Signup date: 01 Jun 2016 at 11:38am
Last login: 01 Jun 2016 at 4:31pm
Post count: 4
Hi everyone, my first post here. I was just wondering if anyone else really struggles with loneliness and isolation whilst studying for your PhD? And if so do you have any tips or advice for overcoming it and for meeting other people while studying?
I think this is probably a particular problem for the Humanities because I only see my supervisor once a month and apart from that it's all private study. I also live at home with my parents in a different town to my university so I don't live with any other students either and meeting people is quite difficult. I tried joining some societies at the university but they're mostly full of undergrads who I don't seem to have much in common with anymore.
Any other suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Depends on the subject. In the hard sciences sometimes up to 80% of students do a PhD after their Masters (biology or chemistry for instance), so you are definitely not only surrounded by high flyers and you don't need to be one to successfully complete a PhD. Probably different in the humanities.[/quote]
Sorry, I was speaking from my own experience as a History student. Didn't know it was so different in the sciences!
To be honest, I think every PhD student goes through feelings of inadequacy at some point, and anyone who says they don't is probably lying! I think what happens for PhD is we go from being real high flyers or even top of our year at undergraduate to being surrounded by a load of other people who were also near the top of their year at undergraduate level because those are the only people who do PhDs (or at the least the only ones who get funding because it is so competitive). So we go from an environment where we're used to being near the top to an environment where everyone is of a similar level, and that can lead to feeling like we're no good and comparing ourselves negatively with our peers. As the poster said above, best thing to do is try not to compare yourself with others. We're all researching different things (usually something very specialist and niche) and we're not in direct competition with each other in our fields, so we should be talking and encouraging each other, not feeling like we have to outdo each other all the time. Try to focus on your work and your project, and once it's done try to feel proud of yourself, because completing a PhD is no mean feat!
I think it depends entirely upon your application, your grades, your research proposal, and your references. I got offers from both Oxford and Cambridge for Masters and they have very extensive application forms but I think what they are really interested in is your research potential and I think they judge that mostly by your research so far (your current grades and dissertation project) and your proposal for what you're going to research at Masters. Definitely worth a shot in my opinion. But bear in mind that even if you get in they will expect you to be able to prove you have upwards of £18,000 sitting in your bank account to fund yourself. This is why I actually ended up going to a different Russel Group university because they offered me full funding and I couldn't afford to go to Oxford or Cambridge self-funded. Good luck!
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