Overview of Mattfabb

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Mattfabb
Sunday, 21 February 2016 at 7:19pm
Monday, 6 May 2019 at 11:54pm
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page 1 of 5 recent posts

Thread: In need of advice from those more mature in their academic careers: post-docs or even PI’s

posted
15-Mar-18, 06:21
edited about 38 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 1 year ago
Quote From pm133:
I am not one for beating around the bush so here is my analysis. Believe it or not the following is an attempt to help you.

First and foremost stop using Twitter, Facebook and any other "social media" tool. They are all, without exception complete and utter poison. Nobody has anything useful to say and you can't trust anything you see there.

Secondly, stop comparing yourself to others. By definition, absolutely nobody is on the same path as you. Comparing yourself with others is guaranteed to cause you problems. Those darling, happy clappy superstars are going to have to stand on their own two feet one day and no amount of cake, support and partying will make that any more pleasant. In other words, they will have to tread the path you are on at some stage. They cannot avoid it. They are BEHIND you in this regard. You mistakenly think they are ahead of you.

Thirdly, stop using the phrase "superstar" to describe other people. There is no such thing as a superstar, a hero or whatever other word you want to throw around. Humans use these words as excuses for their own shortcomings. Isaac Newton and Einstein achieved brilliance but they were not superstars so I can guarantee these people you are referring to are not either. Have any of them cured cancer or any other major disease yet? Have they changed the world by saving millions of lives? Unless the answer to those questions is Yes, they are nothing more than ordinary academics. Perhaps they are very good but they are not superstars by any stretch of the imagination.

Fourthly, you need to address your fundamental problem of severe neediness. Stop looking to others to provide your mental stability and focus on doing it yourself.

Finally, find out why you are not personally satisfied with your own results. This should be a period of your life where you emerge as an independent researcher, a period of self discovery and wakening ultimately revealing a lot about who you really are. Instead of celebrating this you seem stuck in undergraduate dependency mode.


Listen to pm 133. Words of wisdom. What is this crap about ‘superstars’? You seem to spend way too much time comparing yourself to others. It comes through as insecurity! Learn to let go of this, amd you will feel much better about yourself. I am sure your super will also notice the change.

Thread: First year, no confidence in my ability

posted
09-Mar-18, 19:09
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 1 year ago
Quote From chantedsnicker:
Quote From TreeofLife:
Hard to say. Could be that you are usually insecure? .


I've never been the most confident person, but I don't remember ever being this bad.

Thanks for the encouragement Bong, it's really helpful to know I'm not alone. I know everyone says that it's difficult in the beginning, but everyone round here seems to be more clued up or have a lot more extra stuff going on - Which probably is't the case. I think perhaps I need to be a bit less hard on myself as long as I'm getting the work done. This week has been a good week and I've got nearly everything ticked off my list, so I should feel pleased going into the weekend.


You didnt say what your PhD is about, so some of what I am going to write may be irrelevant, but in my experience what really boosted my confidence was attending conferences and presenting my research. It made a difference because I found out that I could easily get accepted to conferences, and other people’s presentations weren't mindblowingly great. Everybody was more or less like me, knowledgeable but not particularly brilliant.

I think you may feel the way you do because you need more contact with academics. Right now yiu have no idea of how good you are compared to everybody else. Most PhD students in my opinion think they have to be brilliant, but you don't, a PhD is just the beginning of your academic career, nobody expects you to revolutionise your field of research with your first project!

Thread: Totally fed up

posted
06-Mar-18, 05:32
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 1 year ago
In a sense, it is a good sign that you wish for more independence from your super. I wouk suggst just putting on with it for a bit longer, and think about the benfits of actually having done the PhD.

As for the impostor syndrome. I cant really say anything informed because I am not an expert. Maybe talk to a uni consellor? But in my experience, I always feel like my achievemnts are partially down to luck. One way or the other however, things seems to be working out for me. I was recently awarded a postdoctoral fellowship. It could have been luck, but these things are usually competitive and it was my third try.

I guess what I am trying to say is: be proud of what you have achieved. If your super is so into your work, it must be because he likes you and what you do. Read around this forum, the norm seems to be that most supers are not like that.

My suggestion is to keep working, and in a few months you will get your certificate and from then on you will be on your own: no more supervision, no more feedback. Total academic independence. I am sure you will come to miss having somebody read your work and give you feedback.

Thread: A report after 3 years of PhD without scholarship

posted
18-Feb-18, 11:13
edited about 16 seconds later
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posted about 1 year ago
Thank you Luca

Thread: Make writing fun

posted
27-Jan-18, 16:28
edited about 36 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 1 year ago
Not sure what you mean by fun,

But I normally first write something down knowing its going to be crap, and that the real writing starts with rewriting.

It’s a bit like this: I dont feel daunted the first time because I expect it to be bad. Then the second time I go back to it I say to myself ‘does this make sense, can I argue against what I wrote here?’

So the game is trying to find faults with the things I wrote before. I am kind of criticising myself. I find it funny that my past self could be so wrong. “What was I thinking!’.

Thats my game.

Thread: Doing postdoctoral research in Japan

posted
27-Jan-18, 16:11
edited about 15 seconds later
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posted about 1 year ago
Has anybody had the chance of doing postdoctoral reseach in Japan? How was your experience? What did you like/dislike?

Thread: Going mad?

posted
04-Apr-17, 07:27
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 2 years ago
A year into my PhD I was sick of reading about my initial topic. One day I opened the door to the PhD room and felt actually sick. I was ready to give up, but my super convinced me to change the focus of my project. It worked, and I got my PhD in 2014.

