My transfer viva went about as bad as it could have done. My report was 3x too long, they asked me all sorts of questions i should have known the answer to and i froze up and couldn't answer them and they had major concerns with my methods. I now realise that all my results i've got so far are worthless and i'm going to have to repeat all of them.
I'm 18 months in also so it's all coming extremely late. They said that i could transfer in a month or so if i rewrite my report and address their concerns in my lack of knowledge and make my experimental design tighter. This experience has totally demoralised me though and i'm seriously wondering if i should quit or not. My supervisor has faith and thinks that I will be okay and will get a phd at the end (she even says that there's a postdoc waiting for me at the end if i want it) but I don't think I will even finish successfully and frankly i don't think i care anymore. I really feel i've made a terrible mistake in doing a phd. any advise anyone?????
Your Supervisor has faith and it sounds as if she's treating you pretty well... a postdoc at the end of it? ok, so you can't always believe what your supervisor says.. but that's something a lot of people would kill for.
*LOADS* of people feel demoralised doing a PhD... if it was easy to do one, loads more people would have one - I've said it before, but I swear it's not so much how 'clever' you are.. but how much determination and stubborness you possess... every time you have to re-write something... every time you have to re-do tests or rethink things.... this isn't something only you have gone through, I'd say most PhD students have felt demoralised and it's not a nice feeling.
Actually, this sounds pretty promising. If they didn't want you to continue it would be much easier for them to ask you to leave, rather than suggesting you resubmit; clearly they think that what you have is not only fixable, but potentially very good (hence the postdoc offer).
I'm coming up to 18mths now and I'm going through the same thing. I failed my transfer to PhD, so I do have a very good idea of how your feeling. It's horrible isn't it! I'm in the same boat of receiving feedback about making the necessary changes (in my case, a whole re-write) and resubmit later.
With me, it's the feelings of I'm not good enough, remarks and knock on effects of peoples perceptions about my abilities, sheer embarrassment and feeling ashamed, feeling low and depressed that I've worked hard for such a long time and still failing, dealing with the issue that I'm only a tiny number of people who have failed and most of all letting people down.
As other people have said, it's a positive thing that their allowing you to try again. I'm working on my report like a mad woman! pile of papers to go through to add and reinforce my report; I just want to show these people what I can do!! :) Chin up!
My advice is to treat any (valid) criticism like gold dust.
Note it all down, and when you do something like submit a paper, or a report or do a presentation, check what you have done against any previous criticism. I have made a note of comments even when a paper has been accepted and applied them to future reports.
You may find that the same things come up again and again. It could even be a question rather than a criticism ('are your methods valid?' = 'yes because...').
Criticism hurts, but learn from it. Don't make the same mistake.
On another note - your transer sounds similar to mine, too complex. Keep it simple and clear. If it is 3x too long, then 2/3 is unnecessary.
I am sorry to hear that your transfer report hasn’t been received very well. I completely parallel pineapples comments about his/hers experience with failing their transfer. Feelings of embarrassment, depression, self doubting: am I clever enough. how will people think of me know? How will this affect my career prospects?
Failing a transfer report can rock your confidence to its very core. I know this from experience. I effectively failed my first year review and was so demoralised that I dropped out even though I was given three months to revise and resubmit.
Consider that a lot of people experience these feelings and continue on to successfully complete their PhDs. You just need to learn to take criticisms of your research/writing as a positive thing which can help you improve your Project and Transfer thesis (provided that these criticisms are valid)
I agree that a PhD is more about determination and stubbornness than raw ability. Your supervisor believes in you, which says to me that you do have what it takes. Sounds to me that everything is still to play for so if I where you id give it your best shot.
If after a few months things don’t improve there is no shame in leaving academia and doing something else. I initially though leaving my PhD was the end of the world but it turned out not to be the case
Thanks for all the advise people. Had a chat with my supervisor and we're going to rethink the focus of my project. I think one problem i had was that i was trying too doo too much in too many areas where instead i should have been concentrating on one or two specific areas. Going to be reading up on background stuff to make sure that i actually know what i'm doing also! It was a positive experience in the end, but it did make me really depressed for a while!
i had a similar experience right at the beginning of the process because someone in the dept didn't think the work was valid - I had to put in a load more detail to prove that it was, and my lovely supervisor helped me rephrase the title so that it was succinct but a little bit obscure (it could end up as quite a political piece in the end) so it wouldn't look like it was going to do any boat rocking. I'm at the same stage again now with the next hurdle and have had to cut down the explanation, so I'm hoping they won't want more info AGAIN . First they want just an outline, or so they say, then they decide the want more detail which turns it from the supposed 1000 or so words to getting on for 7000, I which they would decide what they do want sometimes.
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