Overview of Milly_Cat

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Today has not been a waste because....

Today was not a waste because I managed to write some words instead of thinking about writing some words. Whether those words actually mean anything is a totally different question...:-(

My day at the job centre...

Yes you're right about the jaded and apathetic and I can see it from their point if view - listening to people's complaints and abuse or having to watch people who are genuinely trying to get on their feet struggle all the time. And not even get paid well to put up with that. I imagine that's there's not much support for them either they just have to get on with it.

It's good that you've seen the ray of light in your situation. At least you've nearly finished! I've still got three years of tomato soup and no heating in winter to come! I'm already halfway to becoming

Ugh ugh ugh, just ugh

I don't think anyone is immune to those crappy days. For example, I'm typing this for the second time as I accidentally hit the cancel instead of post button...

I struggled to get to my feet in the first few weeks of this phd what with having to get to grips with a new discipline and trying to wade my way through the research and the terminology. Sometimes I feel like a pre-schooler but I've come to accept those days and move on. My bugbear isn't cells, it's ethics committees which like cells, don't always play ball. Here's hoping you have a better Friday and an even better weekend. (mince)

My day at the job centre...

I've never been able to get a job through the job centre...

I went there recently to get a PT job to go alongside the phd and the woman helping asked me 'so this course you're doing, what does it qualify you for?'


Omg I swear to God the next person who asks me about my 'course'....

The Elusive Research Question

Thanks guys. It's good to know what other people's experiences have been. I've had to identify my research questions very early into the research but I've been assured that they are just guidelines and there's room to manoeuvre. Still it's interesting to know how other people's projects have developed.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.

The Elusive Research Question

Just wondering - for those of you whose projects were not defined by the sup from the outset, how long did it take you (in terms of how far were you into the first year of the phd) to formulate your research question(s) and what pointers did you get (if any) from your supervisor?

Failed PhD - any advice?

Hi Olivia

You really should send your experiences and your advice to Prof John Wakeford at the Messenden Centre. He specialises in situations like yours and offers free help and advice. Your situation was completely avoidable and so unfortunate but others facing similar difficulties might be able to benefit from your advice and experience. John uses real cases to advise other students so it's really worthwhile getting in touch. You don't have to reveal your name or any personal details to him. He came to give a seminar on these issues at our uni and it was helpful to know what to do and where to go if this situation arises.

Can any PhD Students give me some advice?

Hi there

It's definitely perfectly possible to branch out (within reason). I've moved from Psychology (undergrad) to Pharmacy (phd) quite happily. I've also changed clin populations from children less than two years old to end stage dementia patients. As long as you're prepared to put in a bit of hard graft to fill in any short falls in knowledge you should be fine.

Proposal frustrations - lack of feedback and wasted time

A whole year on just the proposal seems like a lot. Do you have a Senior Tutor or Postgrad Tutor that oversees all supervisors? If so you could speak to them about your problems. They are meant to mediate between student and supervisor and they may be able to help you more than admin staff who can only help regarding technicalities like printing and binding and how many pages etc.

It's best to get talking to someone now as what will happen when you start sending chapters of your thesis and they don't get read? You signed on to be a postgrad which means you have a contract with your uni. Somewhere - probably PG handbook it will tell you what the uni promises to provide you in order to complete your degree. One of those things will be a supervisor who actually reads your stuff and guides you. Therefore you're entitled to speak to someone if 'you don't think you're getting this.

If you don't have a tutor then maybe Student Services can suggest a way forward for you?

John Wakeford at the Messenden Centre provides a free service for PGR students who are having difficulties you could google him and maybe see what he has to say?

Best of luck


After years of being a postgrad administrator *I* am FINALLY a postgrad myself!!! Woo woo! I have now officially started (informally started looking at the literature during the summer) and am coming to the end of my second week. It's very exciting. It took so long and so many years to get here that sometimes I can't believe that I am actually here. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you all.


Need some insight on getting a phd

As BilboBaggibs suggests a Masters is a good route into a PhD as that will teach you some research skills.

As for wondering how you get to know what you want to research, you have to consider a topic that you think will interest you enough that you could continue working on it every single day for 3/4 years or however long you're doing your phd for. Once you've decided, you started looking at research in the area - either start with Google or Googke scholar to see what's out there and then you can move on to searching other databases such as Web of Science or other specialist databases for your particular field. Once you starting reading around the subject you will start to spot themes emerging from your reading. You will also hopefully start asking yourself whether those themes have been adequately explored, what the studies did well, what they could have done better, what things you would have done to explore that data further. Then at some point when you've done enough reading you should be able to spot the questions that are begging to be answered that either aren't in the literature or have produced ambiguous findings (that might be clarified with better methods/analysis) or that could do a with a new reworking thanks to advances in technology or methods. It very much depends on your field and what you're interested in.

However these skills take time to develop you're not expected to know it all. Reading 'critically' is one of the hardest things to learn but once you've got it it comes like a second nature.

Don't give up on thoughts of doing a phd because you think it's too daunting. Give yourself a chance to get to know how to navigate research then make the decision whether you want to proceed or not. Those research skills will benefit you regardless of whether you go into academia or not.

Many unis run courses on research design and how to do research as part of the PhD enrolment programme so they don't expect you to know it all before you get there.

Best of luck with your studies!

Living arrangements

I'm 30 and live in a rented 2-bed house. I have 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and 3 office spaces (formerly a second bedroom, living room and kitchen) :$

I live with two cats at the mo. The house is about 6 minute walk from my actual uni office so it's very convenient.

I was recently declined for a mortgage because I'm being a stipend which, according to the UK banking system is apparently akin to being paid in Monopoly money! :-s

HELP: internal assessment review statement


Is it possible to ask your supervisor for some help? You seem to have done nearly all of it yourself it seems so there's relatively little for them to do so maybe they won't be averse to helping you out at this stage. Failing that, is there a dedicated postgrad office/tutor/admin person that you could ask? Someone has to know what goes on there! Or you could try asking another postgrad from your dept/school who has either been through the process or is going through it as well (in which case they could ask THIER sup for help and pass the info to you).

To be honest, at some point the supervisor is going to have to look at your form as are other academic staff and so it's in the sup's best interests to help you fill it out properly. I'd ask them first.
I hope you get the help you need!

Postgrad application with 2:2 and long time since left uni!

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Double post

Postgrad application with 2:2 and long time since left uni!

I would say go for it! I left uni in 2001 with a 2:2 and I got accepted without interview on a Masters course in 2007 at a very reputable university. A Desmond is not the end of the world (unless you want to do Clinical Psych).

I did not return to education in any form in those interim years but my work experience counted for a lot in the end and it wasn't in the area that I graduated in. I did my MA part-time too and then I went on to another degree and now I'm FINALLY on my phd.

So. Go for it!;-)