself?
How do you make yourself write? And how do you measure the success of your writing? Is it better to take three weeks and have something pretty much good to go subject to some comments, or is it better to take one week, produce something less good but then at least have something to work with when you go through the thesis again doing final rewrites?
Go! I know it's scary but trust yourself - you can do this!
You could start your paper by saying 'I'm at an early stage in my research and I would really appreciate some feedback on these ideas' or 'This is the first opportunity I have had to think through these ideas with others and I would really benefit from hearing your thoughts'. Then if anyone asks a nasty question just say 'Thankyou. My work needs some more development and I will take your comment on board as I carry this work forward.'
This does sound like a really difficult situation. So I think the first thing to say is that you should dismiss any thoughts that this is just "you", that you in particular are not up to it. Everyone, without exception, finds completing a PhD difficult - this is because it's the highest qualification you can get! And with the added factors you describe it would be extra-stressful for anyone in your situation.
A few suggestions:
* On the family and friends point could you speak to the people who tend to bug you the most (parents, in-laws) and let them know that you find it stressful to be asked about the thesis. In my experience the best way to do this is to express it as a thank you for their support and a request that could they continue supporting you in way 'x' (with the implication that you no longer want "support" in the form of way 'z', i.e. constant nagging). So - 'Hi Jill, it's Corinne. Thank you for being so concerned about me and for your helpful suggestions. I was wondering if you could help me in another way from now on? Would it be okay if when we chat we just talk about other things - you know, the kids, X-factor, whatever. I really need to take my mind off my work because I am working SO INTENSELY at the moment.' Can't guarantee but it might work. The only other thing that works is not to take their calls and that has fall-out, though can be helpful short term solution.
* Could family and friends help you out in other practical ways, in particular with childcare/babysitting? Even just having someone over for one afternoon a week might help? What are your childcare arrangements at the moment?
* If you're struggling to get feedback from sups do you have any peers who would be willing to read sections and give you a fresh eye on things. Anyone in your field? Even people outside your field could read for sense and typos.
* How were you funded? If it was from an external funding body your university will likely lose money/be penalised if you don't complete. This isn't meant to scare you! It means that no matter what signals you've picked up so far, someone somewhere should be able to understand that even without being human beings who care (!) they nevertheless have a vested interest in you completing. I'm also in my writing up year and fortunately my sup is very good because he recognises that I still need support and there is no point in him withdrawing it now because that would potentially result in three years wasted effort on his part, let alone mine, plus a possible consequence for the uni.
If it was internal funding, there's still a case to be made that they spent all this money and time on you and they should be interested in you seeing it through. Could you arrange a meeting with your sup/the head of department/ the head of postgraduate study even with an outline of your concerns and what you think you need to complete? If you could manage to be calm, clear, present your concerns in writing, etc. it might be a way forward? Have you raised any worries previously, e.g. at annual review meetings?
* This brings me to perceptions. I'm not saying that your sup isn't a problem, but sometimes when you are an isolated PhD student you start to feel like no one is there for you and you read into people's actions deep motivations that might be smaller factors than you think. At the very least (a) if he doesn't want competition for his student that must mean he thinks you're good enough to be stiff competition (b) as described above there are powerful reasons why he should be interested in you completing regardless. Are there any other members of staff within the department you could talk to? e.g. do you have a "mentor" or a "personal tutor" as well as a supervisory team?
* The most important point of all is that you don't need a PhD to be worthwhile. You are a valuable person. And I think you should be proud of what you have alrea
I am still enjoying it - more than I thought I would at this stage. I hate the deadlines but I love the ideas.
As for where I'm at, I'm not exactly just writing up in the sense of knowing that there is not another single book nor article that I need to read, but by and large I am done with the research. I have a plan (an actual plan as opposed to those fake dreamy ones you come up with earlier on when you think you'll talk about everything under the sun); I have material for every chapter. But I still need to make the material into chapters and not just bits of stuff. I'm starting at the beginning and working my way through. Hopefully 2 out 5 chapters thesis-ready by Christmas. The rest of it ready by... I don't want to think about that...
I agree. Don't panic! When you are already really stressed things like this can seem massive but they always turn out to be much less of a big deal or are something that can be fairly easily solved.
When I was learning to drive my instructor said something which really helped me in my test. She said: "At some point you are going to make a mistake. And you will feel like it's the end of the world. In fact, you'll almost certainly think "right, that's it, I've failed". The most important thing you can do in this test is to ignore that voice. Stay calm, carry on doing your best, focus on what the examiner is asking you to do right then and there."
I did have that experience, I did stay calm and as it turned out the "catastrophe" was put down as a minor error and I passed first time.
Same goes for this. Ignore that panic voice. Focus on answering each question as best as you can. They are going to be interested in the thesis as a whole and your defence of that thesis. Don't focus on this one point.
Plus one of the main reasons for having a viva is to check that the student isn't handing in something someone else has written. So, showing them you know your stuff (which you do) is the best possible way forward.
Thanks for the replies. I emailed my sup outlining what I had done and he has postponed the meeting till next week, saying he wants to meet on the basis of something more substantial than what I have at the moment.
I feel absolutely crap today. Too depressed to face the work or anything. Feel like I've wasted three years as it turns out I can't do this - I'm just hopeless at it.
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