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Keenbean
Friday, 30 January 2009 at 10:33pm
Monday, 15 July 2013 at 9:45pm
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page 1 of 88 recent posts

Thread: Supervisor forgot to do reference

posted
18-Sep-11, 10:19
edited about 13 seconds later
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posted about 9 years ago
Hey! That is really annoying- and I think it comes down to the fact that supervisors are busy and have 'more important' things to do. More important to them of course, not us mere PhD students and our entire futures. My second sup is also rubbish with references. I got a post-doc about a month ago and I emailed him originally asking him if he was willing to provide a reference, to which he agreed. When I got offered the interview I emailed him again to remind him he would be asked for a reference and got no response. 3 days before the interview I emailed him again and still got no response. To this day I don't know whether he sent it off or not (I suspect not), but fortunately my other two references were enough for them to go on. I was still annoyed though. Is there anyone else you could ask to be your second reference instead of him? I had my two sup's down as references where two were required, but when a third was required I put down a lady within the NHS setting that I was working in for my PhD, in the knowledge that she was reliable! Best, KB

Thread: Moving to a new city for a PhD

posted
17-Sep-11, 15:12
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posted about 9 years ago
Hey Flack, congrats on getting your PhD offer- always good to hear when things work out for someone! I'm also just about to move cities for a post-doc, and I've been in my current city for 8 years, so got a lot of junk to move. I'm renting a place I found on rightmove (with my fiance), who also apparently have a section especially for students, although I don't know much about that part of it. One thing I would say is that you might need to be quite swift about the whole thing- certainly in the city I'm moving to these places go very very quickly and you can't afford to hang around. We booked a few viewings to find out that the place had gone before we even had the chance to view it. We made sure we were the first to view the property we went for and then went straight down to the estate agents afterwards to put in an application. Also be prepared for credit checks, providing references from previous landlord, documentation from your new university to prove your income etc, if you rent from a mainstream estate agents. I've never had all of this hassle when renting student accommodation from a private landlord/landlady, but the estate agents seem to be quite picky. We're just hiring a van to move everything in, and my brother is driving it for us (I can drive but a bit nervous about driving a van!). Do you have a mate who could drive for you? Sounds like you're going quite a long way though. On the plus side, Scotland is beautiful- I did undergraduate studies at Edinburgh Uni and it was a fab place to live! Good luck with the move, KB

Thread: Thank you and update from me

posted
17-Sep-11, 10:49
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posted about 9 years ago
Congrats to both of you! About time we had some good news on the job front on the forum :) well done! KB

Thread: Horrible Viva Experience

posted
16-Sep-11, 23:10
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posted about 9 years ago
Hey Zoe! Congrats on passing- that really is the main thing here! But I totally get how you feel about it being a horrible experience, and it's a shame, but in time it will become irrelevant as you move on to the next challenge in life. I had my viva about a month ago, and it was also completely  unpleasant (nasty internal examiner and some similar issues to yours but not as bad!), although I had a good outcome fortunately (just v minor corrections). However, it took me a long time to wind down and put it behind me. Many other people I know have actually described their viva as a pleasant experience, and I guess we all hope that we will have one of those. As you say, it is all down to the examiners and how they conduct the viva, so everyone's experience is different. It would be nice to look back and remember it as being a positive thing, but sometimes it just isn't. Believe me, you got the outcome you needed, and when you've made the changes and had them accepted this will be irrelevant. So congrats again on passing, and I hope you are able to celebrate!! Best, KB

Thread: Plagiarism in academia - University response

posted
16-Sep-11, 23:00
edited about 9 seconds later
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posted about 9 years ago
Hey Whistleblower, what a rubbish situation to be in. I can only try to imagine how frustrated you must be. Unfortunately I am not totally surprised by the response you have received- I have never been witness to a plagiarism case but I am aware of a number of formal complaints that have been made against a particular professor in my own department, which just get swept under the carpet, and several other occurrences where the law has been broken that have been brought to light and then ignored or defended in some bizarre way. From what I have seen, usually the complainant is treated as a trouble-maker and inconvenienced to the extent where they might just think about dropping the issue. The world is full of people covering their backs, whether it's medical companies, insurance companies, academics, you name it....I can think of so many experiences where the same thing happens as a matter of routine. Good on you for pursuing it- I hope you get some sort of satisfactory response. Personally, I tend to wimp out of making formal complaints for reasons described above! Best, KB

Thread: How do I break the cycle?

