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Awful Progress Review
L

Thanks for your reply! My supervisory team don’t know about my depression. I was going to tell them but I just haven’t been brave enough since it’s such an uncomfortable conversation to have. I know I probably should, but I don’t know how I would even bring it up.

I have days where I want to quit and never look back but from what I’ve heard that’s pretty normal, I think? I enjoy my day to day lab work (usually), but when I think about the big picture I get so overwhelmed. And I think that’s what the problem with the viva is; they kept talking about when I would be writing publications, or writing my thesis, and I just can’t imagine how I’ll ever be good enough to do either of those things.

Awful Progress Review
L

Hi all

I’m not sure why I’m posting this, I guess I just needed to rant and it’d be nice to get some reassurance if possible.

I recently had my mini viva for my first year progression review. I submitted my progress report 2 months ago. The viva was awful, to say the least. Everything I was asked I hadn’t prepared for, and nothing I had prepared for was asked. Twice I thought I might have known the answer to the questions, but out of fear of being wrong, I simply said I didn’t know. Turns out I was right in both of those instances. But the rest of the questions, I genuinely didn’t have a clue. We had to take a break halfway through since I burst into tears, which was insanely embarrassing.

I’ve been struggling with depression since January, and I wrote the report in February/March when I was at my lowest. I probably should have put more time into prepping for the viva but I guess the depression got the better of me.

I just feel so out of my depth, like I’m not able for a PhD. My examiners still passed me (with harsh comments) and are allowing me to progress to the next year, but I really don’t know if I want to. I’ve never done so poorly in an exam type situation, during undergrad I knew practically everything you could have asked me. Now I feel like I’m not good enough for a PhD.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Did things turn out okay for you in the end? I feel so lost.

Disclosing mental health issues to supervisor
L

Thanks for your advice everyone, it’s been really helpful. Now I just need to pluck up the courage to tell him!

Disclosing mental health issues to supervisor
L

I’m a first year PhD student and I’m 7 months into my PhD. In December, I became pretty badly depressed, in February I decided that it was time to get professional help (through the university counselling service), but because of the waiting list I didn’t have my first appointment until the end of April.

Throughout this period, my progress has been insanely slow. I’m distracted, unmotivated, and highly stressed. I’m sure my supervisor has noticed the lack of progress, but he’s too nice to say anything. We don’t have a bad relationship, but we don’t have a great relationship since COVID limits the amount of face-to-face time the supervisors can have with their students. I am starting to feel a little better thanks to therapy, but I feel like it’s going to be quite a while before I’m back to my usual productive self. I’m not sure if I should tell my supervisor about what’s going on? On one hand, I’d like him to know what has been affecting my progress, but on the other hand, I’m not sure what good that will do. I’m also quite worried that he’ll think this is a weird thing to tell him about (it is quite personal after all), or treat me poorly because he sees me as less capable.

Does anyone have any advice/actual experience of going through this? I’m leaning towards keeping it to myself, but I’d really not sure.