Signup date: 07 May 2009 at 4:05pm
Last login: 10 May 2012 at 6:33pm
Post count: 204
What I have heard and read in various books of advice is that these things are not standardized enough! Universities have different systems, individual externals have different approaches, etc. That's not the most helpful thing to hear, I know! However, if you are really stressed out it might be helpful to (re)familiarize yourself with what your uni has put in writing about its policy on the phd examination process. I searched my uni website and found the handbook for examiners and code of good practice. Also blank copies of the report forms they fill out. At my place one form is filled out before the viva and the examiner (should) use it to structure the discussion. This form focuses on:
- contribution to knowledge
- relating your work to existing work
- satisfactory presentation (footnotes,etc.)
In the second form filled in after the viva they cover:
- are you satisfied this is the candidate's own work?
- how well did the candidate respond to questions on the above areas?
It seems to me therefore that the viva is designed to (a) make sure that you really wrote the thesis (b) provide you with a chance to respond to the examiners' views of your work in those four areas. That suggests that basically they have made up their mind before they meet you - they've already filled out the big chunky report - but that the viva does give you a right of reply.
Okay - I made changes to my paper. Didn't do all the refs as I needed to get it to my sup asap. But I'm going to count that as goal 2 done.
Now I'm twiddling my thumbs a bit as I can't really do much until he gives me feedback (supposedly he is going to read it straightaway and email back). Goal limbo...
Have read through and identified where the remaining problems are then written in big capital letter - FIX THIS, TIGHTEN UP, CITE EVIDENCE, etc.
But haven't actually fixed anything!
I've been at my desk 11 hours now (not a sign of my usual level of dedication - just can't afford to not do this as am really close to the wire) and can barely see let alone write. So I'm calling it a day.
Great thread idea, though - thanks Sneaks.
Good going button!
(Slightly terrified by your ability to read and take notes so quickly!)
Re-jig first half of conference paper, sort problems and attach to second half - (working on since around 4) - DONE
Next goal - read through the whole thing and make it a whole lot better!
Can you tell I'm working to a deadline?
"Oh goodness, we never sit down and have serious probing discussions about our topics (heh) I meant asking in the loosest sense possible like "how is it going?"
Oh dear - I think we tend much more towards the bearing our souls, going through the nitty gritty, thrashing out ideas in-depth stuff :$ !
Have you read 'Sunbathing in the Rain: A cheerful book about depression' by Gwyneth Lewis? I wouldn't recommend it for your boyf (just because it's a woman's account of her depression and he might find it tricky to emphathise - though maybe not) so much as for you. It's a very sympathetic, calming read. It takes depression seriously and at the same time views it as a sign that you need to make changes in your life (i.e. depression can't be reduced to a chemical imbalance - it has social and circumstantial causes too).
I thought of it because it specifically includes a bit on why depressed people are so sensitive to being asked 'how are you?' and 'how's it going?'
Really hope things get better for you and your boyf soon.
I'm really sorry to hear what you're going through and I do understand how hard this can be. My fiance, although he stuck with his phd, decided not to stay in academia because he discovered he wasn't suited to that sort of work. I'm finishing mine this year (hopefully!) and I do want to go for academic jobs. This has been hard and at times we struggle with it in our relationship because my fiance feels like he wasn't clever enough or didn't work hard enough. The things that really helped (and continue to help) were:
- Him finding something he really did want to do. I know this is easier said than done, but once he found work that played to his strengths and he was passionate about it gave him a whole new way of seeing things. He had new drive to complete because he wanted to get on to the next thing. He recovered his sense of purpose. Could your boyfriend, before he does anything else, spend some time thinking about his strengths, perhaps with the help of a career counsellor? This could help clarify for him whether his heart is really in the research or not and if not where it is.
- Focusing on the things that you love about one another that are non-work related. As with the above this helps with recovering a sense of being a whole person and not just a research success/failure. It gave us some steady points to hang on to in all the chaos.
- Making an effort to understand where relationship issues and work issues coincide. e.g if you are sitting down with your boyf to talk about his research and he's not saying anything, is it because he genuinely has nothing to say or because he just doesn't like doing this with you! That's not meant to be a criticism. It's just that if you have aspects of your personalities that are dissimiliar those are likely to become hotspots at times of stress like this. Our approach varies from trying to step into the other person's shoes/do it their way, to voicing the relationship issue and just saying 'I'm therefore not the best person to tackle x with you - let's think of someone else you could talk to'.
This brings me on to the final point. You mention your boyf suffers from depression. I would say that my advice might help if by depression you mean feeling generally sad about his work and the way it's going. If you mean depression that is more serious, making him very sad indeed and/or affecting his life more widely my best advise is to get some professional help - in particular some counselling asap. Has he tried the uni counselling service? Many other counselling services offer discounted rates to low earners.
I really hope things get better for you. Let us know how it goes.
A close friend of mine has just told me that's she's pregnant. I'm really, really happy for her, of course. But I'm also having a weird and awful emotional reaction.
I recently got engaged. My fiance and I had decided to put off the wedding until I submit (9-12 months away). He has a job he likes and is looking to relocate to an even better one at the end of the year. So we have this idea of new life, new job (fingers crossed), new place, newly wed all in about a year's time. Then we thought we might try for a baby once I am established in academia (ha ha!) and he has settled into the job - say 3 years time.
Then this comes along and suddenly that feels like a lifetime. My friend is younger than me, married, with a career and now going to have a baby. I know it's terrible to have the green-eyed monster take over but I feel overcome with sadness. It feels like doing the PhD means putting off living and may even mean missing out on the things I want most in the world. I had no idea I would feel like this - it's such a shock. I just feel heart-broken that my life is on hold for my thesis! I don't know what else to say. Anyone else (particularly the women out there!) feel this way?
My words are a violation of the page.
Seriously - it looked so nice, neat and coherent without anything on it!
So far, my writing is floppy, flabby, full of long quotations from better writers and generally looks more pathetic than... (good writers insert witty simile here).
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