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PhD and Pregnancy

My advice would be to apply for the PhD as planned, start trying for a baby as planned, and then discuss maternity leave etc with your supervisor only if/when you're pregnant. Don't frame it as bad news - it's not! Just say you're happy to share this exciting news and would like to start making arrangements now about how best to balance your research with pregnancy/parenting. Good luck with everything!

“you'll be well looked after there”

Native Brit here. No, you have no reason to worry - she's just saying the department should be friendly and supportive. Perhaps she knows people who study or work there. Either way, it's an innocuous phrase with no deeper meaning. So enjoy your place - and congratulations!

CV for phd application

I wouldn't worry about bulking it out too much - it is what it is, and whoever is looking at it will see that you've been outside of academia for a few years so it shouldn't count against you (it's not like normal CVs where gaps are suspicious). Just list all the info from your bachelors and masters, including any prizes or extracurriculars, etc, and then put a "professional experience" section and list your work exp - it might be unrelated, but it shows you have people skills, which are handy in sociology! If you've done any volunteering that's relevant to your PhD topic, you can also mention that, and language skills and other qualifications can have a section..

Of course, if you've got time before you apply, you could always look into attending some conferences or workshops or even writing some conference papers or blogposts beforehand - but obviously that's quite time-consuming and might not be feasible. Try not to worry too much - the CV is only a small part of the application. Best of luck :)

To PhD or not to PhD?

Thank you so much for your advice! It really nice to hear from someone who IS doing a PhD part-time as everyone that I have come into contact with is doing it full time. I think after reading all these comments that you are right, working 18.5 hours a week might be too much and definitely is asking for trouble. I'm just anxious that on choosing to do it part time it will mean that I'll be 30 (23 atm with a year left of my MA) when I finish with no career path as I don't want to go into academia/lecturing. Is that something everyone else is worried about or do you all want to go into university careers?

I have a mortgage and I need my car for hospital visits and other bills so I don't intend to (can't afford to) quit either of my jobs. It's finding a solution to my already being chronically ill and finding a way to do a PhD without making myself worse.

I'll be 34 when I finish mine and I'm not even close to having a mortgage yet, so at least you'll have your life together more than me :P But seriously, if you want to do the PhD because you love your subject, I say go for it and see what opportunities it brings - after all, it's hard to predict what you'll want to do and where your life will be in six years' time. I'm doing this PhD because I want to do this research. I imagine I'll want to pursue a research career afterwards but I'm also keeping an open mind - it's scary, but it's also quite exciting. Good luck!

To PhD or not to PhD?

Quote From pm133:
Teaching certainly is not the most tiring job there is.
Why on earth would you think that?

There are countless jobs where you are on your feet all day.
Cleaning jobs are in a different league for this sort of thing as are most other manual jobs.
If it's stress you want, don't look much further than air traffic control or call centre help desk jobs for example.

Having put 3 kids through our education system and witnessed what and how they are being taught, it's pretty clear the teaching profession is stuffed to the rafters with people who should be nowhere near a classroom. At least two people on my course who ended up with ordinary degrees were allowed to become teachers. There are clearly some great teachers out there but I don't believe they are in the majority. There are still too many going into teaching because they are not able to do anything else and they are seeking an easy life.

LOL alright then. Seeing as I grew up with a mum who's a teacher, live with a partner who's a teacher, and have several friends who are former or current teachers, I stand by my point.

To PhD or not to PhD?

I'm about to start a part-time PhD working approx. 20 hours per week as well. I wouldn't consider full-time plus 18 hours working if I were you, it's asking for trouble, even without health problems! I think what people were pointing out is that, even if you're part-time, if you're working 18 hours a week as well, between the PhD and working, you'd still be working a full-time week, which might be a bit much? Perhaps it might be better to do the PhD part-time without working (or working less) so you don't get ill?

It's worth noting that, given your health problems, I imagine you could apply for full-time funding and programmes and then, if it proves too much, switch to part-time without any issues. Universities and funding bodies tend to be pretty accommodating about this kind of thing, so it's something to look into.

