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Hilariously miserable supervisor!

Congratulations Keenbean! You must feel like on top of the world!

Naah, nevermind your sup. It's totally none of her business to question a personal decision you made.

She might appear concerned with you living up to your potential.....on the other hand, as a supervisor, she might be more concerned with not having a phd dropout.

If she were indeed a feminist, she would praise you for your courage to have the phd and be in a serious, realllly serious relationship at the same time.


Feeling ready for a Phd still having second thoughts

Hello Rebecca1981,

Congratulations on landing a phd! You must be very capable to be accepted.

I'm just playing a little devil's advocate here. If you say you are ready, then it means that you have no second thoughts whatsoever, otherwise, this does not fit the definition of ready, right?

Ideally, one should start a phd if she really really wants to. Regarding what you said that "Still I'm thinking that maybe I am not qualified to go through it." It is absolutely normal for applicants, especially women, do doubt their own abilities. This is a very important point, because there is a difference between (1) doubting if you have the skills and (2) doubting whether you want the phd.

In your case, it looks like you really want the phd, but you are just careful in terms of your qualifications. I think that if you have been accepted, it means that the department has seen that you reach the criteria for being an able researcher. This is good news...must boost your confidence

However, I agree withDrjeckyll. Compatibility with the supervisor and clear expectations are a must. Hope you find a good prof. Goodluck!

How high are you aiming?

I hear you guys. I'm in the same situation. I thought academia is flexible, and would be an ideal environment especially for women who have children. I don't have any kids yet, but I'd like to have them soon. This friggin' "flexibility" thing is non-existent. I mean sure you can stay home and work from there, or go to a cafe and work from there. But hello, pretty much every waking minute of your life is consumed by research (not to mention you actually have to cut sleeping time to get research done). So there is no real flexibility there, all your time is devoted to research.

Keenbean, I totally get you: "Sometimes I think I would rather just reach the middle ground and stay there where the pressures aren't too horrific and I would still be doing what I enjoy. Does anyone else feel like this or is everyone all ambitious and determined to make it to the top?!!"

A couple of years ago, I wanted to make it to the top, envisioned myself as a player in the field. But seeing folks around me dying to get tenure, it made me think whether it's all worth it. My prioroties have changed. I am approaching 30, and would like to have a baby soon. The question for me was whether I'd be able to answer to the demands both of the academia and of parenthood (and of being a wife!). I don't want to work blood and sweat for the next five years only to get a stable position, which is not that flexible by the way. IMHO, I think there has to be a compromise somewhere. In my case, between family and research, I'd choose family. That's just me. So yes, I'd rather have a non-stellar job and have more time for family :-)

I'm happy doing my PhD

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Hi Screamingaddabs,

Great initiative. Keep it up.

On a different note, your survey choices miss "totally hate it" and "hate in the main but very occasionally find it great." And what is the difference between very occasionally and occasionally?

Not to be a menace, just thought about the availability of choices. Overall, I agree with everyone in this thread, PhD is a process which has its up and downs, not a one-shot event.

So in the end I think we are left with really broad categories: one generally hates it, one generally loves it, and one is indifferent.


WHat if................

Nice questions!

For question number one, I would have been working in a company, something to do with supply chain.
For question two, no. I can imagine myself being in the alternative future, but the opportunity to grow, mature, and really think about what I want in life is priceless. The phd gave me a chance to do this.

I would have matured in the "alternative" future as well, but the phd gives you intellectual and emotional stress while leaving you alone with your thoughts, something which is also possible (but minutely so) in a fast-paced company. But that's just me :-)

The intel you guys need to know...

Hi James82,

I understand your need to "retaliate" against the unfair stuff your supervisor asked you to do (like writing papers unrelated to your thesis). The frustration and anger are there, most PhDs get that. But this does not justify blackmailing and plagiarizing.

Thanks for informing us of the alleged PhD power (it's not a secret, a lot of phds know that the university is financially penalized for phd attrition).....but I guess we all get different utilities from doing PhD. You did not have to stay in your program if you didn't like what you did, you had the option to get out if you were not happy. And whatever happened to directly talking to your supervisor about your concerns?

