Is it a disaster?


Hi guys! Here is another person in need of advice and support. My PhD deadline thesis submission is approaching, but so far I have only one chapter. This happened due to my bad psychological state during the first two years (PTSD+depression+procrastination) and a very massive study that I am doing all by myself. My supervisor is obsessed with all her students meeting the deadline and she's been quite intimidating for the last three months. I guess it's because she has a history with some of her promising students not submitting at all. I had three years to finish my work, but I feel that I need at least two more months to be actually able to finish. My main concern is that my supervisor is going to hate me if I don't meet the deadline, and will kill my academic career with bad recommendations. My supervisor is a very famous and powerful person in my field, so her words have a lot of weight. I feel that I grown up a lot within these three years, developed strong love to my field and almost defeated my inner demons, so ruining it all by not meeting the deadline feels extremely painful.
I haven't talked to my supervisor about the extension yet, because I am terrified with her reaction. Moreover, I think that she reads my writing last within my colleagues, so it feels like she already gave up on me. I feel so desperate I want to leave my PhD, while I am madly in love with my research and want to proceed in academia.

Avatar for rewt

It is not a disaster, it is a typical PhD. I would focus only on finishing, don't worry what your supervisor thinks as the only things that matter are you submitting and passing. She will want you submit as a late submission is far better than no submission, especially if she has a history of it.

The real question is do you need an extension to write up or get data. If it is to write up, make a realistic plan and propose that to her. If you have only shown her one chapter, she probably knows you will need an extension and having a plan shows maturity.


Universities have external targets for PhD students submitting on time (usually 4 years but some subjects may differ) and the penalties for missing it can mean losing research council funding for future PhD students. If your department is near the threshold, and your supervisor has a record of students not completing, she probably is feeling under a lot of pressure herself about you finishing on time (especially if you've been funded). I am telling you this as she may be aware that in those circumstances extensions might be hard to get approved by the faculty so is pushing you hard as a result. You need to talk to her, show her a realistic plan of what still needs doing and how long it will take, and jointly strategise how best to move forward regarding an extension request or any loopholes to temporarily stop the deadline clock for you. She may be assuming you have more written that you do so now is the time to be brutally honest.


Its never too late to change once you realize it you can take a step to mend it and just do it


When is the deadline? You might be able to do lot in that time.