Hi guys, haven't been on the PGF for a while-hope everyone is keeping well?
I suppose the title says it all really. My upgrade is next Wedneday and I am dreading it big time!! In about mid-September my primary supervisor wanted me to take the lead on a paper he wanted to send to a journal. However we had a deadline at the beginning of October and I had to write the paper from scratch (including analyses) in three weeks!
This then gave me only 4 weeks to write my upgrade report, which has to be between 3-6,000 words. I really struggled with it and managed to get a draft to them at the end of October (I went to Venice for a few days). My primary supervisor gave me loads of helpful comments- my secondary supervisor gave no help what so ever. I then submitted another draft last Wednesday, which she refused to read as it wasn't a 'final' version!?! She said she didn't want to put her name on something she wasn't happy with.
I finally got her to agree to read it on Friday and I spent all weekend working my nuts off trying to improve this report and have hardly slept with worry. Both my supervisors are saying is that it needs ‘lots of work’, which doesn’t bode well. It is due to be given to my internal examiner on Wednesday. I still have my presentation to prepare (45 mins) and have also had to create a poster for an internal poster competition!
I just don’t know. My supervisors are making me feel like my work is not good enough to upgrade, but they are unwilling to change the date. I don’t feel like they have much confidence in me, and it really upsets me. I had a day or two when I really doubted my ability and was seriously thinking about quitting, but I realized that I do like my PhD and really want this chance to really achieve something in my life.
Sorry this is a long post. I feel so lost at the moment, and am really having a hard time of it.
They seem pretty inconsistent: if you are good enough to write a journal paper in your first year, then I find it hard to believe that your upgrade report is that bad. And what's this about not reading it cos it's not a final version?! What's the point of reading only the final version?
Sounds like they have lazyitis to me.
Don't worry re: lack of replies, the forum is very quiet at the moment. Sometimes I think I should make a scatter graph of views/replies to see if there's a correlation; but then again I'm a nerd.
Yeah, it just seems odd that your supervisor let you write the paper, but doesn't seem to trust you to write an upgrade report. Something similar happened to me as an undergrad: my project supervisor refused to look at my thesis draft till the day before hand in, then told me it was "shit" and that I'd be up all night fixing it. Nice chap. They really need to allocate time to go over this with you properly: that is their responsibility.
That all sounds rather crap, especially your second supervisor's comment about not wanting to read a draft that wasn't final! There are loads of drafts between the start and the end of a PhD, so I'm not sure how you're meant to improve without feedback...? Are you still working on the report? I think if I was in your situation right now I'd concentrate on the report and the presentation, and try to worm out of anything that's not upgrade related, like that poster competition, though it sounds like that's done now? Try not to worry too much until you get feedback after the upgrade - it might be loads better than you're currently thinking and boost your confidence a bit. If it's not as good as you'd like, maybe it'll be an opportunity to sort out whatever's going on with your supervisors, before they totally undermine your confidence. Stick with it if you can for now, but good luck.
Might be worthwhile delaying submission of upgrade report if that is possible. You need a clear head for the upgrade viva and working your nuts off doesn't sound good. Also, Juno is right: the sums don't add up- Why do your sups agree to a paper for publication and then smash your confidence about your upgrade report? Something's not right.
Hey sillybilly, First of all, if the upgrade decision date cannot be changed- and sometimes they cant, as maybe the faculty board meeting is fixed, then would it be worth contacting your internal examiner to explain the situation? In saying this, at the risk of maybe coming accross as a little harsh, maybe you could have written the report already if you have had a year to think about it? (sorry, I am just trying to imagine the view the board will take). Regardless of this, you cannot do anything about it now and sometimes its better just to motor on with it and get the report done, rather than making excuses about it. You still have a good 2 days of work left, so I'm sure you can get it done to an acceptable standard in that time with a first draft already, if you were able to churn an article out from scratch in 3 weeks!!
Finally, regarding your abilities, be confident, you can do it! You have demonstrated this by being accepted in the first place, and this is evident from the supervisors asking you to write the paper with them! Anyway, my view is not to care what they think, at the end of the day its about having the belief in yourself and in that regard, it doesn't really matter what others think!! So just listen to what they say and ignore it! Then make sure and blow everyone away at the presentation and watch the surprise on their faces-so prepapre prepare preapre! good luck!
Hi guys just to give you a quick update. Thanks for all your kind words.
Have handed my upgrade report in! I got some last minute comments from the supervisors, but didn't make many changes to the draft i handed them on Monday. I am happy its done but a bit dissapointed that it wasn't too a better standard.
Poster competition was today also and my poster went down very well! So am chuffed with that and it has given me enough confidence to make sure that my upgrade presentation is going to be the best!
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