Hope this doesn't sound harsh, I really get why someone could be driven to do this, but we have a choice to succumb into it or not. It's a pity because you got the stipend, which comes from somebody else's pocjet (i.e. taxpayers' money?). And despite the unrelatedness of the journal papers to your topic, you could have gotten publications under your belt. That does not necessarily prove you have something uber profound to say about your topic, but it proves you are able to do research-- which is a top criteria employers are looking for. After all, research is all about looking for answers, not knowing the answers even before doing the study. Otherwise, the effort is futile.

Wish you luck in your endeavors.

I need motivation

I hear you Emaa! I am exactly like you (the reading part). Sometimes it really helps to take time off, even an entire day doing something fun/sth that doesn't onvolve thinking. I know it sounds crazy because you end up not spending time at work. In my case at least, it helps, and it makes you more efficient than dragging yourself around trying to read/understand something when you don't have the energy for it. Try running for 30 minutes or less a week slowly (if you haven't been jogging before). Bu I so get you!

Fork in the road. Any advice?

Thanks cakeman..been thinking about a postdoc, but I think it's going to put me deeper into academia that I won't have outside options anymore. Maybe it works in the natural sciences, but I'm more into business studies. Errr...I imagine having to look for a job a few months from now, and it would be darn embarassing if I go into an interview without any hands-on "business" experience....(that is, if i even get an interview..)

Thanks for your post anyway, I appreciate it.

Fork in the road. Any advice?

Thanks for sharing Sneaks. Yeah, it makes sense to get the degree, would be a waste not to after all the effort. Hope your plan works out. Will be glad to hear from you months from now. In the mean time, let's carry on!

Fork in the road. Any advice?

Hello guys,

I'm pretty new here. I have been reading the forum for quite some time now. Hope to hear some advice from you, especially those who have been through the same situation.

Before I started out with the PhD, I was pretty certain to take the academic route. There are 10 months left for me to finish it now, but for some reason, an academic career becomes less and less appealing. The first reason is the publish or perish attitude. I feel like I'm living my life in a limbo, that many things are put on hold for the publication. It's like my whole life is looming over me, publish and you're dead. Second, I was too naive before I accepted the PhD. Kinda thought that academics are very civil people, who are very focused on learning (yeah, a very nostalgic view I know). Turns out there are just as much mean and rude people in academia as there are anywhere else. I may be taking this too far , and I hate thinking it, but sometimes I have a feeling that some of the academics are doing this job a large part because they are socially inept (not all, ok? just some and unfortunately I cross their path). I've met post docs hiding data from me when the team agreed it should be handed to me. This happened regularly and I always have to talk my way through without involving the supervisor, because I don't want to seem childish having silly fights.

Right now, I'm telling myself that if I deal with all the stress and the morons anyway, I might as well get get a huge salary like they do in the industry. Very tempted to shift career path....

On the other hand, if I did leave academia, I'd be scared to regret it. What to do? Thanks much! Sigh :-(

Supervisor saying "give up"

Hello Pamelaspage. Sorry to hear that you get such a feedback from your supervisor. I agree with Dunni73, you might want to clarify with your supervisor why (s)he suggests you just give up.

I don't know any other information about your PhD. What I can share though, is my experience as a PhD (second year). For some reason, my supervisors and colleagues have this view that you either work in the academia, or you go out to the industry (you cannot mix both). It's a strange way to look at things, rather idealistic. But my professors believe that research is a job in its own right, it is not there only to supplement what we see in the industry. Because of this, some research groups might only want to hire PhDs who are serious about having an all-exclusive academic job. They might want people who focus on churning out publication by publication, nothing else, and research craves a lot of your attention. The "prestige" with being "out there in the real world" may not be valuable for some very research-oriented people.

If I had to guess, this can be a reason why your supervisor told you to give up. Maybe (s)he wants somebody to focus on academic stuff? Unless he saw some reason that you are not able to balance your work/PhD life (which I highly doubt), there better be some good reason why a supervisor would tell a student to quit.