Signup date: 07 Mar 2013 at 8:14am
Last login: 22 May 2014 at 1:14am
Post count: 229
I'm so sorry to hear about your plight- the way I understand it: when the message you received said that they have issues with your work, it means that they're worried your state of mind would affect your performance and may have affected your progress so far. This doesn't mean they will kick you out of the course. I know of a case in my dept of a woman who suffered from depression after giving birth and she was also given time off- she's currently in her 5th year and whilst I don't know if her work is good or not, I know for a fact that her supervisor was worried she won't finish and had a meeting with her and the director of the course about the issue. She ended up staying. I'm pretty sure they won't kick you out- they must talk to you first, and this is where you can present your case and convince them that the PhD won't be affected by your personal problems. When you sought counselling did they give you leave of absence or did you have to stay in uni and work?? That would've made a difference.
To be honest- no your scores aren't competitive enough especially if you're applying for BU (which I believe is a good university). You'll need to be at least in the top 15% in all three categories in this day and age to have a competitive application, especially in the natural sciences. Just to give you an idea, the top departments generally look for at least a 5 in Analytical, and a score in the top 5% in quantitative (that applies for maths, nat sciences, and economics especially). I'd encourage you to try again, and whilst I understand preparing for the GRE is time-consuming, unfortunately it's a must if you want a strong application.
Since you already have a Master's that may help you if you're applying for a 2nd Masters but if I were an admission candidate, I would still expect higher scores on the GRE. Sorry to sound discouraging but don't be: take the GRE early next year and use the holidays to prepare for it. I'd focus more on quantitative since you're in the natural sciences and try to get a 5 in analytical and you should be set.
They are starting to reply- my mate in Cam got several rejections already from colleges. I got a rejection from a fellowship as well- very depressing I must admit :(:( I thought my application was solid: excellent references, excellent contemporary topic, good degrees.... oh well...it's getting very discouraging and I'm losing hope.
Sorry to hear that Janine just remember you're not alone: I'm applying for so many jobs and postdocs/fellowships it's crazy, and I'm also discouraged to the point where I stopped working on publications and everything else. Have you tried volunteering to get experience relevant in your field? Not long-term of course but just to boost your CV in the meantime- that's what I did, mind u I'm not in the UK at present and I know when I tried something similar back there I was ignored :(. How many jobs have u applied to so far?
This is so similar to my situation now! So first of all, know you're not alone! I got my PhD several months ago but I also decided to leave the UK- as an economist I know the situation is not going to get better anytime soon. I'm currently in Canada, where I've been teaching math and econ (high school and college level) and part-time teaching at U of T (as a visiting scholar).
When I moved to Canada I didn't have anything secured! I went there for the sake of a change of scenery and to challenge myself and put myself outside the comfort zone. Just by dropping in and asking a college close to where I live now they told me that they are desperate for math teachers and a week later I started. If you can afford it or ur parents could help I'd really suggest travelling elsewhere to get experience.
As for postdocs, I'm applying for postdocs as I don't want to teach part-time forever like I am right now, and suffice to say they are extremely competitive especially in my field. I worked in the private sector (banking/commodity trading) prior to my PhD for 4 years so I'm not underqualified but I dread going into the private sector again.
My advice to you is to accept that you'll be in this limbo for a few months: I am since I don't consider this teaching I'm doing full-time. Try volunteering as a teacher in colleges/unis/schools as well that looks good on a CV.
Last but not least: EXIT FACEBOOK!! It ruined my life seeing how every1 else is married/in a relationship etc...focus on publications (which's what I'm doing now), try volunteering as a teacher, and don't despair: I'm also looking for postdocs/academic jobs and so far nothing- it will take at least a few months.
I also had an ordeal when it comes to corrections. I had a gruelling 2.5 hour viva and after thinking I'd fail I actually passed with minor corrections. I submitted the minor corrections after a month, but my supervisor then alerted me to the fact that the internal would not have liked my argument (the argument I made in the thesis). I also received their reports prior to starting the corrections and he was critical of my language/tone as I adopt a view that's opposite to his. So that's when my ordeal started: I had to wait 6 months before he actually approved them. At one time, he came back saying he still expected "better tone" (midway through) and did other minor changes, until he finally had to approve it.
Your situation sounds similar as the internal either didn't like your approach in the thesis or your argument. Technically speaking, they can come back to you and say they are not satisfied with your corrections (mine told me I still needed to address language issues). However, the good news is that they are very unlikely (I mean 99.9999999999% unlikely) to fail you. The worst case scenario is you having to do what the examiner tells you if he/she is not happy or trying to just drag things on. It's a horrible situation, and I speak from experience, but I'm certain that if you pass with corrections there is virtually no possibility of you failing then, and that's what my supervisor told me as well. Just do the changes as listed and chase him (though not every day as this would backfire) and wait for the verdict. You'll get it in the end.
What you're going through is completely normal: you just started the PhD last week!!!! I remember I didn't even have a topic during my first six months of the programme: I had a proposal which I submitted in the application but chose not to pursue that topic.
It would be wise to have a chat with your supervisor about that meeting: just tell him that there are things that I don't fully understand- he would not only appreciate your honesty but this could also help the both of you generate greater chemistry during the course of the PhD, which is fundamental.
Never feel moronic or like a burden: anyone who makes u feel u r unworthy is a shallow and insecure person him/herself. No one enrolled in any PhD programme is moronic especially in this day and age when admission is so competitive. Perhaps it would also help reading a few books about the issue that was discussed during your meeting?? This way you can avoid a similar scenario in the future. At this early stage, if you have an idea what your topic is about, then perhaps you'd be looking at the literature review: this is an excellent time for you to build up your knowledge, and confidence and eloquence will follow. Unfortunately not many people have my "lawyer-esque" ability to talk about virtually anything with confidence and a good image but you don't need that once you start delving into the literature on your field :).
That's the situation I'm in and I've been told the norm is for your paper to either be outright rejected (which happened to me as well) or revise/resubmit. I just sent my revisions 2 days ago and followed the reviewer's instructions to the letter. They will send it to the same person so if you follow his/her instructions you'll get it published for certain.
The idea that you are intellectually and genetically inferior to win the Nobel is ludicrous: for starts the Nobel prizes are VERY OVER-RATED in my view. There is so much politics involved in the award of these trophies that it is non-sensical. I know many people in my field who deserve it not only for their intelligence and originality but their passion for their subject. However, they are glanced over for many reasons: controversial views, not publishing in the right journals, not having the right connections, etc...
Impressed by your record and do not despair: you may not win the Nobel prize (realistically the chances of any of us doing so is slim) but I'm confident that my IQ as well as many others here is in the top 1% of the population, and that's what matters. Plus there's more to life than just PhD and academia: I'm passionate about it but not to the point where it blinds me from my other interests.
As for the fact that Jews are over-represented, while I admire them for generally valuing education more than most people, I wouldn't say my Jewish friends are smarter or dumber than anyone else. Politics once again: if someone has the right connections they'll go somewhere irrespective of whether their PhD is from Oxbridge or Harvard, whether they have 1 or 5 postdocs, etc...
This may cheer u up but the Nobel prize is financially less worthy than winning X-Factor UK; so there you go :p
Sorry to hear about your predicament: a supervisor cannot "fire" you so the worst he'll do is more of the same. Is there a director of PhD studies in your university/department that you can reach out to in strict confidence? These guys can really help. As you are in your 4th year, you will be expected to submit sometime soon (I'm guessing you're a full-time student???) You will need to discuss this with either your 2nd supervisor or like I said a director of the programme in your department.
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