posted
16-Sep-11, 00:01
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
Hey again Spark! One thing I would say is that I understand someone wanting to do a PhD for personal satisfaction, but if you do not intend to use it in terms of future career plans then it is a huge investment in terms of time and effort. Additionally, it is not easy to win funding for a PhD at the moment- the pure sciences are less competitive than some other subjects, but still very competitive- so it certainly wouldn't be an easy option. Would you need a PhD to get a job in industry or would you literally just be doing it for personal satisfaction? Best, KB

Thread: Lecturing

posted
15-Sep-11, 22:48
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posted about 9 years ago
Hey all! They use the 'turning point' thing at the uni I'm at (although I never knew that's what it's called until now!). I haven't been involved with it personally, but I know they use it with statistics classes so that the lecturer can assess whether the students are a) listening, and b) getting it, and also so that the students get a chance to get some feedback on their progress. If most of the students are giving the wrong answer to a question, then it gives the lecturer instant feedback so they can go back a few slides and explain something again. When I was teaching undergrads last year they were raving about what a good tool it was- and apparently they all get a little remote control device to keep with them all year, which they were particularly excited about! It does sound like a good way to keep people interested- here the undergrad lectures in psychology in first and second year have up to 350 people in them so it's not possible to be more personal until the elective modules later on in the course (although of course there are seminars etc as well). Best, KB

Thread: Length of literature review...

posted
15-Sep-11, 22:28
edited about 22 seconds later
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posted about 9 years ago
Hey! My thesis was 9 chapters and about 85,000 words (clinical psychology). I also found that my literature review was far too long, and in the end I broke it down into two chapters, as most of it did need to be included. Obviously the length will depend to some extent on how much literature there is to review! I ended up with a 'methods and evidence' chapter (which reviewed the methods that had previously been used to examine the topic, and the evidence that had emerged from these studies) and a theoretical framework chapter (examined the different theoretical perspectives previously used to examine the topic and explained my choice of framework), although that probably isn't a relevant format for what you're studying. If there really is a lot of stuff that does need to be included, you can just break it down into more than one chapter (but make sure you've cut out everything you realistically can cut out, and make sure you aren't repeating yourself). Best, KB

Thread: How do I break the cycle?

posted
15-Sep-11, 22:18
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 15 Sep 2011 22:21:21 =======
Hey Spark! I don't think you're unusual in this regard...many people from academic backgrounds are having to consider other options. I've just finished my PhD and have been lucky enough to secure a 1-year post-doc, but am already thinking about what to do if I don't make it in research. For now, I'm following my heart and doing my best to secure a career in a research topic that I really want to pursue more than anything else in the world, but the reality may be that it doesn't work out. My own view is that if you don't shoot for what you want to do, you'll never know if you could have done it, but of course there are many practical issues that make this a risky option. And of course, people have different priorities too, with some people having more to lose than others. For me, at the moment I am mobile within the UK and don't have any dependents, so am prepared to take a risk. If this wasn't the case, I'd probably be a lot more cautious. I don't think that answers your question, but that's just my own view on the situation- it is a tough call! Best, KB

Edit: Just realised this is posted on the prospective masters students board- where are you up to at the moment with your studies?

Thread: Transition from PhD to post-doc

posted
15-Sep-11, 19:47
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 15 Sep 2011 19:49:44 =======
Hey Phdbug, thanks so much for your thoughts.

I am a bit nervous about the different pressures etc, but also aware that other people might find it hard to empathise when it seems like you have everything you should need to be happy. I don't really unload this type of stuff onto my 'real-life' friends- I have been a lot more forthcoming on this forum than I have been with anyone else, except very close friends who have already experienced similar problems. Most of my time is already spent helping and supporting others (that's the nature of my research, my voluntary work, and my private life!) and keeping my issues to myself in my non-forum life, and that's how I like it! Perhaps I have unloaded too much on here recently, I just try to keep things away from people who are close to me in real life as they only worry too much after how ill I've been in the past. But you are right- I know others would find it hard to empathise and I can understand why.

I guess I will have a lot less contact with my friends and my existing team-mates, and that is the primary concern for me really. I have been in the same place for 8 years and my closest friends are here. Also, I am moving into a different subject area (moving into bipolar research from dementia research) and of course the bipolar side of things will be very close to home for me, but that is the area that I have wanted to pursue for a long time. It does mean that I'll have to get onto the publishing and grant writing side of things very quickly though, in an area that is completely new to me from an academic perspective.

Anyway- have you celebrated your brilliant success yet? I hope that you've found some time to unwind and that things get better for you in your job. It sounds like you've been having a rough time and I hope things pick up for you...and your words of advice are really valued.

