Overview of kenziebob

Recent Posts

2nd year blues?

Yes, I think I understand. It feels like everything has suddenly slowed right down; I had a mad rush with ethics wherein I was applying for three separate studies (pretty much my entire PhD) at once in one application. Now that I have approval and have my data collected, it feels like my work has slowed down a lot - my supervisors don't seem concerned but I am definitely aware of it. I am hoping this is a natural part of finishing data collection and starting analysis.....

Big Excel Spreadsheets into a Word Doc

Hi everyone.

I'm doing some initial drafts now for some chapters of my thesis (I'm 2nd year), mostly methodology. As part of this I have three excel spreadsheets that I want to include and they have 8 wide columns. So that the writing is clear enough to be understood I've included the first four columns as one picture and the next 4 as another picture below the first one.

My question is basically just do you think this might look sloppy? I'm trying to make my thesis as comfortable as possible for the examiners to read, and I figured they need to be able to see the writing....I thought about using a whole page for each picture, but that seemed overly wasteful given that they are not fundamentally important anyway.

Am I overthinking, and if not do you have any thoughts? Would you think this looks unprofessional? Is there another way to do this I am not aware of?

Edit: Just realized this sounds a bit confusing. What I mean is, I have three spreadsheets that I want to include in part of a chapter of my thesis, which I am writing in word. I am worried the way I have done it seems sloppy/unprofessional.

Thanks in advance :)

Feeling confused, lost and very inadequate at the start of my PhD - is that normal?

Short answer: YES and I still feel lost and inadequate over a year in. I work in the life sciences and most of my colleagues aren't in 'full control' of their work. My supervisors keep reminding me that a PhD is about giving you the tools to become an independent researcher, not expecting that you ARE an independent researcher two weeks in.

Try to relax a little bit, I sincerely doubt your supervisor expects you to be fully independent yet, and the other students you see around you have had time to get settled in. Talk to your supervisor if you are that worried, talk to other students, and try not to let it get you down too much (hard, I know). It's imposter syndrome, and it's a right b****.

Do you include a "blurb" at the top of your CV?

I always have, under 'objectives'. I vary it from the cover letter and just try to get across my main career ambition (of the time!).

What is the best way you found to take notes while researching your topic?

I use yet another method of taking notes. I normally either print and read or read online, and I have a word document open with the title of the topic at the top. Then I bullet point my notes on different papers, including any personal reflections in a different colour. I find it works well for me :)

PhD time commitments on campus

Yep we are only allowed to work 6 hours per week outside of our PhD. I personally wouldn't be able to sustain more than that, as Tree mentioned.

Help with starting out on PhD

Absolutely NO need to feel ashamed - I couldn't have even thought of starting a PhD immediately after the Master. Take a well deserved holiday!

How to talk to your supervisor about depression

I have found honesty to be the best policy, and from there on it depends on how much you feel comfortable sharing/they feel comfortable hearing. I admitted to my supervisors that I have a mental health diagnosis, and let them know how this might impact my performance on the PhD. After that I pretty much left it to them to bring up - which once in a while they do. Then it's up to me to share.

I would definitely make sure it is registered with the University as a diagnosed condition though - I haven't had any additional support but it does mean the right box is ticked should I ever need to take a break etc.

Sharing my viva experience

Thanks Dr. Walker!

Sounds quite like my experience of the first-year viva, actually. Combined with your story it really does highlight the need to be very careful about the choice of examiners.

Feeling incompetent to analyze qualitative data

Ha, I could have written this post! I am also about to start analyzing qualitative data and I too feel slightly nervous about it.

I also do it by hand :)

First year probation review

Quote From Firiel:
Hi everybody and thank you for sharing your experiences with me and for encouraging me. I like the idea of writing down the changes and justification for them. I will also make sure to take with me a couple of key articles that might become handy. Thank you kenziebob. Those are actually really handy tips :D

Glad I was helpful! :)

First year probation review

Hi there,

I just came out of the other side of this last month, and I was also very very nervous. I had to submit a 10,000 word report and have a chat about it with two internal examiners. It was fine, they basically just started on the title page of my report and went through it with comments and some criticisms. The whole thing took about two hours, including a period of 20 minutes where I left the room for them to write their report.

The only way I prepared was a list of the things that have changed in my project since the very beginning, with a justification for every change. Then when they asked me about a certain change I had something to point to. I also had a highlighted/commented copy of my report - I just went through it and highlighted mistakes/typos I'd found and anything I would change.

My supervisor also gave me a very good tip - to take two or three important papers in with you. You can then refer to the papers (highlight the important sections with comments) - this served as a good prompt for me and gave me a moment to think.

It is relatively rare for anyone in my department to fail as well - I have heard of one person having to do extra work but from what I remember she had been ill and on leave for well over a month.

Writing buddies? Accountability to meet end-of-summer deadlines

Thanks! I've been working on this since mid-July, although I did get sidetracked by my probation report and viva at the end of July. Since then it's been pretty much non-stop transcribing, which is fun.......not!

Do you have a plan? I find it really useful to plan first by making bullet points - slightly less intimidating than sitting and trying to write a chapter straight away. Then I link up the bullet points and think of a structure and start writing knowing that there's already quite a few ideas there.

Writing buddies? Accountability to meet end-of-summer deadlines

I might as well join you, but does transcribing interviews and focus groups count as writing? I have four interviews and 2 focus groups to transcribe, currently I've done 1/2 focus groups and 2/4 interviews. Exactly half way!

My deadline is also mid September.

Distance Diploma/pgCert in molecular biology

The Open University has some biology courses that are done through virtual labs online - have a look here: