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iwan
Sunday, 6 November 2016 at 5:18am
Tuesday, 5 June 2018 at 1:42pm
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Thread: PhD candidate withdrawal process

posted
05-Jun-18, 22:33
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Congrats Iwan. It takes courage to do stuff like this. Great that you were reassured that you shouldn't have to pay - was that verbal or in writing? All best.


Thanks tudor. It wqs in verbal when i talked to her about it the first time. Hope the appeal can be made and a full waiver is possible.

Thread: PhD candidate withdrawal process

posted
05-Jun-18, 13:51
edited about 8 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 1 week ago
I have finally spoken to my supervisor about desire to withdraw from a fully funded PhD scholarship. My reason is depression. I sneaked in a question if i will maade to pay back the stipend and tuition fees so far (120k). She said that for medical and health reasons, it will likely be possible to appeal for a full waiver. But since shes the chair of graduate education as well as my supervisor, she has her own interest as well. So she ttied to make me consider taking a semester leave of absence. Deep down i immediately did not want this as i have already made up my mind of quitting (im seriously done with this!) but to be polite i told her i will consider this.

On that day itself, i got a medical note from a general practitioner diagnosing me as depressed and i have made appointment to see a specialist doctor.

Today, my supervisor sent me an email asking how are things. So i dropped the ball and sent in the letter to request for withdrawal, along with doctor's memo. I also cc-ed the email to a professor that is of a higher appointment then her just in case she has her own interest.

My question is, can the school carry out plans to make sure that perhaps i take a leave of absence and then make a decision? I just want this part of my life to be over and done with. Any advise is much welcome!

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
02-Jun-18, 04:43
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From tru:
You have already made up your mind.... just follow it through despite the backlash you may receive


and yes about a change in supervisors as well. i have thought about that. but the following reasons below made me decide against it..

1) I did FYP as an undergrad under another prof and i told him of my intention to pursue PhD, only to jump to my current lab at the start of my PhD because i wanted to study on a different field. That FYP supervisor bad mouthed about me to his cliques in my faculty. Now if i change again, i will just make more enemies.

2) im 2 years in.. and already passed my Quals. Any change in supervisor is usually done before the quals.

3) my heart is set on leaving.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
02-Jun-18, 04:29
edited about 12 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From tru:
Just wondering, can you change supervsior (might be too late?) or write up as a master degree? The thing though is that if you decide to write up a master degree, there is potential bad treatment that will be thrown your way during the write up period... and you may also need to get his reference if you decide to do a PhD again in future. By just leaving, you don't have to get his reference and actually, no one ever has to know that you left a PhD unless you volunteer that info.


I have thought about getting a masters but its not a common practice in my institution to allow such a downgrade. Furthermore, i am aware that i might need to 'extend' my stay to facilitate the writeup as you mentioned, and given the toxic lab environment i am in, im sure it will get even worse if they know im in the process of dropping out. I just cant stand being in that isolating environment anymore.

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
02-Jun-18, 03:50
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From tru:
Hi, iwan,

Your decision to quit is not completely unexpected given all the issues that you have been facing since the start of your PhD in 2016.

You have invested a lot of time and effort and sufferred much anguish over your PhD project.

Do what is right for you and let your professor sort out the rest of the issues after you have left. If your project has been a big interest to him, he would have given you far more support than he had. And he is a "professor" after all... He has the brains to sort things out.

How to quit? Hmmm, tell him in person, send an email immediately after to have it in writing, cc your postgrad coordinator/school administrator/grad school officer, if there is a form - fill it, pack up your stuff in your lab (shouldn't take too long, max 3 days if you really do have that much crap), and leave and never look back. Oh, and don't badmouth anyone.... Just go.

Note: Expect the brainwashing to make you feel guilty and absolutely worthless as a PhD student to have quitted your project. In all honestly, you don't owe them anything when you have not been supervised properly and have been treated poorly, so do not succumb to their tricks....

Oh, and take a nice break somewhere... You need to detoxify. Take good care of yourself from here onwards...


Thanks tru. Thank you for reading through my previous posts. Ive had so many bad experiences in this lab. Being ostracised just because i am not chinese (singapore is dominantly chinese). Being given insufficient guidance and everything else. Will soldier on and make this decision eventhougb my parents want me to have an open talk with my professor because they dont want me to quit just yet

Thread: Quitting PhD

posted
02-Jun-18, 00:28
edited about 2 minutes later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 weeks ago
Im getting very anxious over the entire thing. Today is saturday, and on monday i will be telling my advisor of my decision to quit. It will seem like its a sudden decision from me as i am good at keeping my problems under wraps (poker face). But the truth is i am overwhelmed and am no longer enjoying my work.

And it may anger my prof as my project is something that i came up with. That is nobody in the lab has the expertise to carry out my set of experiments. Thus continuing on the project after my withdrawal will be a hard thing to do.

Has anyone here gone through the process of quitting a graduate program before? How did you do it?

Thread: PhD stipend repayment

posted
31-May-18, 12:00
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 weeks ago
Im left wondering for my case as well. I wrote in an enquiry to the school regarding this same issue and here is their reply,

''if the student voluntarily withdraws, the student is required to pay the total enoluments up to the total amount received. Unless for special reasons such as health, family, financial etc'

this sounds very vague. and im curious to know how the school will go about chasing the stipend money as stipend is not technically a bond.

Thread: Worse case scenario: Fail PhD

posted
16-Mar-18, 04:31
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 3 months ago
Hi guys

hope you are all doing well.

