Agggh need to vent


======= Date Modified 26 38 2010 11:38:55 =======
I realise this topic has probably been covered several times but I really need to vent. I find it so bloody irritating when people who have no idea what it's like to do a PhD act like it's so easy. My flatmate had a friend around for dinner tonight who made a number of comments suggesting I just basically do nothing and I'm really just on holiday all the time. I'm so annoyed at myself for reacting as I kept my cool until the last remark. She commented on her making us jealous with her 7 weeks holiday (she's a teacher) and then said, well no not (me) anyway, she doesn't really work. I said 'well doing a PhD isn't a walk in the park you know'. And she replied 'well so and so did her masters and that was certainly a walk in the park, she only had to hang three pieces of clothes up and she had her masters'. I didn't bother replying to that. Really though what I should have said is:

(A) A PhD is not a Masters.

(B) No one would get a Masters for hanging up three pieces of clothing. There must have been far more than that involved which is beyond your understanding, idiot.

(C) What on earth would you know about it anyway?

I am so annoyed at myself for reacting. Usually I manage something sarcastic to shut these people up. It's not like I want people to be all 'wow you are so clever', I just don't want to be treated like some layabout when what I do is actually really challenging and i'm approaching my final six months and under craploads of pressure. It is so irritating! I can't wait to finish and actually get a job (I hope this happens anyway!) and then these people will hopefully pipe down. Of course if I get an academic job, which is unlikely, I guess they'll move on to the other stereotype about academic jobs being cushy and well paid!

Avatar for Eska

Oh god, I'm so glad I don't have flatmates and their encumberents any longer. She is extremely rude to have said those things to you in your own home, and I'm suprised your flatmate didn't tick her off about that, as her guest she should have been better behaved. She sounds jealous to me, teaching can be really demoralising, especially if she's not in a good school and isn't very astute about people or resourceful - and it sounds, from what you say, as if she isn't. I wouldn't socialise with her again, she sounds limited and narrow minded, or perhaps you could do a similar speech about how she must be jealous of you with your oppportunity to be stimulated, have a brilliant academic career with loads of travel, and because you are teaching undergrads and not stroppy, nasty kids all day.

It's so frustrating when you don't say stuff at the time; I find it tends to burn in my brain for ages afterwards. Sometimes I pretend the person is stting on a chair in front of me and really let rip at them - but you'll need the place to yourself for that.


======= Date Modified 26 Sep 2010 11:57:38 =======
That's really iritating. My family do that too. They say things like "you've had 4 years to do it, how can you be struggling to get it done?" It's irritating how they behave as if they get it, they don't!

The other one that gets me is when people how my 'course' is going - a PhD isn't a bloody 'course'

(down) (down)

Avatar for Eska

Yeah, and I hate it when people say 'how long does it have to be?', and then 'how much have you done?' I never answer, just say it isn't like that.


Sounds like a nightmare and I'd have been so angry too! It seems its something most of us have to deal with - this idea that we sit around all day and do bugger all, then write a few pages. As for her comments on the MA!!! WTF????? I worked harder in my MA than I've ever worked before or since if I'm honest lol. Hanging up 3 pieces of clothing? Wish I'd done that MA...... what utter bs! No MA awarded is for something like that.

Well done for keeping your cool as long as you did!


The other day a friend of mine who is actually lovely and very well meaning said - 'so have they sorted you out with a job at University for when you finish then?' I wanted to burst out laughing and then slap her but as she is lovely and didn't mean it like that I restrained myself and said 'oh no it doesn't really work like that'. She looked very shocked and said 'well I think that's ridiculous'. Yeah - it was both funny and irritating.

Thanks guys - this is very therapeutic!


And I totally relate to the other comments too - how many pages do you have to do.... duh!!!! Well surely it can't take 4 years to write 80k words.... oh f**k off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! arggghhhhhhhh lol

and breathe.....


About a month ago I broke up with my 3.5-years-boyfriend. One of the reason that lead to the break up was that he said more that a few times "Well, you are not doing anything! This is not work!".....
I am sorry, but this IS work. It is my evening job (my morning is teaching at a SEN school) and I want to do it properly and be good at it, meaning that I don't have time to do other choires!:-s


ahhh....sometimes i think it should be ok to slap these people, I'm sure any well educated judge who knows what a PhD is would understand.
Friday night I was out at a fancy dinner thing, and my uncle was there, who knows all about how my 2nd sup gave me extra corrections the day before submission, meaning that I had to miss that date and rearrange the viva etc, spent 2 days crying about it etc - he asked me how my "composition" was going and why hadn't I finished it yet, sure it's only a few thousand words...I know he was trying to be funny but I almost burst into tears right there.
As for living back at home and meeting old friends I haven't seen in ages, if I get asked once more when my course finishes and what job I want to do when I'm finished I'll crack.


