Another rant on here.
I am a final year PhD (lab based) juggling my life between writing up and slowly finishing up in the lab. So far, so good. Apart from that it’s not. My results, although decent as a whole, are full of holes – I can see all the flaws and all the tweaks I need to do to my data to make it look prettier, clearer, more like what I want. It’s bringing me down. To the point I have no motivation to do anything apart from sit and feel depressed because I feel my PhD isn’t up to par to what everyone else’s is. Everyone thinks I’m actually prettygood, but I know it’s all a fluke. I have had a hard project and I just think it’s all crap and I will leave nothing good behind me.
At the same time I am trying to apply for postdocs – out of 20+ emails I send, I get almost no replies. And when I browse and read other postdocs’ publication lists, it makes me feel I will never get anywhere and no one will ever want to employ me because I haven’t got 15 papers during my PhD. An acknowledgment email is all I need – a “thank you but no”. But I am just being ignored. I invested too much of my life into this only to be told it was all worthless. Being left in the cold is hurtful and, with the feeling of having a crap thesis – it’s too much to take.
Hi. I am not anywhere close my finish but I think if you haven't got a reply then it might be a good sign.Sometimes you get replies long after you have applied.May be they hold until they get all the applications and then begin to evaluate. It happened to me while I was applying for a funded PhD. I didn't hear for months and then all of a sudden it came in way.
Also, is it expected to have that many publication? I am in engineering and I haven't seen anyone more than 3-4 publication within my group.cheers.
It sounds to me like you are tired. The feelings you are having about your PhD sound quite familiar to me. It's well known that many PhD students have a perfectionist streak in them (I certainly do)... and that can make us look at our work in strange ways and, sometimes, prevents us from keeping things in perspective. You say that others think you are doing good work - believe them. When you look at your work, try to see what's there... not what's not... that is what they see. For sure, you'll see gaps and weaknesses, you're close to the work, you know what went on under the surface of things... but you can't always say everything in one gasp... save those gaps for future work. In terms of papers... I agree with the previous poster - I don't see many students having more than 2-4 papers prior to completion of PhD and, certainly, outside of the sciences, it's rare for students to even have 1-2, so don't beat yourself up so much.
On the Post-Doc bit, I appreciate how you feel and it is discouraging, but you just need to take the hits and keep on ploughing on - maybe ask for some advice about how you are framing your applications to see if there's something there you can improve on, to make what you have to offer more explicit, more of a 'fit' with what's being asked for, etc. Keep your chin up.
Hi - Sounds like you have a case of "imposter syndrome". I suffered with that in my first degree and the same feelings come back every now and again. When it comes to what other people say to you about your potential, your strengths and your work, you think that 'if they only knew the truth' then they would quickly change their minds. This feeling comes out of being so close to your work and so self-critical that you can't see the good points that those on the outside do see. I know you're busy but can you take a couple of days and try to distance yourself from work. Might help you to see it more clearly?
Alternatively, you could try this ruthless exercise: take a piece of paper, write at the top of it 'What is wrong with my PhD?' then bullet point all the problems you can think of. Hopefully you will see that there are fewer than you thought, that some of them are about your perception, rather than concrete problems, and that many of them are soluble. This would be better than thinking that everything's wrong with it and that there's nothing good in it.
This can be a bit scary to start with though!
There are a lot of us sitting on some very disappointing data at the end of our PhDs. It's always a bit of a gamble when you do empirical stuff - a bit of a lottery. We just have to make the best of what we have and discuss the shortcomings and what could/might be done about it.
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