======= Date Modified 12 34 2009 17:34:06 =======
======= Date Modified 12 33 2009 17:33:06 =======
Hi all, I started my PhD in pharmacy three weeks ago, after a few tentative weeks attending relentless safety talks I'm kind of in the thick of it now. Its been really overwhelming and I feel I want to just vent, I am on a DTC program with a multidisciplinary focus. I've found myself doing some hard core organic chemistry, now, I come from a molecular biology background. Its got me feeling like a bit of dullard, I actually find it quite embarrassing bumbling my way through stuff an A level Chemistry student would know. I feel a little a bit hopeless in front of my supervisor to be frank.
All is not lost as this is a training project and I am in the library writing this with an A level Chemistry book in front of me so I will improve. I also like going out of my comfort zone. My worries at the moment is that I after a day of ruminating through the literature I am no closer to getting anything done in the lab. I also can't help feeling like a thicko around my peers,
Take heart Riship, this is just a natural part of academia!
This may help http://jcs.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/121/11/1771
(and if not, know that most of us here feel stupid on a regular basis, myself heartily included)
I count the times when I don't feel stupid during the PhD process as moments of achievement, like reaching the top of Everest; it's a process which is constantly stretching us, so we're bound to feel not ready or out of our depth much of the time. There have been quite a few posts on feelings of inadequacy - look for 'imposter syndrome' in the thread search thingy and you'll find loads.
Can I recommend an A-level (+) textbook - my bible for A-level and for tutoring chemistry:
Chemistry in Context by Graham Hill and John Holman (if you aren't already using it)
I would start by looking up a particular topic in this book and then moving up to the more complex literature.
Hang in there, you will get there with a little hard work. If you get desperate, consider private tuition from one of the chemistry postdocs/phd students.
I'm an idiot too. I believed that my Uni had negotiated access to and external organisation to enable me to gather my raw data before they advertised my studentship. I began to worry after the first year, but they did assure me I would be able to access the data and not to worry. So I got through my transfer and then found that the arrangement was so flimsy, I had no data access at all! I've now lost 6 months working time and 2 years into my study, I'm just so stuck.
When it became obvious that the University had failed to get the access for data collection, I myself applied to a further 6 different organisations with full formal details of my proposed research and supporting documents, but I've had no luck to date. The Uni now says it's my job to negotiate access, but these are large public bodies and the application of a mere PhD student doesn't even get their attention. We're pond life in their scheme of things. They probably just binned my applications and correspondence.
Perhaps I should've been more suspicious sooner, but I was always assured that everything was in hand so I just got on with my work. Without this access, I just won't have a thesis and my funding will run out before I can turn my research around and take on a different project from scratch. I waited 12 years till I could afford to study full time, so I'm very disappointed.
I suppose my warning is that you should make sure of your data access yourself, get it in writing with dates and penalty clauses... oh, and make sure the writing is in human arterial blood and keep your grip on that artery!
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