I am 1.5 years into my PhD and just recently passed my QE confirming my candidacy. But I would like to know in terms of worst case scenario, what happens if someone fails a PhD? Like the exam at the end of the 4 years. I am under a scholarship. What will happen if somehow i have nothing significant to show after 4 years and during the oral defense, i failed it? Will they 'force' me into extending my stay until i get a phd or in other case will they just fail to award me a degree? For the latter, if that happens do i need to repay back the stipend i have been receiving?

Thread: Supervisor annoyed with me wanting to discuss future experiments

posted
24-Dec-17, 10:02
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
Quote From tru:
Hi, iwan,

Your posts on this website has mainly been on your PhD supervisor and lab environment. You have repeatedly questioned whether the supervisor, project, lab environment were worth you staying on.

Are you still with the same supervisor? I think you have to make a choice and accept the style of your supervisor, which may be less friendly (and maybe even less knowledgeable in your area) than you desire. This is especially since you have decided to continue on with her. Your pattern of constantly questioning whether relationships are healthy/ project is working will only cause you worry and can't be good for your mental health for the entire length of your PhD. Accept and focus on your results and future data rather than whether she likes / dislikes you.

Good luck.


I like your advise. Thats a fresh perspective. I will try this. Merry xmas to you!

Thread: Supervisor annoyed with me wanting to discuss future experiments

posted
24-Dec-17, 07:18
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
hi i am feeling kind of down. Recently i requested a discussion with my supervisor on future investigations with regards to my project. She gave sound advise (basically a green light) on my first proposal but when i shifted the discussion to a second one, she gave out a huge sigh which is something you would hear from someone annoyed at you.

Then she started questioning me on my choice of method for the second proposal, before shooting it down as something that is not very useful - with a harsh tone. This despite the fact that she does not know anything about this method (its a very well established method published in papers, and used by many researchers in my institute). Am i over-interpreting this or is the relation with advisor not very healthy?

Thread: Need some advice on how to motivate oneself?

posted
22-Dec-17, 02:28
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
Motivation is really an individual thing. The fear of failure or not being able to present substantial data on my thesis defence day is enough to get me all anxious. But after some time, i am able to direct that energy into meticulous planning and execution of my lab work. Im in year two now, and the first year was hard not so much about finding my feet, but my labmates are horrible people to work with. So i get how you feel about the lonely part. My advise to you is interact with people in other labs/offices. At least have a working relationship with them. Being friends on a personal level is just a bonus.

As for friends outside the institution it is a must because you need a shoulder to cry on from time to time. Get in touch with your family, for they are the most important people in your life.

Pm me if you need someone to talk to. Itd be great to know somebody outside of singapore.

Thread: feedback from supervisor on qualifying exam thesis

posted
22-Dec-17, 02:07
edited about 10 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
hi guys

i was wondering if this feeling is common. I recently finished my qualifying exam report. Before having it submitted to the school department, we usually let our guide read and give comments on it, and make changes should there be any. Before submitting this report to my guide, i had let one postdoc read it, and he says it fine and good enough without problems. But the feedback i got from my guide is laden with so much comments. Like sentence structure, writing sentences in a way that is acceptable in report, not being too convoluted in my writing etc. this imposter syndrome is strong at the moment but it comes and go. There are days when i feel that im doing ok, but days like kind of make me doubt myself. I feel like there is a lot for me to improve on before being 'graduate-ready' level.

Thread: Handling toxic lab environment

posted
15-Nov-17, 06:04
edited about 2 minutes later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 7 months ago
I dont know if anyone of you had ever been in a toxic lab environment but i have been been through this for 1.5 years already and its affecting my mental state

Im in a country where chinese people predominate. While minorities like indians and malays form just a tiny fraction of the population. Racial prejudice do happen on a daily basis and its tolerable. But in this lab, privilege can mean a lot. Theres only two minorities in my lab including me but the other one is leaving soon which only leaves me there.

These people form social enclaves, speaking in their native language, excluding us from lunch. When we make mistakes, it will be blown way out of proportion. While if one of them makes a mistake, nobody bats an eyelid.

There are numerous occasions when the other minority was presenting data, these people would look at each other and laugh. That incident was worst because at one point the other minority pointed this out to the prof at that exact moment. But those girls started tearing up and play victim.

Its horrible. And i have nobody to learn from in my lab apart from the other minority. I have highligjted this to my prof and she tried talking to the group but things still happen. And after numerous complains, my prof came to the conclusion that i should stop complaining and try make matters better. Id probably used my last trumpt card for this one.

So four months passed by and i just did my thing. Until today. The cell incubator was beeping and i didnt know why so i approached one of the members and asked why isit beeping. I need to tell u this.

And you know what happened? They got upset because i shouldnt only tell them about the beeping but ALSO offer my service to go down and bring up a new co2 tank to replace the empty one. Problem is i wasnt even aware beeping is caused by low co2.

My intention is good but they seem to make a meal out of it.

Any suggestions on what to do? I cant change labs because im 1.5 yrs into my phd already and it will be hard for another supervisor to take me. Ive even thoughy about doing a night shift as i can work all alone in the lab.

Thread: Requested change in supervision - a bit scared...

posted
04-Oct-17, 12:35
edited about 20 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 8 months ago
glad i am of help tudor. i just realised i had accidentally provided which institution i belong to. LOL. is there any way i can edit my previous posts.

Thread: Requested change in supervision - a bit scared...

posted
04-Oct-17, 08:46
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 8 months ago
And sorry if this sounds harsh but as there are many people posting on this forum seeking support with major mental health problems, please cut out the dodgy mental health diagnoses about your supervisor. It's not necessary or appropriate and may put vulnerable people off seeking advice.[/quote]

I think you are being a tad harsh here. Some supervisors can be arseholes.. Ive known a few friends who suffer the same fate. Supervisors with mental issues do exist.
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