Signup date: 15 Oct 2017 at 9:14pm
Last login: 11 Jan 2021 at 2:44pm
Post count: 13
Had a look through the forum before posting but could not see any relevant info, so here goes:
Briefly: I am currently in nominal registration i.e. 6 month wtriting up period, so have no more income as funding stops when you go into nominal. I did of course budget for this 6 months. In 'normal' times this would have worked out fine but due to the pandemic, I was given a extra 3 month un-funded extension which comes to an end soon-ish. No other extensions are possible.
I recently applied for Universal Credit to tide me over, seeing as although I am writing up I am also job-hunting. But I was turned down for UC because I am a full time student, even though I explained the nominal reg thing to them.
I am looking at applying for JobSeekers Allowance instead, as the UC person advised me to, at the end of our phone conversation. But reading the eligibility rules for JSA, it appears still being a full time student makes me ineligible for JSA too. Despite the nominal registration and zero income situation.
Anyone in a similar situation with any ideas how to support myself? Burning through limited savings at a rate of knots as we speak....I am very lucky I have no more rent to pay, but I do need to eat! Am OK for another few weeks, but after that....?! I am in Scotland.
I live in a rural area so jobs are tricky to come by in non-pandemic times. Will obviously have to commute on public transport to a job, in a main town or city, but I need to actually get a job first. That is the challenge.
If anybody has any useful advice i would be very grateful. Feeling rather stuck. The Phd has been a hard slog, didn't see this trap coming at all:(
Thanks a lot for your very sage advice Pjlu. You have clear insight where I have none! I think I will, for now, continue with the PhD - unless I fail the next end-of year review and the decision to leave is made for me -whilst keeping my ear to the ground re. jobs. During this period, my motivation to continue will either grow or diminish....and there will be my answer. Thanks. And huge congrats on your PhD achievement. Part time whilst working....hey, you definitely did it the tough way:)
Anyone else out there who'd like to express their opinion/encouragement on my circumstances and/or decision-making?
Ultimately I know the decision to go or stay can only come from me. But input from others is still very welcome, a wider perspective can only be a good thing.
I have tried the logical thinking route. I have tried the working out pros and cons route. I have tried to tap into the gut instinct thing....but I have no gut feeling for this, as I have lost all objectivity after all the twists and turns I have had to take over the years, which I have not gone into fully because I'm not comfy telling tales of woe. I know very well how life can be unfair to many. But now I have lost all direction and hope of finding a direction. Not sure how I have come to be this clueless at my age:(
Thanks for taking the time to reply TreeofLife. Its not even really about money, as long as I can live I am fairly happy. But to be almost 50 with nothing except perhaps 3 more letters after my name....? And even after a PhD I would be a 'baby' researcher....and back to the bottom of the heap as it were. I have no interest in academia, doing the short term contract postdoc thing, done the moving around thing every few years for the last 20 years and if |I do this much more, I'll end up wearing a strait jacket in a padded cell. Sorry to be so un-PC; I used to work in mental health respite care before getting into science so I have rather a gallows-type sense of humour about these things. And a pretty healthy perspective on what's important in life too, most of the time. Although its not helping me in my current decision-making circumstances:(
I think I want to work in a lab, in a fulfilling enough job (I won't say career, all my attempts to develop one have been kiboshed by various out of my control circumstances) but the idea of doing all the really really hard things alongside the science, in a PhD, just seems so....NOPE.
I'm no closer to a decision. At some point I may just toss a coin. Why not?! Cheers.
TreeofLife, I left industry due to a stroke of very bad luck-the job description turned out to have been written in error (that is as much as my boss would admit to, after 4 and a half years of me trying to develop my skills there in a particular area of science, which I would have been able to do had my job description been correct). I know this sounds odd, but what it means is I had to float around other teams because we were so short staffed and despite repeated and polite requests from me to return to the original job I had gone to that organisation to do, the job did not really ever exist. My higher-up boss (boss of the whole site) was excellent and very honest, telling me that unfortunately, if I wanted to do the work I had gone there to do (relocated across the UK and all the other sacrifices associated with this) I would have to leave. This was hard to hear but I appreciated that he didn't fob me off by suggesting I wait even longer for the opportunity, which would never materialise.
This situation should not have happened, but it did. Cue me deciding sod them, I gave them all my commitment, got sod all back, was getting older and had been de-skilled. I was unable to have any control over my career or skills development at all, so I left and did an MSc to re-skill myself and become 'current' again.
I then intended to get a job and remain employed, having got myself out of an unplanned hole. However I saw my PhD topic advertised, loved the idea of it, got all excited (it would develop exactly the skills I had wanted to develop in the promised but non-existent job) and thought it was a wonderful opportunity after all my bad luck.
Felt very fortunate to be offered the PhD, and grateful. It involved relocating across the UK again, but hey-ho, I could cope with that.
