The moaning thread


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============= Edited by a Moderator =============
well I'm raring to go now...

Do you know what I hate? I hate that i spent 3 years researching something utterly obscure and busting my backside to learn a ridiculously difficult language, dealing with idiots and t*&%$*s at every turn but managing to make a decent thesis and find some original materials only to be shot down with a fricking MPhil. I hate that my Viva was a humiliation and mortification which still cuts to the bone 7 months later and turned into a crucifixion after my supervisor gave me a load of twaddle about it being a sure thing. I hate that i never listened to my gut instinct the first day i met my sup and cried becuase i sensed doom. i hate that i spent 3 years living on no money and miles away from my partner to study something i cared about only to get the consolation prize. and worst of all i hate that all this has made me doubt myself to the extent that it is killing my commitment to my subject and wounding every enthusiasm i ever had for academia.

i hate that everyone says 'mphil! wow' when really i want to scream at them "no, not wow....fricking waste of time that's what that is"

pheeew.....feel better now. useful thread ;-)


I'm terrible at exams so don't have great grades but I enjoy what I do and want to continue doing more research. My PhD was a disaster so to speak as I had so many problems but I survived which is no mean feat. But at the end of the day I seem to be held back by my mediocre grades which I do not like to mention. What really annoys me is that some places want your school grades as if they matter! Surely you are not the same person as you as you were when you were at school or even undergrad so why should they take them into account? Is it not enough I survived my PhD almost intact and not running away screaming as many have told me have quit if they were in my position? But as I don't have a spectacular academic record is this going to be held against me?

Does anyone else have a similar experience and what did they do to overcome it?

We have different grading systems. I'm not in the UK. But I understand what you mean. Having the PhD should be sufficient to prove your ability to do research as you apply for an academic job. It's sad that undergrad grades come back to haunt you (and others in the same boat). It's almost like these institutions demand you live an impeccable life, right from the day you were born. At our 20s, when we were doing our undergrad degrees, we were not thinking "son of a gun, i need to get straight A's so I can get into the PhD later." Nobody does that...or very few people are so clear and so sure as to what they would do in the future, and do exactly as they envisioned. The employers should know better. You should be evaluated based on your phd and other relevant qualities like ability to handle pressure, to get along with co-workers, etc...Undergrad grades are irrelevant. I'm willing to bet some of the employers came to have their jobs in some accidental way, or in some way that adjusts to their circumstances in life given a point in time.

Of course they need some criteria to judge the applicants, but these criteria must be realistic and relavant. I hope you get that job. And maybe you shouldn't worry too much. Maybe they ask for your undergrad grades, but it wouldn't have such a big weight on their decisions, red tape and all that. Maybe you can phone them and ask how relevant undergrad grades are and explain just what you said here? They'll be able to see your point, it's not hard to understand. Goodluck!


Nichola: cyber M&Ms and skittles for you :-) Nothing important to say...just i get you...


Thanks JJJ ... do I get some M & Ms as well please? Those nutty ones are great! :p


Ok Doodles, you've got those M&Ms too :p


======= Date Modified 07 Jul 2011 20:38:07 =======
Thanks ... they're delicious as well!!! Mmmmmmmmmmm :p


I love this thread. I really like my PhD and when I motivate myself I think I can cope with the topic. Alot of people seem to be doing hardcore scientific research. Mines is a political topic so it means more writing than having to deal with graphs and experiments.

My problem is some of the side effects of doing a PhD it can be a bit lonely living 150miles from my University as I think I would have really enjoyed being in and around people like myself. I can't complain about my supervisor, department or subject at all. But reading this thread has made me feel better. I hope things work out well for you all.


OK hear we go...hopefully a good cyber moan will help the situation as all i can think of is quitting. I am in my final year funded but a million miles of completion and I have lupus (an autoimmune disease), but the main impact upon phd is I get really tired really quickly and coupled with being dyslexic it feels like I will never finished! When I started getting a PhD meant everything to me, but now I think it making me ill and all I do is end up crying about it. After quitting / finishing not really capable of holding down a part time work re ill health and have not managed to gain any wider experiences as a PhD student so probably would not get one anyway in this super competative world! Would feel super guilty about giving up especially re studentship money and in someway that guilt is keeping me going.


Sorry for bumping this thread (4 years too late! But I'm going to lose my mind if I don't). I've been unemployed since I submitted 9months ago. I HATE my ex supervisor, and hated my colleagues. I can't seem to stop googling my old research group to see what they're all doing, and I'm up at 3am sometimes reading up on how well they're all doing. And I feel awful! My ex supervisor never helped me, yet she feels the need to be up some phd failures arse who is EMPLOYED with her still, yet here I am tutoring high school kids just so that I can eat! To make matters worse, she is actively partaking in RUINING my freaking life, she's a toxic little witch, and I wish all that was left of her at the university was a plaque in her memory so pigeons could congregate and crap on it on a regular basis. I had the worst experience of academia ever, I was perved on by a colleague who would constantly try to touch me Ffs, I was almost forced out by my colleagues who ganged up against me. My supervisor disappeared come submission time, didn't read my work, encouraged my examiners to delay my graduation, by some miracle I got out. So why can't I stop googling them?! It's like a really crappy divorce. I'm being incredibly stupid! I'm angry all the time....I wish I could get some closure. ...........and breathe....end of moan.