I was going to start a thread like this then I didn't but I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that's dreading these conversations. I've waited several years to get a phd place and when I told some people my news they replied 'oh that's a crafty way to get out doing a REAL job' erm no actually, doing a phd for me means coming out of the workplace where I've been for the last 12 years and taking on a salary several thousand LESS than I'm used to and having to watch the pennies for 3 years. Also I had to do another undergrad to get this phd place so that meant funding myself and doing a full time job on top of a full time undergrad degree - seems to me that is a backwards way of going about being lazy.

The other thing I hate is that my area involves palliative care and people always say what's the point of looking at end of life stuff they're going to die anyway you should be looking at the time when things can be done about it - find a cure instead of wasting tax payers money. This is akin to saying that the ambulance service should only be sent if the injured/sick parties have a statistically significant chance of surviving - if they're likely to die then no medical assistance should be given because it's a waste of tax payers money. They always shut up when I put it in these terms. Also I remind them that they'd probably change their minds about the 'usefulness' of my degree if they were the ones left to die on a trolley left in a corridor somewhere in a hospital.

Then there are the ones that think it's so easy and go on and on about their opinions and then smile smugly and say 'you can put that in your report, you'll get extra marks'.

There's also comments about shaving off a few years if people worked proper work days instead of dossing in the student union, being akin to those claiming benefits for doing no work and the endless question of how it's coming along, have you finished, it's dragging on a bit etc etc.

I think it's just people that don't understand what a phd is and don't know what's involved that make these comments. Or those that are jealous. I would have said something to that rude guest whatever you think of someone's job it's plain bad manners to try and undermine what they do. I would have fought back without being rude or raising my voice. It's difficult with a flatmate though because you wouldn't want to upset them. Hopefully they would get the message and not invite evil PhD hater round again whilst you were there.

Avatar for Eska

Hey Milly-cat, I can't believe you have people dissing research into palliative care! REALLY! silly, silly people. We will ALL die one day, that is the nature of life, so it's the one thing you can safely say we will benefit from.

Palliative care makes a massive difference to those left behind too. I see the anniversary of my sister's death as a good day, with good memories. It was the last time we saw eachother, we were in a wonderful Marie Curie hospice, she had a gin and tonic for breakfast and we watched Take That on video together, her eyes were shining and she was happy. It could have been so, so much worse. My friend virtually has a breakdown on the anniversary of her mum's death, she was in a dirty, busy hospital with no proper pain relief. THANK god and palliative care that that never happened to us.


My partner actually said something like that when we first met. He said he wish he was as lucky as me and my PhD mates, who could sit there free most of the time and wrote whenever we like. Only later (when see witnessed me frantically doing my writing up) he learned that getting a PhD was as easy and leisurely as he once thought. Still he would insist that being able to research something one likes is heaven. Little does he know that asking oneself the same question for at least three years can potentially drive one mad.

Avatar for Pjlu

Hi-how infuriating! Just to reassure you-I'm aware there is a world of difference between a Phd dissertation and a Master's thesis. Even so, my master's thesis was really difficult-the hardest academic challenge I've taken so far and I sweated it-lot's of effort, lot's of tears, lot's of self-doubt. I'm what would be regarded as a very good student-so if it was really hard for me, then it is hard for most people.

There is another world of difference between a Master's thesis and a course work Masters course. However, even course work units and research methods are usually quite stage above your basic undergrad-graduate and Bachelor of Education/teaching type units. As colleagues who have completed coursework Masters would attest too.

She just sounds like a pita (pain in the [email protected]@!) who was giving you the troll treatment in the real world and, note, did she say she had experience in any of these leave her to her ignorance and get on with your dissertation. Cheers!


Mmm, what the hell would a person who's only a teacher know anyway? The most challenging thing she'll come across is marking an essay on Hitler or correcting some kid's spelling. It's not exactly cutting edge research or abstract theoretical concepts that she has to deal with. The fact that she can talk such rubbish just goes to show how little she knows about anything that goes above a post-graduate certificate in education. The next time you get comments like that, I suggest you get even. Smile, nod sympathetically and say, 'Yeah, it's a right laugh - just a couple of hours here and there. Why don't you do one part time for a laugh?' It's wishful thinking, but if she did it would really shut her up.


oh dear this is one of the more annoying aspects of doing a PhD. I know a person who likes to go on about how easy it is and how he could 'knock one over in six months'. but he hasn't tried it, surprise! he never felt the need to say this to me before I started my PhD. i suppose you could always respond with 'well you try it and get back to me on how you're going after 18 months'.

the other one I get is 'oh when are you going to learn to stop studying?'. i find that people don't really understand that this is not 'study' in the undergraduate sense. I tell them it's more like a job where I manage my own project, and that actually it's a lot more demanding than my previous jobs. people seem to want to give me advice all the time despite having no experience in academic work themselves. I have trained my family to understand that I am not 'free' all the time and that I don't appreciate them saying I am. generally i avoid discussing it with the people who don't get it and focus on the people who are supportive, of which there are luckily quite a few! :-)