Woe, or, usually I am not this unhappy.


My laptop died two weeks ago. I have no money to replace it and it can't be fixed. My department has three computers, shared between all the taught and research pgs. I have four months until I want to hand in.

I was planning to go back to work, but if I have to use the uni computers I won't be able to work at the weekend or at night until term starts, so I can't even go back to my part-time job and work at the same time like I've been doing for my PhD so far.

I've just got a new housemate who has to get up for work at 5am every morning, so I've been getting a maximum of six hours sleep. This isn't helping my normally sunny disposition.

I'm teaching a new class this year and I can't even afford the primary texts, let alone have time to reread them all.

I just want to cry. I need to hug a kitten. What do you do when you're miserable?


Hey, don't feel too sad.

Potential solution for the sleep issue - you can get these amazing foam earplugs! I live in a flat which has no door to the living room and the bedroom door doesn't close so it was a bit of a nightmare. Enter foam earplugs. I've had the ones from boots which are £2.50ish for 3 pairs and include a stylish (or not)case to keep them in and the £1.50 for 3 pairs pack from tesco. Both are great. You can wash them and they can be used quite a few times. Worth trying!



dont you have computers in University library where you can have some peaceful time for work
and ususally university's IT department lend laptop to students for a semester or so? did u explore this option?


Boots also do these plugs that are like plastacine which I use for music quite a lot, they mould in the groove in your ear, so you don't have to force things into your ear canal if you find it a bit weird!


Sorry to hear about financial problems and laptop death. Hug. When I need comfort I reach for peanut butter on toast and a strong cup of tea. Cheap and comforting. :-) I couldn't afford a laptop in my first year and so I used the library computers during the day and the 24 hour computer lab at night. If you bring a jumper and a flask of tea it can be okay. You can sometimes hire laptops for c£30 a month of the university. Best of luck.

I'm currently living on literally pennies waiting for my studentship in October. Got shed loads of work too.


Quote From thecoastman:

Boots also do these plugs that are like plastacine which I use for music quite a lot, they mould in the groove in your ear, so you don't have to force things into your ear canal if you find it a bit weird!

i use silicon earplugs (like play-dough) because one of my flatmates gets up at 6 everyday :-( now i can sleep again!

don't you have computer clusters in your uni? until i got my first computer/laptop (6 years ago!) i wrote all my theses/papers at the uni computer cluster, that's 6 years spent in the uni computer cluster... it's open 24/7, met some very strange people there. alternatively, maybe a friend isn't using their laptop that much and can lend you one?

why don't you copy/scan the texts? i haven't bought a uni book since my first year, just copied/scanned them all. way cheaper.


Hello Aliceplace!! shit it sounds like you have had all your bad luck at once, so I'm sure it can only go up from here on in! ok so from my own experience:
1. regarding the laptop, most Uni's will have a laptop lending service available from the library services/- I know they don't really advertise it well at my Uni and I only found out about it through a friend which really saved me when my PC blew up in the middle of my masters course (that will teach me to overload the adapter with hair straighters etc).
2.The books for your teaching classes- all the publishers like oxford press and cambridge press give free copies (called inspection copies) of all their texts to teaching staff even if you are only a graduate tutor and not a proper lecturer, as in return I think you are supposed to recommend to your students to purchase it-you simply need to go to the 'inspection copies' part of the website and fill in the online form saying the module and Uni you are working at and you can then order free copies of any books related to the module subject- they post them out really quick within a few days.
3. If money is tight and/or your stressed then go speak to the financial and advice centre offered by student services- they usually have funds available for unforeseen circumstance so they may be able to give you some money to get you by in the short term if you cant work/not sleeping well/to buy the new laptop- even if they cant give you a grant they may give you a loan to buy the computer which you can pay back at a later date when you can afford it.
4. Finally, regarding the lack of sleep re housemate. To be honest if it was bothering me that much, I would probably move out. Proper sleep is sooooo important to your productivity/stress levels/motivation and you should not have to put up with it and be forced to wear ear plugs etc.
5. When Im miserable I dancy like crazy to uplifting songs- at the mo im liking september (earth wind and fire) although i dont feel like dancing (scissor sisters) is always a sure fire way to uplift my spirits!:p


Alice, since you're so near your hand in deadline I would recommend you buy a laptop on a credit. My comptuer seized up recently and I have put a new one on a credit card - it's far from ideal but at this late stage I have no choice. Places like Comet do laptops with 12 mths interest free credit.

