Doing a PhD, does it make you ugly?


What do you guys reckon? I have never felt so ugly in my life and I'm not even THAT vain!

Since starting the phd nearly 3 years ago:
I have put on 2.5 stones.
I have loads of white hairs (I'm not even 30 yet!).
I've lost my dress sense (although having one in the first place is quite questionable) - mostly due to lack of funds.

I'm lucky I met hubby quite soon after I started otherwise I would be single as well as ugly!

Am I just a drama queen?


lol H , sorry your message made me laugh, although i dont think that was your intention!
i know what you mean about feeling ugly, i've put on weight since i've been in "writing mode" going on a warrior diet now, where you fast during the day (eating fruits and water) and then have one big meal at the end of the day, and then you relax. its working out well ,because im no longer sleepy during the day and able to concentrate better on my thesis, even though do feel abit hungry, its nice to have something to look forward to, ie dinner and relaxing in the evening.

im sure you've not become ugly! but i can sympathesise with the weight gain! im a comfort and stress eater!


I know what you mean. I'm 32 and I have a few white hairs (which I'm dying blonde to give the illusion of highlights). I'm scared to weigh myself cos my trousers feel tight and am definitely more prone to overeating, especially when I'm in the lab alone at weekends or evenings.

Mind you, extra weight is not always a bad thing. A year or so ago I had this exchange with a Lebanese PhD student whose English wasn't brilliant. I had just lost a bit of weight, and he said to me:

"Him: You, er, become less?
Me: Sorry?
Him: You - become - LESS! (gesturing to my backside).
Me: Oh! Yes, a bit. Thank you!
Him: No. Do not thank. Was better before."

That still makes me smile. He'd probably like me better now, actually.


I'm far from vain but yes it does. I've got a crap overgrown hair, wear cheap deodorant (things with odd names like Man Musk, Man Power and Twilight Passion), dress in crap TJ Hughes T-shirts and knitted jumpers and have a waist so wide, from being so over-weight, that I look like I wear a tyre around my midriff. Oh, and I'm also getting a hunch back from crouching over all day long. And to cap it all off, I have stress induced acne, so I have a face like a cheese and tomato pizza. :-(


I'm totally with you on this one. I feel like for so long I haven't really been bothering to look at myself properly in the mirror - my mind has been so occupied. Today I looked properly and really didn't like what I saw. Loads of tiny white hairs starting to grow :( and I have put on soooo much weight doing this thesis. If you're a drama queen then so am I!


H - Obviously we can't do a Pre- and Post- examination here, but I don't think its as bad as you make it and once all is handed in, you'll have time and ca$hto "get your groooooooooove back"

Walminskipeas - Are you sure there isn't a bottle of Sex Panther in your toilet bag as well?
"Score within the hour with MAN POWER!!!"

Not that I started from a good starting point but deffo know I'd hit rock bottom when was out foreign and some guy said "You are Little Britain, yes?". That was it - into the gym with me and exchanging the keg for a six-pack (ok, maybe a twenty four pack, but smaller than a keg at least)

I think sometimes you have to forego the extras in life (rent and food) in order to re-jig the threads every few months ... at this stage, most of the stuff is virtually in threads so will need to do it anyways!!

Think the whole culture is prone to "letting it go" for a while, between long nights (either working or occasionally boozing to forget the work). I've seen a huge change for the better in many of the friends who have recently finished.


Don't worry Lara, it was supposed to be lighthearted!

lol Juno, he was obviously an arse man! However I KNOW I looked better at my original weight!

I'm looking forward to finishing so I can shift my phd-weight and then buy loads of lovely clothes thanks to my new job!


I completely agree! I spent about half my working week in jogging bottoms (when I'm working at home), my hair seems to have gone into grease overload and my skin is just horrendous! I never got spots when i was a teenager but now I'm in my 20s I am breaking out! Put on weight steadily with each degree.

Am trying to work on my clothes as I've always verged on the kooky side of dressing and the other day with my brother:
bro - you look colourful
me - thanks
bro - it's not a compliment
me - oh
bro - it's not a negative either
me - right

then my dad came up
dad - it's not a pantomime you know...




arghhhh! Thank you, H! I'm so glad to find out that everyone else has had an PhD-induced ugly attack.

My hair is lank and greasy and I generally look as if i have scurvy.

I have almost entirely given up washing my face - I know this is disgusting - because I have no hot water and I am just generally too distracted to remember (i'm in the writing-up period).

I have stopped buying new clothes and am selling anything half decent I own on ebay to fund me through my 6 month extension (it's not working - woman cannot live on £2.50 a week).

I have given up wearing contacts as I can't afford 'em, but my glasses are all wonky and scratched! ug.

And the other day i looked around my office and all i could see was pasty white, spotty faces which were all either grimacing or frowning in concentration - I have a deep cleft between my eyebrows from squinting at the screen.

If I'd known that this blasted thesis was going to cost me what little I had of looks and sanity, I might have thought twice about starting it in the first place!:-)


Sorry, it's not that I'm thankful that you're all feeling ugly too (I'm wishing you all your self-esteem back!) - it's just nice to know I'm not alone in my woes...


H being as sincere as always...

But I know for a fact that you're not ugly. Feeling ugly is a different matter though. I know how you feel. It must be the PhD, and the weight it brings. The way I see it, you need to have down times in order to achieve high ones. The transition to the high moment is priceless. I hope yours will come soon too. (up) (what happened to the other smileys?)



Well I'm lucky I haven't got any grey hairs in my early 30s yet...I must have good genes in that respect because it certainly doesn't reflect my stress levels.

However, I am also going without contact lenses and my blonde highlights. :(
I've put on lots of weight ('eating my anxiety' as a TV shrink would say), and I'm also live in jogging pants.

I like to think of myself as something of an intellectual version of Waynetta Slob :p

Alas, we shouldn't feel bad as the whole country will soon be asking 'Is the credit crunch making me ugly?'


well, doing my MA made me butt-ugly, so i'm sincerely hoping that the PhD is going to bring about a reversal of that situation...!
i'm on a diet, dying my hair, will DEFINITELY use more face masks in the future. bought new glasses and am close(ish) to my goal weight - bought a whole new wardrobe this summer (on sales) in anticipation...!!!


Ahhh thanks 404, you are sweet as always! I guess I could be more horrendous looking, it's just a case of feeling ugly! Thanks for the replies everyone, I'm feeling better already lol! I gave everyone a star vote!

I'm really annoyed about my white hairs, mostly because my mother, in her 50s, still has mostly black hair. I really think it's due to the phd rather than anything else! I'm forgetting that my dad went grey very early on ;-)

I also think in my mind that I'm in a particular place in my life and I can't move on until I finish the PhD. So I can't lose the weight etc until after I submit. It's madness though!


I'll join the ugly group- I totally identify with what you guys are going through!

For me, I think a big thing is not getting enough sleep- those latter hours seem to be so important for your body to heal itself so my skin has gotten really bad and just stays that way. Plus I cycle everywhere and it's horrifying how much dirt ends up on your face- embarrassing to discover when you look in the mirror after walking around that way all day. I feel I'm in permanent scruffy geek mode- I do a lot of fieldwork so I'm always in boots and outdoor clothes, or cycle gear, perpetually windswept, usually smudged with bike-grime. And how I would love to find time to get some new clothes...actually that's got to the stage where it's a necessity rather than a luxury since my field pants have now worn a hole in the butt

I'm so destined to stay inner optimist wants to console me with the thought that at least I'll have fewer distractions from study (!)