On a side note, if you get tired easy, definitely don't do a PGCE and go into teaching! That's one of the most tiring jobs there is! So many of my friends have burnt out and left after only a few years, and one who absolutely loved her job had to leave due to health issues which made her weak and fatigued. Plus, you don't want to be a teacher, so probably shouldn't :) Follow your dream and go for the PhD, I say!

Leaving a job to do an MSc

Honestly, if you're miserable and don't like your job, you might as well apply for some courses this year and see what happens. Sure, work experience is useful for finding a job afterwards (unless you want to go down the academic route, in which case it won't matter that much unless its related). But it sounds like you won't want to go back to the same thing anyway. In future interviews, when employers ask why you left, saying "to pursue a master's" doesn't sounds bad. Plus, working January to September is a decent stretch - enough to say you gave it a decent go but it wasn't for you.

If you're really worried about future employability, you could also consider do the master's part-time and working/volunteering alongside it, perhaps doing something more aligned with what you want to do afterwards? That way, you'll be accruing relevant experience at the same time as studying.

PhD referral

Good luck! Keep us posted x

PhD attendance type?

I am in UK too. I have done Masters in Computing last year, so seeing if I could do PhD in a same computer science/IT field. I would probably pay for my PhD, rather than get funding and would still like to keep the job I have at the moment, howerer it is full time, but with some free time if its not too busy, where possibly I could work on other things such as PhD, as that's what I have done with my masters.

If you're planning on working alongside the PhD, especially full-time (or near enough), then it would definitely be sensible to sign up part-time. Even though the majority of a PhD is independent study that you can do where and when you like, it's still a huge undertaking with regular deadlines and milestones that have to be hit. Part-time would give you some much-needed flexibility on this.

That said, it's usually fairly easy to change your funding status from full to part time or vice versa once you're enrolled, especially if you're self-funding. So you can always try out one way then switch if it's not working out for you.

Is a pursuing a PhD programme a realistic option for me?

They matter a little, but not as much as the master's. I'm applying for PhDs this year and have been told outright that my 2.1 means I've ranked lower for funding than I otherwise would've, even with a distinction in my MSc. But nothing to be done about it now, so no use worrying about it!

PhD referral

I'm very sorry to hear about your dad. Due to your family circumstances - and quite possibly the strike action too - I imagine you could get an extension. It would probably be wise to talk to your university about it sooner rather than later too. For one thing, they need to be informed because it's possible your father's health will deteriorate very close to submission, which could well mean you miss the deadline anyway. My mother-in-law passed away in January in similar conditions (after being given a few weeks to live) and I couldn't even contact my employers for a few days because it was all so fast and there were so many more important things to do - it can really send you off the grid when these things happen.

Anyhow, best of luck and I hope everything works out. It sounds like you've made great headway on the PhD and are so close to the finish line! Take care.

Getting Help Writing Essays

Speaking as someone who works in science communication for a living, the people who write for essay mills are really... not great. Sure, there are a few talented writers among them. But generally, people who take themselves and their work seriously - either as writers or academics - do not get involved with this kind of thing. These companies will hire pretty much anyone, but since no one credible gets involved (why would they write for them when they could do legit work - like proofreading or actual SciComm - instead?) they're typically scraping the bottom of the barrel. If nothing else, I wouldn't recommend putting your course in these people's hands. Use the money to hire a writing tutor or legit proofreader instead.

Also, as an editor I've got to add that, when you read a lot of people's work for a living, it becomes SUPER easy to spot when something is off - I reckon I'd be able to spot an essay written by someone else a mile off, if I had other pieces of work by the author to compare it to. So don't underestimate your tutors.

TL;DR - essay mill writers are generally pretty bad, and it's unlikely they'll produce something that you could seriously pass off as your own if your work came under any scrutiny.

in search of a masters

My friend has just got into the University of Amsterdam's neuroscience masters course, even though her undergrad was in a different subject (biochemistry) - so it certainly is possible, at least with some courses. I'm also about to start a masters in a subject that is pretty different to my undergrad - it's more common than you think!

I'd advise that you check the course requirements for different courses you're interested in and see which accept people with different backgrounds - contact the unis directly if it's not clear and ask. Also, anything you can do at this stage to demonstrate your interest in the new subject won't hurt your application - for example, attending open lectures or writing a few relevant articles for your uni newspaper.

Good luck!