For me it got to the point where the I was just reading papers for the sake of reading them, not because I was looking for specific info. I now realised I was hoping to find some answers, some clues, because I had no idea of what interested me.

I think maybe it could be a sign? Maybe you're unhappy with you topic or the direction you're going and you need to re-evaluate it? It's nothing to be ashamed of, and it is normal to change your mind about stuff as you mature intellectually.

Thread: How brave were you in starting your PHD?

posted
29-Dec-16, 21:17
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From blocksof:
I completed the research for my Master's and been reading up in the area I'm interested in ever since, again the proposal is soo niche that it falls under sustainable energy, efficient buildings, micro generation & DNG and electrical engineering. To answer you question on no previous research, I thought PhD was to research new ideas and proposals?


If you want to know my opinion, the problem a lot of people have with their PhD (including me) is that they expect way to much of themselves. You are not supposed to revolutionise your field. You are just making a contribution to existing knowledge. A PhD research project in UK has to be doable in 3-4 years, and realistically speaking, in those 3-4 years you are also learning to become an academic, so you have to attend conferences and teach if possible. Think of the PhD as getting a driving licence. The PhD is just a piece of paper that proves you can do independent research. Your hypothesis must be original, of course, but you are not expected to create a new field of knowledge by yourself. Your examiners would eat you alive at the viva.

So, going back to your point, is there enough evidence out there for you to sink your teeth in? Do you already have enough material to be able to formulate an initial hypothesis? If so, that would be a good starting point!

Thread: How brave were you in starting your PHD?

posted
26-Dec-16, 08:18
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
No previous research? Or do you mean, you havent done any research yet?

Because if it's the former, then I dont think it's a good idea to do a PhD on it. If it's the latter, then you should start reading. I think in about 2-3 months you shoud be able to gain enough insight in the field to be able to put together a proposal.

Thread: Adjusting from commercial work to PhD

posted
26-Dec-16, 07:57
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
I agree with pm133, research at the MA level doesent really count for the PhD. I was wondering: what do you mean about lack of response? And being ostracised? Can you make specific examples?

In my experience dept. Politics were not an issue for me. Make sure to be polite to all the secretaries and the admin people, because (maybe unlike in the commercial world?) if you make enemies with Uni admins you will be well and truly fucked. Apart for that, it seems to me you are taking this pretty badly, feeling insecure and projecting these insecurities onto others.

Thread: Mental health as a PhD student

posted
04-Dec-16, 13:36
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
I didnt suffer from mental health issues but I went to see a consellor at my uni toward the end of my first year because I was hating my research project and wanted to change the direction of my research.

In my experience at the beginning if the PhD I was not clear about what was expected of me and what my thesis shoukd have looked like. Things changed for me when I started thinking 'fuck this, it doese not have to be great, it just needs to be good enough to graduate'. After that it became easier to write.

Most importnstnthing for your mental health is your super. Its important to have somebody supportive.

Thread: How much do doctoral gowns cost to buy?

posted
05-Nov-16, 07:19
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
Yes, espensive and useless.

Thread: Advisor Stepped Down: Don't Really Know Why

posted
03-Nov-16, 12:34
edited about 36 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
You believed your computer was possessed? I think that is a clear sign of delusion. Something similar happened to friend of mine, and she also had to be hospitalized for some time because of that.

Sometimes the stress gets too much and its important to know when to switch off. People in academia may be odd in some ways but I also feel that people outside academia are even odder IMO. Nowadays in academia you need to be able to attract fundings and collaborate with others, and its unlikely to achieve either goal if you dont know how to get on with people.

One thing however: you speak of academia like its one big thing, but it's not! Academics are a varied bunch and universities are all different. Science deptartments are different from Humanities. Supers are individuals and unique. There is no such a thing as 'academia' - there is your super, there are examiners, there are secretaries who you deal with on a day to day basis. Everything else is irrelevant for a PhD student. You are not writing for academia, you are writing for 2 examiners. Nobody else will assess your thesis.

Hope this helps. I just wanted to say that you should not think about academics in too abstract terms at this point, or it may become another source of delusion.

Thread: Do you ever feel like people don't get what you do?

posted
24-Oct-16, 18:02
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
I started my PhD in 2011 and my son was born in 2012, so I was looking after him throughout my PhD. I think, to be fair, that if you are living with your family and are not paying them rent or food, at least you have to help out when you can. I dont know how old you are but as an adult, there's no way you can simply live off the back of others and not give anything back. If you dont like, you can always move out.

My advice is to sit down with your family and try to work out a routine so that you can plan ahead; for me, I found that knowing that I had a limited time to write really helped me to focus on writing a certain amounts of words every afternoon. Besides, I felt really lonely as a PhD student so being with my son really helped me.

Thread: 1 year after defense, still unemployed

posted
22-Oct-16, 19:02
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Dunham:
Quote From Mattfabb:
But really, Wallace, 'ruined your life'? I may be technically unemployed, but I am so happy to have my PhD..


Why? I can totally relate to that thought. Maybe it makes it easier for you to accept that things didn't turn out as you planned if you keep telling yourself how great that PhD degree is but you must really be incredibly idealistic to not come to the conclusion that this was maybe not the best decision. Can still turn out alright, but the thought itself is pretty normal. Some people want things like a family, a house or vacation and none of them you get with a PhD. You get it with a paying job.


The point I was trying to make is that before the PhD, the best I could hope for was some rather badly paid job in my field. Now that I am looking for a lecturing position, the starting salaries are something else altogether. Of course I am still freelancing as I need to, but I know its only a matter of time before I get the position I want. In the meantime, I keep publishing and giving guest lectures. It's not idealistic, I feel, to be proud of your achievements.
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