Chocolate and good movie is recommended!:-)


1. If needing a laptop, either get a bog-standard one from Currys/PC World on their credit plan or surely if you googled for rebuilds in your local area there is surely a dirt cheap second hand laptop with some form of guarantee. Failing that, get a decent PC and a few memory sticks. Contact the Undergraduate computer lab technicians in your college - at this time of year they might be replacing the old machines.
2. The books - Contact the publisher and tell them that you are using their books as a main text and could you have a copy of the book - this works for me and all lecturers do it!! Include details of the module if needed. Only problem is that you get spammed at the start of term from that publisher.
3. Ear plugs - They won't cut out the noise totally, but are great - the wax ones are the best but priciest. If moving is not an option, a bit of diplomacy might work. Failing that again, hit the hay an hour or so earlier and do something with your time when you do wake up early which won't demand much thinking (go to the gym, type up the notes from the day before, etc.,). Turn an obstacle into an opportunity.

These measures might mean incurring some debt but in the long run it might be seen as an investment (Dunno if ye have Credit Unions in yer neck of the woods, but if so, check them out for a cheaper than the main street banks loan).

As for when I'm miserable, some Alice In Chains (hey, as bad as the lyrics seem, their delivery by Layne was amazing) or Midnight in a Perfect World by DJ Shadow. Failing that - to the pub, Batman!


Earplugs are essential in the case of noisy flatmates! I like the spongy ones from Superdrug that mold to your inner ear. Can't hear a thing and can work/read for hours in peace :) When I'm generally feeling overwhelmed I write lists of the things I have to do, breaking it down into manageable tasks, and tick them off as I do them. This is a cunning psychological trick - problems never seem so bad once they're on paper. Repeat the mantra: just because you haven't done everything yet, doesn't mean you've done nothing.

I second the laptop-on-credit suggestion, or get one as cheaply as you can with memory sticks.


Is there anyway to get the housemate to be quieter in the morning when they are getting ready for work? Perhaps just a little bit of act on their part can cut down the noise. White noise helps--no need for a fancy white noise machine, you could just run an electric fan, for instance, and this helps drown out the more annoying and distracting noises. I sympathise with you--I live in a noisy place with doors banging, drunks singing, alarms going off, sirens going, traffic...and it seems like one night I get no sleep, the next night I get caught up and sleep very soundly, the next night no sleep...its not a great cycle. And I am a pretty sound sleeper, at that.


Dont feel sooo bad... Usually when I feel low I just call up my close friend and unburden all my misery on the phone...and then I dont feel sooo bad...As for practical solutions to ur problems...
Abt the laptop- Check ot the new Virgin scheme where u can buy an internet and the laptop on pay monthly basis.Sounds gud na!!
Abt ur housemate-Request ur housemate to keep the volume down- most people usually respect ur personal space when u ask politely. So just ask!!!Or try getting to bed early and make the most of ur early waking up time...
Abt affording primary texts- I am sure u can burrow most of them from the library or ask ur circle of friends...I would also post on my college wall seeking help in this regard.
Just remember its one of those times when a lot of bad things has happened to u all at the same time....Dont worry u will tide over it.....Hang in there gurllll!!!! Im sendng u a hug to make u feel better....:-)


I forgot to add - with respect to obtaining primary texts - Amazon is your friend!!!!


Thanks for the lovely replies guys! The inspection copies advice was brilliant, and I'm going to see if I can do this. I went to Waterstones yesterday and got £50 worth of books for £30 with some vouchers I had, but I've still got a few more books I need, so I'll see if I can get them from OUP!

I think I'm going to bite the bullet and get the laptop on a credit card. I've managed so far with no personal debt, but this is making everything so complicated at the moment, and it'll mean I have more money in the long run if I can go back to work.

I've been trying to be more positive about the early mornings. I'm a reasonably early riser anyway, and I like to go to the gym first thing, so it wouldn't be so bad if I could just train myself to go to sleep at 10pm! With your earplugs, do you guys ever have trouble hearing your alarm clock? I think I'd be really paranoid about that and the smoke alarm!

I'm feeling much happier today: I ran 5k this morning listening to 90's hits in the gym, made some bread yesterday and had peanut butter toast for breakfast, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish a chapter off today. Also, it's sunny! Thanks again everyone, much love.


Alice - Good to hear the mood is up and getting the solutions to the obstacles.

If this is the first time into any bit of debt in the PhD, you've done well and surely even a modest income in 6 months time will have it paid off (so long as you don't either get on personal terms with the Credit Card Crew or know even before picking up the phone that it's them ... 8.15 on a Saturday night without fail). Keep up the min. payments and don't worry about it - sure, you'll be able to stick it on expenses the first Post-Doc conference ya head to :p

As for the ear plugs, although they cut out most noise, they won't cut out all of it and fire alarms (particularily if your house has the min. 2 fitted) will cut thro' them. As for an alarm clock, any stereo should have an alarm which uses CD's and leaving taste aside, get some death metal a la Cannibal Corpse to wake you. Like the others, I agree that a bit of diplomacy could help the situation i.e. discuss it with your housemate and maybe do some things to alleviate the noise level (leave out the cups/saucers the night before to cut out the opening and closing of cupboards). Let him/her know you respect his/her right to get up for work and if there is anything you can do to help.

Good luck and good to hear that one of us is getting there. Keep on smiling