Signup date: 13 Sep 2010 at 6:14pm
Last login: 08 Dec 2020 at 11:59pm
Post count: 1872
I think this mock game sums up how the UK got here quite eloquently.
The website has changed to:
The original website was taken down by my ISP.
My parents were as proud as anything over me getting my PhD. One problem I did have was my mother was unhappy about me giving up my job and career (she saw me as settled into a job she thought was a safe bet for the future) to take up a PhD. I explained to her that the idea was always in the back on my mind since finishing masters after a gap of five years and basically having a rest. As my job was under threat anyway and the company I was working for folded some months later anyway, it made the move easier to understand for her.
It may be that parents especially see you as doing your degree then finding a job so you can settle down. Having someone in the family that has decided to remain a "student" beyond degree and masters might be seen as not reaching the point you are settling down. Also, you comment that PhDs are not common in your country, so they may be unsure what a PhD is. You might try to ask them what their concerns are about what you are doing.
It sometimes needs to be made clear a PhD is not a normal degree but a highly intensive research programme leading potentially to new findings and knowledge not already in the public domain. It's one of the reasons many moons ago I did my blog and that might help you explain what you are doing to them (http://www.geocities.ws/high_temp_wear).
Quickly, I notice some old links I threw up years ago don't work anymore to my Ph.D. blog and also the Ph.D. game. Basically, my ISP scrapped the web-space on which it was stored. I know one or two found the blog especially useful at the time I posted it up, explaining what a Ph.D. is either to potential candidates or to relatives. The questions listed are pitched at a basic level I have encountered over the years.
My blog is now at:
The Ph.D. Game, meant at the time as a mickey take of the Ph.D. experience, can now be found as a PDF at:
or as a jpg file at:
The latter is an upgrade of one originally found on the University of Cambridge website. Beware square 39, which shouldn't be taken too seriously. :-)
If the Geocities link is blocked, I'm possibly looking at converting the website to a PDF for uploading to an accessible cloud space at some point in the future.
The second link to the Ph.D. Game (jpg) should be accessible.
I note replies by others that third class should be history given you've since gone on to two masters and a PhD. I wish I could say that is an end to the third class story. I'm sorry to hear about you mental health issues and had you reported that at the time, that could have been taken into consideration. But as you say, there are different attitudes to mental health issues in different countries.
I ended up with a 2(ii) followed by two masters then PhD. During the first of those masters, I also suffered health issues (exhaustion plus a damaged ankle) that I reported late in the day. I was surprised I got that first masters as I'd written it off and started the second when it came through. It's wrong that your penalised in any way, shape or form because you have had health issues of any description.
What I have identified is perhaps during screening, my 2(ii) was enough to stop my application going further as generically that was enough for an HR administrator to bin an application before it reached a hiring manager. It wasn't 2(i) and above, so end of story. This issue is a hard one to get past.
Where, however, you do get past this very basic screening and you are queried on your third class degree, you might allude to health issues rather than talk about depression per se. You might have had a period of ill health at around the time of your finals and not really elaborate. If you are pressed further, just say the level of work you put in for your degree had left you heavily fatigued and needing to seek medical help. You could say once past this, your dedication to hard work once you recovered was born out by your later achievements, your masters and PhD.
Translated, it's possible to turn this round into a selling point and it's just finding the right words to do that.
With me finished long ago, I only pop by once in a blue moon.
My feedback includes:
1) No options to insert emojis / emoticons as you have on other forums. That said, you only need basic emojis / emoticons (happy, sad, etc.) and not the huge sets that other forums have.
2) A image insert / display option would be nice for basic examples of problems or information sharing. Again, keep this basic and full on media sharing is probably not necessary given the nature of the forum.
3) Font, bold, italic and underline options would be nice to have too.
I remember you posting ages back and welcome to the post-PhD world (the main reason I rarely look by here now - so long ago).
I am minded that your supervisors are likely to be your main employment references for whatever emplyment you apply for post-graduation. Complaining has to be a last resort and I speak as someone who had a Prof who was a poor supervisor / line manager when I opted to do a post-doc at a University away from my PhD University.
So unless the actions of your supervisors have prevented you from graduating or are hindering your life as it stands, then I would leave be and move on to be honest. You have your award so why pursue this any further?
The only reason I can think of continuing to pursue your complaint is if your supervisors' behaviour is having an ongoing impact on other students. If whatever happened is a one-off, leave be and just live your life.
Universities tend to close ranks against complainants, who end up getting no-where. People who say things disappear or become uncertain of what they witnessed. I saw this happen to other people, which is why I decided it wise just to walk away when my post-doc contract ended.
Another thought. Is a post-graduate student loan yet possible to fund living costs over the year four write-up period?
I'd always respond with the same level of formality as displayed to me.
If the mark has been overstepped, it is not me who has too quickly decreased the level of formality.
My opt out is "Dear Mr/Dr. Smith (or "John" if you prefer)", should it not be clear where you stand.
I prefer informality at the earliest opportunity, as a more laid back position creates a better atmosphere for information exchange. It takes away any sensation of being "uptight".
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