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iwan
Sunday, 6 November 2016 at 5:18am
Thursday, 16 November 2017 at 1:12am
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Thread: Handling toxic lab environment

posted
15-Nov-17, 06:04
edited about 2 minutes later
by iwan
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posted about 3 days 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
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posted about 1 month 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 1 month 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.

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

posted
04-Oct-17, 08:43
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 1 month ago
Hi tudor. Firstly i would like to thank you for commenting on most of my threads and giving me your take on things.

I can tell you a few things of what to expect since i had done something similar. I was doing undergrad fyp under a particular prof but i switched labs when i embarked on my phd. Things didnt go very well.

The previous supervisor had talked badly about me to most of his circle of friends in ntu.Being the top student in my undergrad course means that your face is known. My reputation took a huge hit. Given the description of your previous supervisor, you can expect something similar. I just hope that the new supervisor is not too close or doing collaboration with your previous supervisor as that would mean he or she will likely trust your previous supervisor's word more than yours!

Just try to keep a low profile. Only attend conferences in which you find very useful or relevant. And importantly be at your utmost best when building rapport with new colleagues as it can be a psychological boost. You might feel a sense of guilt here and there after some time but remind yourself the kind of shit you went through under your previous supervisor.

And plan your next career outside of the current institution if possible. Because believe me, reputation matters in academia.

Congrats on having the balls to jumo ships. It aint easy!

Thread: Not-to-be-mentioned-option post-PhD

posted
13-Sep-17, 04:03
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 months ago
Do people tend to judge if a PhD candidate mention that upon graduation, he/she is aiming for a teaching position in polytechnics? I often get that 'why do you aim so low' or 'why do you even choose to do a PhD even'.

is this thought about career option not something to be shared amongsts your coursemates?

Thread: The irony of the word 'student'

posted
13-Sep-17, 04:00
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 months ago
the term 'student' is meant to describe someone who generally is not on the 'same level' as you. In my lab at least, the postdocs would refer phd candidates as students. They will go like, ''ahh its normal for him to make a mistake, because he is still a student'. But between PhD candidates, a student is an undergrad.

Does this thing only occur in my lab?

Thread: PhD in bioscience: how to judge progress

posted
06-Sep-17, 05:58
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 2 months ago
Im one year into my PhD which has been stressful because of the toxic lab environment and the fact that i was asked to come up with my own project and to DESIGN from scratch a device that can deliver mechanical force to cells.

Was rocky in the beginning but i managed to get the device working and got some data here and there. A senior in the lab advised me to move on to the next step of the project asking me why am i wasting my time at this step when its already showing u the results you want to see. Move along kinda thing so i kinda agree.

So i showed my prof the data and the next future step but my prof suggested that i dont rush through things. Dont be too eager is what she said.

How does one evaluate whether he or she is going at the right pace or not?

Thread: Kick start motivation?

posted
22-May-17, 08:25
edited about 21 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
seems like you feel stuck on a never-ending mundane cycle. Well, you dont need to go overseas to enjoy a holiday. Just a cheap trip somewhere near your place might do the trick.

has anyone tried steroids to boost motivation levels?

Thread: Teaching assistant award

posted
22-May-17, 06:58
edited about 29 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
Quote From satchi:
Congratulations on achieving that score! I wouldn't worry about this. Have you always had a good working relationship with your supervisor?


i do. but the manner in which i was asked as to why my teaching score is high kinda triggered me. The tone was an interrogative one, caught me off-guard.

Thread: Teaching assistant award

posted
22-May-17, 06:47
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 6 months ago
i obtained the highest ever teaching score rating for a tutorial that i had taught, beating other professors. Is there any chance my supervisor will see me as a threat?

Thread: 1st year in lab: is this a natural phase?

posted
22-Feb-17, 07:33
edited about 7 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 9 months ago
Do you ever get the feeling that when you first enter into the lab, people will take you lightly, doubt your capabilities? For example, when you cant get a lab result at the bench and people straightaway question how exactly do you do it? Like it must be bad technique kind of thing

Thread: PhD with no publications

posted
02-Feb-17, 14:06
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 9 months ago
Most like me dont have publications prior entry. But its a bonus if competition for places are tight

Thread: Bioscience: how many projects should 1st year students do cocurrently?

posted
02-Feb-17, 01:02
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 9 months ago
Im asking this because if 1 or 2 years in, if the projectbis
working out fine then its great. But what happens if the project meets a dead end? Then starting a new project few years in can be stressful with the perception that you need to make up for lost time. I have seniors feeling slumped 3 years into their project

On the other doing projects might slow down both projects but there is a safety net there.

Any seniors out there willing to share how many projects do? And if so are they somewhat related? Same experiment system just different research question? Or 2 different experiment systems ?

Thread: TA woes

posted
02-Feb-17, 00:53
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 9 months ago
In my school, clearing TA hours by teaching tutorials are the worse kind of effort to returns ratio. You get to clear 3 hours(from weekly preparation of stuff discussed in tutorial) plus the actual teaching hours. Ive tasked to teach 3 separate tutorial questions and although it requires a of effort im taking it as an opportunity to grow.

Thread: Finally making progress in my 2nd project six months in

posted
01-Feb-17, 08:14
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 9 months ago
I had spent 6 months on the first project but shifted my attention to a new project only last week. I am getting encouraging data that suggest my experimental design is working, but am I really far back in time?
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