Hi PhDefault,

I think that all of us can relate to your feelings to some extend. Some of us have been treated unfair in a previous job/university/ relationship etc. I generally want to make justice, so if there is anything I can do to stop this behaviour, I will do it. I believe that if you let people go, they will find the next victim and do the same thing again.

Anyway, apart from how you deal with the whole situation in a practical level, you need to deal with it in an emotional level too. The fact that this is intoxicating your life is adding more damage to what is already being done. So, my advice is first start exercising, swimming, running and generally exercise that relishes energy might be particularly helpful. Do whatever it takes to get over this experience; for me it helps stop talking/ thinking about it.
Keep applying for jobs, something will come up.

Good luck.

Avatar for Pjlu

It's incredible the way a doctorate or PhD looks and feels so different once you are well and truly immersed in it-or finished with it, rather than it did before one started!

PhDefault-you write really imaginatively so at least the PhD didn't kill that bit! :) Dr J's advice is excellent. Furthermore, I recently read this really interesting article on thinking (not to do with my PhD but it was a good read all the same). I'm going to quote it here as I was very taken by it and it might be helpful to you. I found it really helpful as an explanation of why my own brain went into obsessive thinking modes so readily, despite all of my best intentions. It might shed light on the googling btw. If not, just ignore:

It has been taken from an article called Quiet Leadership by Frumi Rachel Barr. Excerpt is below.

It’s Practically Impossible to Deconstruct Our Wiring
• It’s almost impossible to change any hard wiring that’s been embedded in the brain. Our default mode for trying to change our habits is to try to “unwire” what is already there, to deconstruct it somehow.
• So when we want to change something about ourselves, we first look down into our memory and search for the roots of our habits. We look for the links.
• What usually happens is we fail to stop the habit, and then become upset with ourselves for failing. This provides further links and energy to the original wiring we wanted to get rid of, further embedding the habit.
• Science is showing that we can change the way we think, and that’s not as hard as we’ve been assuming. Changing a habit, now that’s hard, but leaving it where it is and creating a whole new habit – that turns out to be far more achievable.

It’s Easy to Create New Wiring
• An exciting new domain within neuroscience called neuroplasticity found that the brain had a remarkable ability to repair itself when things went wrong.
• Scientists noticed that the brain was capable of creating new connections on a massive scale, at any stage of life, and did this in response to anything new that was learned, such as learning to play an instrument.
• Every day we create enormous sets of new maps that change the chemical and physical connections in our brain.
• If we want to hardwire a new behavior we just need to give our new mental map enough attention, over enough time, to ensure it becomes embedded in our brain. We do this by making links to different parts of the brain so that the web of links thickens and spreads out.
• If we want to improve people’s performance, our job is to help them find new ways to approach situations that leaves their existing wiring where it is, and allows for the development and ultimately the hard wiring of new habits. A less technical way of saying this is we need to help people focus on solutions instead of problems. We need to give up our desire to find behaviors to fix, and become fascinated with identifying and growing people’s strengths, an entirely other discipline.


Thank you Dr Jeckyll and Pjlu. Both of your posts were helpful, and you're both right.
I was in a particularly foul mood when I posted that. Hence the imaginative bit I guess haha (I have more ups and downs than a lift since my PhD).

Dr Jeckyll: I would like a way to stop my ex supervisor from doing it to another person, I'm too a doer than a watcher, but having so many blocked paths (people higher up seem to be very happy with how things are going - I've complained, no joy) and being forced into being a watcher is really frustrating. I have started running, yoga, pilates, controlled eating, and just pushing myself until I literally can't do it anymore, as it feels its like the only thing I've got any control over right now. And it does help. I'm going to try and stop talking about it..but, and this is REALLY stupid..if someone mentions something in passing related to academia/supervisors/crappy colleagues, even if it's on telly I lose my composure.

Pjlu: That post does give me some insight into why I'm being such an obsessive person over people who are not important!! I'm trying to fix something that I can't unless others are willing to help..and the powers that be at my university really are very happy with it... I need to just stop.

Thank you's nice to know people understand what's going on in my head x

Fingers crossed I get a job soon, so I can just forget my PhD ever happened.


Hey, fatbunneh! Cheer up! Maybe next time before you submit another paper, ask a friend or anybody to read it first. Not like seriously read and correct every mistake, just ask them to quickly read through and spot the obvious one. All the best!!