But now I'm wondering if I should have gone for employment after the MSc, rather than the PhD. Just cannot trust my own judgement any more.....
OK, I just typed out a fairly lengthy post only for it to sodding disappear. So here it is in bullet point form in case it disappears again:
-thinking of leaving PhD.
-love science but not keen on having to do the science PLUS the PhD ie. write talks, give talks, attend conferences, go through assessments every year, be up at 2am trying to grind out a couple of paragraphs for an abstract/report/chapter (its a PhD and I know very well this WILL happen).
-I worked in labs before starting the PhD and I can work in labs again without having a PhD
-will be nearly 50 when I finish PhD (in 1st year at the mo) and will have the PhD but no job and no home of my own-this is extremely unappealing
-more appealing alternative is to return to industry, earn a salary for the next 3 years and actually have a life in the evenings and at weekends
-my pride, and reluctance to walk away from anything, may be standing in the way of a logical decision to not do the PhD any more
-I think I have almost arrived at my decision (to leave) but would be interested in others' opinions, particularly those who can be more objective than I can currently, and who very probably have wiser heads than I.
I'm just a bit worried I am throwing away an opportunity, albeit an opportunity which will involve a very tough, hard slog for the next 3 years. I am under no illusions about the day to day sheer grind that a PhD entails.
In advance, thank you for any guidance you can offer, Marigold.
Yes I would say it IS possible. I myself was accepted onto a PhD with a 2:2 and a commendation for my Master's, although I also had industry experience so that may have helped. However as you will be aware the whole PhD merry go round is megacompetitive and I think that it comes down to how well you interview on the selection day. In an interview they will be asking questions, not just in your field, but which are designed to demonstrate to them how you think, how you approach a problem, etc.
You have had some very positive - sounding interactions with potential supervisors. I would be encouraged by this and absolutely go for it. Don't waste too much energy worrying about the two supervisors in the same dept. It is not an issue. From experience, the reply from the supervisor who did not reply to you could well be sitting in her 'drafts' folder, unsent, and she will think she has sent it. Academics can be easily distracted and surprisingly dis-organised as they are so busy...this puzzles me as they have had to be organised when doing their own PhDs, then it all goes to pot when they become academics! Best of luck.
Thanks very much for your replies and advice, very much appreciated. I perhaps did not word my concern very well, I am not looking to apportion blame as such-that is unprofessional and achieves nothing, I know-it is more to understand if this was entirely down to my mistake, as if so I may consider withdrawing as it could indicate a Phd is not for me.
Something has gone very badly wrong if I thought I was doing OK all year only to find out this was not the case. I need to get to the bottom of why it went so wrong so I can address things and rectify them, in a discussion with my sup, and also to prevent such a situation occurring again.
pm133- in my institution we need to report preliminary analysis of data in order to pass, that's the rule. There MUST be some analysis and interpretation. I provided that, but I did make a now obvious very silly error and I have to 'put my hands up to that'.
I have been given some specific things to do to rectify the error, in preparation for a re-viva and then hopefully a pass and progress onto the next year. So all is not lost and I have certainly learned a valuble lesson, including, as Treeof life said, asking the right questions and standing up for myself to ensure I am given the guidance I need and am entitled to.
Thank you all once again for your input, its been very helpful. This is a such a useful forum, I'm so glad I found it. Thanks!
Not sure I'm best person to advise you, being only an end-of-1st -year myself. But I'll give it a go. How come your sup has let you get to your final year before making you aware your work is not "analytical" enough? Is this the first you were aware?
After investing so much time and effort and quite frankly, your whole life since your PhD began, I would suggest sticking with it and seeing it through if you can, to reap the reward for your hard work. But you must get your sup to discuss specifics with you so you know precisely how you can improve your work and what you need to do. Its no good guessing....I have had that problem myself this year, and it didn't go well:(
I can understand this has been galling and probably hugely demoralising for you. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable and wiser than I will be along to give you some better advice than I am able.
Your expert opinions needed please! I made a mistake in my analysis (science but I cannot be more specific, sorry!) which has resulted in me failing my 1st year review. This has shocked me, I had not expected it at all. The mistake was omitting something in my analysis which is usually a very standard tool to use. I omitted it as I thought it was justified not to use it in a pilot study, and I intended to use it in the 'full' study after the pilot. My sup was fully aware of all this.
I take full responsibility for my mistake and feel like a right plonker. However as I came out of industry to do the PhD and have spent 1st year adjusting to being a student again (at age of 35+) I am unsure if the mistake is truly all mine, in which case I may not be cut out for research, or if the sup must bear some blame as sup gave me no indication whatsoever that this omission would make me fail. Sup tends to be very indirect when thinking they are being direct. I am rubbish at guessing what sup's hints really mean, but assumed hinting was normal because at PhD level we don't get spoonfed (and I don't want to be spoonfed anyway). Please tell me your opinions, as it will help me decide whether to stay or go. Thanks very much indeed :(
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