I've been a bit of a lurker on this forum since my viva in 2017, which resulted in a resubmission in 18 months. I searched threads that dealt with resubmission endless times, and read and re-read messages of encouragement from others here to those brave enough to post their experiences.
So I'm dedicating this post to all of you, and thanking everyone for the discussions I could read, and the general feeling that I was not the only one. I ended up resubmitting earlier this year, and my degree was awarded a month ago. No second viva, non further corrections, even though the examiners had the discretion to opt for one more month of corrections. And now I've been fixing the inevitable typos etc and wondering if this really is real.
I want to stay a bit anonymous, so I won't give too many details. I'm still embarrassed about failing to do what all my friends managed, and subsequently watching them go onto jobs in and out of academia while I was 'stuck' with my resubmission. I didn't tell all my friends, just the close ones, and as consequence I started avoiding people in general and I was in a really dark place for a long time.
But a few things made it possible for me to get through the process, so here's my main advice for the other lurkers out there:
a) talk to friends. Seriously, find one or two who you can tell everything to. And they need to be people who have PhDs so they know what the struggle is, and who can push and pull you towards completion. I never found the advice of 'outsiders' useful in this whole mess, because if they didn't know the UK system, or what a PhD is, then they struggled to say the things I needed to hear and it got frustrating when I had to explain the magnitude and significance of my failure.
(to be continued...)
b) contact university counselling. Do not wait a year for this like I did. And remember that at least at my uni you can stop the clock by going on interruption due to mental health issues. This was a life saver.
c) If like me you can't channel your feeling of failure into an actionable "I'll show them all" -rage, that's ok. What I did was I started slow. My first goal was to go to my former desk, and just sit there a full day, and maybe do some work. Seriously, the whole thing was too traumatic to be productive from the beginning. So I just went to sit there for a day, did a bit of reading, made "plans" but honestly, I wasn't that productive for many months. But it'll pick up, trust me.
d) Make a plan in terms of content and timeline with your supervisor. The days when you struggle with the work are much worse than first time around, or so it was for me at least. But meeting with the sup always made things somewhat better, even though mine was a lot of times a bit useless.
e) Talk to friends. Seriously.
f) Try to rephrase it in your mind as going for round 2. I changed the file name to Diss v.2.0 to mentally focus on this being a different thing, a second version of what was my research.
g) I broke down crying many times when I opened the examiners' reports, so the only way I could finally get started, was with a few different colours of highlighters, and just thinking it was someone else's thesis and that I needed to find their suggestions for missing literature references, unclear arguments, typos, and other categories. And then I compiled them into lists, so that I didn't have to have those reports with me when I did the day to day work. Take the comments seriously, but remove them from the context of examination. Now they just became to do -lists.
h) It'll be terrible. You just have to push through. Just a little bit longer, and then it's over. To be able to get to the point of submitting the first time is a huge achievement, so you know you can do it again no matter how daunting it feels. And it does feel daunting.
My examiners went 2 months past their deadline, so I lived in horrible anticipation much longer than I thought. But I got there in the end, and I've now even told a few friends who didn't know about the struggle that I made it. Some were a bit confused (I could see the wheels turning in their heads "didn't you finish years ago?") but then happy for me. The end result is what matters, or so I keep telling myself :D
I have started to change my title everywhere I see it. Don't let people tell you it's weird, or snobby, or will confuse people who think you're a medical doctor. They don't know how difficult it was, so screw them. Just be proud!
Congratulations on finally passing. Your story made me feel that getting resubmission at the viva is not the end of the road. Your advice is very helpful and wish you all the best!
Truly thank you for sharing this experience. I am in the same shoes now, resubmission within 12 months without reviva. It is truly scary experience, resubmitted my thesis and still waiting for the examiners to come back with the result. It is so mentally and physically torturing to work on the corrections and waiting for the result (with no assurance your corrections will end up being awarded with the degree). I am so depressed abd yet the examiners are just taking their sweet time to drag students life endlessly... How did you cope during waiting period? But I must praise you for your hard work in this process, Dr. You earned this title!
I have just come across this post and it is the only thing I am holding on to that is giving me hope.
I recently resubmitted my PhD after 18 months of revise and resubmit. I had my viva and the outcome was to revise and resubmit without further oral examination required. I guess what it meant for me was that it had failed. My supervisor wasn't equipped to properly advise me on my topic, and my external examiners registered that and basically propelled me to pursue my topic according to their knowledge of the field, and given the examiners and my supervisor come from radically different perspectives, it made sense. Nonetheless, I felt I had somehow wasted those 4 years of being guided by my supervisor and instead then had to totally shift it up and redo it all again from a different line of inquiry. I fell into a really low mode then after the viva, feelings of inadequacy, not feeling equipped enough, feeling flat out dumb whilst also being so radically exposed. In any case, I made it clear that I would not give up and I needed support for my mental health just to fathom up the energy to go on forward. Now I've re-submitted, they have it now in their hands (I re-submitted just over 2 weeks ago). No clue what will happen as it's all up in the air. I radically restructured it and took on the majority of their comments on board, some I simply couldn't have due to time limitations, and I wonder what I'll do if it's just insufficient. I feel bad because I've had to leave so much of my supervisor's guidance out and radically re-enter a new field, because of the examiner's prompting me to do so.
I'm super anxious, I'm worried and I really think, after 6 1/2 years, what will I do if they fail me? I'd feel so worthless. I can't bring myself to open up about it to anyone because I'm so ashamed. You post really resonated with me and I hope there will be a positive outcome. Does anyone know if it happens often that they request further corrections after resubmission? I just so so so don't want them to fail me. It was an ERC funded project, and so I hope that that may help out a bit - but I'm just so anxious every time I think about it!
Hi, I saw your post and can empathise with your experience and feeling. Is the same with my PhD journey. After 5 gruelling years with physical and mental problems and submitting in time (my PhD was a part-time), my examiners told me that I need to rework and resubmit. I realised from my examiner's feedback that my PhD was littered with holes and errors that stem from the start of my PhD. As a novice researchers, I was learning as I was carrying out research work, and many of the errors happened unconsciously. I was quite annoyed with my supervisors because I had hoped that he would highlight this to me as I was learning about research skills. He kept harping on "you are the expert" and although I was the expert in the research topic, I was not in terms of the research skills which is transferable between research project. An example of a research skill would be the rigour of the research method. Moreover, with other issues beyond my control, I wanted a PhD extension which was flat-out refused by my supervisors. With that, I rushed with my work and produced a messy thesis. Even when I highlighted the issues I was having, my supervisors gaslighted the whole situation as "no big deal" and therefore, not justifiable for an extension. I regretted not roping in a third supervisor because I gave them a benefit of doubt. I know it sounds like I am blaming my supervisors as academic peers always told me to take control of my thesis, which I did on many occasions, but I found that when something bad happens if I refuse to listen to my supervisors, I get blamed for not listening. And if I do listen to them and something bad happens, I get told that I should have taken control. Essentially, when something bad happens, "keep calm and blame the PhD candidate for either not listening or not taking control". To make matters worse, my mental health has taken a massive toll and literally fighting suicidal thoughts every day. But reading your comments help me realised I am not alone and collectively, PhD students are helping each other to keep going. I encouraged myself that the PhD is a learning journey and although we are asked to resubmit, we need to remind ourselves (1) we did not give up and went through the viva and did the best we could (2) is not over yet.
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