Cheers, KB

Thread: Transition from PhD to post-doc

posted
15-Sep-11, 17:38
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
Thanks all, especially Mackem for your detailed reply.

The position is funded by the NHS and I will be taking over the project from someone else, so I have a relatively good idea of what that will involve. I've been working in the NHS for my PhD so am at least familiar with a lot of the paperwork and procedures. The team seem really nice and friendly, although it's hard to know for sure what the working atmosphere is like until I get there. I've worked in a lovely team for my PhD (despite issues with supervisor), so I hope it's the same at the new place.

I am looking forward to not having the long-term pressure of the PhD, although I have 3 papers from my PhD under review that are due back any day which I will have to attend to, and am also giving two presentations related to my PhD results in the USA soon after I start my new job, so it sort of feels like I haven't quite got rid of the PhD yet! My current sup also wants me to write more papers from it, but I will have to prioritise, obviously.

It will also be good to spend more time with my other half, who is moving with me. We got together in my second year of my PhD and got engaged about 6 months ago, and he's been fab putting up with my workload and stress, but it will be nice to be able to concentrate on enjoying ourselves a bit more than we have been able to! I've also just been put on new meds to get rid of the horrible anxiety and panic attacks I've been having, and am finally feeling back to normal, so am beginning to get excited about the changes now instead of stressing about them!

Thanks again for your pearls of wisdom. Bewildered- that's the thing I was most concerned about- not being a student any more but being on different territory and also getting used to perhaps less supervision and new responsibilities.

Cheers, KB

Thread: Wake-up call (post viva)

posted
15-Sep-11, 17:21
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
Hey Pineapple! Please stop giving yourself such a hard time. You've been through so much, and I know the relief of getting through the viva has probably faded now that you're in the reality of corrections and resubmission, but you're a strong character and you will succeed. I know we all have our moments of poor motivation and procrastination, but a person with continuous poor motivation would not have got through what you've got through and come out of the other side. I really admire you for sticking with it after everything you went through with the change in examiner and viva dates etc....not many people would have ploughed on so well in the face of that.

And yeah, don't do the comparison thing to yourself. In a few months you will be the person with a completed PhD that others will be looking up to, and admiring! You do need to just push on with it, but be kind to yourself at the same time. Everyone on here has faith in you and I'm sure many are already looking up to you :) Best, KB

Thread: Transition from PhD to post-doc

posted
14-Sep-11, 21:44
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
Hey people!

So I'm moving away and starting my new post-doc in 2-3 weeks time, and really looking forward to it now I'm recovering from all the PhD submission/viva-related stress.

I know there are a few post-docs on the forum and I was just wondering what the biggest differences/changes are in moving on to a post-doc? I can work some of it out from seeing post-docs on my team, but was wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom or things that really struck you when you were making the same transition?

Any observations would be much appreciated!
Cheers, KB

Thread: Deadline is this summer - let's do it together!

posted
14-Sep-11, 21:41
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
Hey Dunni! Yeah- my PhD chairperson said there is never really a perfect time to have kiddies and of there was, it would be pretty difficult to arrange for them to arrive bang on schedule! Still, that's a few years off for me yet. Not surprised you're confused with the job thing- it's great that you have the options of practice or research though. At least in this job climate it gives you a few more options. In my first post-doc interview I was beaten to the job by someone who was a qualified practitioner and a qualified researcher, and I totally see why they got the job over me. Are you applying for jobs for both research and practice at the moment? Best, KB

Thread: Picking external and internal examiners

posted
14-Sep-11, 21:32
edited a moment later
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 9 years ago
Hi! Basically vivas can vary tremendously, and it is your examiners who will create your experience so choose as wisely as you can! The external should obviously be someone who's well-reknowned in your field and preferably someone whose work you know well, and who will have an interest in your work. My own external wasn't a perfect match on topic but a fairly close match, and was also of the 'firm but fair' variety. I had met her at a conference prior to asking her to be my external and knew that she was at least nice, although I expected some tough questions from her, and I got them! But it was still reassuring beforehand to know that I'd met her and that she was essentially a nice person! The internal doesn't have to be a particularly good topic match at all (at least where I'm studying), and although mine was in the same broad field, her research interests were completely different. In my opinion it wasn't a great choice as she was quite rude throughout the viva, and my sup said she wouldn't be choosing this person to act as an internal examiner again...others who are on the doctoral course she teaches on have since said that she can be very impolite and impatient with them and I think that came out in the viva. Having said that, it didn't affect the outcome, but in retrospect, I would choose someone who is reputed to be nice and friendly- a bit of reassurance on the big day is helpful! Good luck! KB
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