Just a quick one from me. Im a bit concerned. My supervisor as I have mentioned before is always busy. He is notoriously unreliable with getting things back to me. I've given him entire chapters and waited for any feedback and a month later he will send me 6 pages out of 60 with comments on them.
I have used all the comments I have been given, but when it came to handing in I ran out of time and couldn't afford to wait another month to hope to get more feedback. So when he called me telling me he probably wouldnt have time to look at any of my chapters apart from what he had done. I was horrified. But I pushed forward and did the best I could and got it handed in. Now I feel like Im sitting on a time bomb, wondering what I havent seen in my thesis that he would have. Im almost scared to let him read it knowing that he will find problems, and I will be able to do nothing about it.
I've cajoled and emailed him and I feel like I've done all I can at my end. My worries are probably very valid but I'm just wondering if you have any experience of this. A kind word or two would also be nice lol. Is this common? At the end of the day the buck stops with me in terms of the thesis I just cannot relax knowing its out there.
So you've submitted? And your thesis is in? Well in that case, you've done the best you can do, and that's the best any of us can ask of ourselves. I have concerns about my thesis too, not least due to my neurological disease and how much that impacted on the quality of my writing. But I'm happy I did the best I could, and you should be too. Have some faith, and good luck in your viva.
First of all, your supervisor doesn't sound like he was very good at all. I wish I did, but I don't really have any comments that will be constructive or helpful. What I can tell you is that you're the expert on your subject, probably a perfectionist at heart, so you're going to see every minor flaw and typo in your thesis. Awaiting the viva is a time of high tension and you're going to be thinking 'what if?' and 'I could have done that better'. A thesis has to be a high quality, well written original piece of research. It doesn't have to be perfect and very few of them are. Of course you're ultimately accountable for your thesis and you'll have to defend it, but nobody knows more about it than you. Supervisors always make comments on any work you submit - not because you're necessarily wrong - but perhaps because this or that sentence could have been written better, or maybe because you need to mention this or that a bit more...but you're still the expert. You can bet you'll probably have a few typos, maybe you've omitted a few references or something. However, don't think that you've made dreadful mistakes or omissions as this is very unlikely and you'll torture yourself right up to the viva. Good luck. You'll be fine!(up)
I can understand why you are concerned, that sounds like a really difficult situation. You say that you've actioned all the comments he did make so I am sure you have been applying his guidance across more than just the 6 page he read each time, so overall things are probably much better than you think. Many other posts on here talk about self doubt - and I'm stuck in that too, even on the chapters that have had plenty of feedback. Just part of this lovely PhD process!
I think you have to get him to read it and give you feedback now it's done - get as much from him as you can! However, maybe there is someone more senior, the head of graduate programme perhaps who may be able to give you some advice. I know at my uni there have been instances where students have spoke to someone at this level of seniority to get guidance in similar situations and it was in confidence, but with positive outcomes. You could then get a different (but experienced and reliable) opinion on your situation to help you prepare for your viva.
Do you have a viva date yet?
Thank you both,yes a case of serious self doubt, im absolutely awful at defending my work so not feeling too positive right now. Viva date has been set for the start of June so im on a ticking clock. Anyone know how to bolster confidence academically?
======= Date Modified 23 Mar 2010 00:31:49 =======
Cakegirl, best of luck in the world to you, I know you will get done!
Bilbobaggins, thank you for those amazing tips I will get on it right away, at least the viva is in my hands I can rely on myself for that. Thank you
Im so glad I posted everyone tonight has been so helpful
I feel for you. I found myself in a similar situation, maybe a bit worse!
I somehow managed to get to the same point as you, submitted my PhD after my supervisor had read it....ok'd it etc. Only when I was revising for my viva did I realise that it was full of errors, one or two that were serious. I had followed a research process that I didn't understand........I was up the creak without a paddle! After a mock viva with a friend who just happened to be a Prof., I was ready to jump off a very big bridge.....I was crying and a total mess. The viva went worse and I was surprised to get a 2nd chance.
I blamed my supervisor, and no doudt he did need to take a great deal of responsibility.......after all, it should not happen that a Ph.D. submission is not worthy of an award! The process seriously broke me mentally.....I was in a highly demanding job at the time, where weakness was not tolerated.
A funny thing then happened.....I met a girl who was a Buddhist....she somehow managed to get me on to a retreat in the North of Scotland for a week. Now, I wasn't one for mumbo jumbo, or religion.....after all, I was a scientist. But I went. The week made me realise a number of things:
That I was not in control of my supervisor's behaviour, so being angry and bitter about it would only be destructive.
That I was in control of all my actions.....I may have done a poor job, but had I learnt from my experiences?
How would I treat my students, should I be in a position to supervise in the future?
Through the resubmission process, would I learn?
All the answers were positive. Now I have resubmitted my thesis.....it has errors, its not perfect and there is a chance even after all the hard work, that I won't be awarded a Ph.D. Does it matter? Hmmm, maybe a bit, but its not the end of my world if it doesn't end in success. I am now working where I want to, and I am happy. A Ph.D. is a "Teacher of Philosophy", not an expert in this field, or that....I am much stronger in that way than the student who had a supervisor that handed over a research proposal, asked his student to collect the data and then assisted in publishing in a high impact journal.
I am sure there are more positives that will come out of your situation too, and I wish you all the luck in the world. :)
======= Date Modified 25 Mar 2010 10:03:06 =======
It was, yeah! Beautiful!
It's funny....when you feel so alone in the research process, the best thing to do is take some guidance and explore it in solitude.
I must sound like a loner, but I'm soooo not.
I think all Ph.D. supervisors should undergo specific training, and consider the impact they have in the way they interact with their supervisee. It's about gaining knowledge and using humility, logical, balanced and critical thought processes that they should have learnt during their own Ph.D.
Not that any of us should feel bitter or resentment towards our supervisory team. Their weaknesses or limitations should teach us valuable lessons that we can use for the benefit of others.
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