Overview of Milly_Cat

Recent Posts

Difficulties getting back into working

Hi there

Like you I also submitted a masters dissertation less than a month before starting another degree and I felt much the same about having to resume all that thinking and planning again. However I tried to focus on other things too like making new friends and doing some volunteering at local charities as well as within the uni. I was also starting a new job too so I found that all those new experiences made up for the monotony of going back to academic work so soon after a major project. With so many commitments I had to focus my time a lot and so I generally didn't have time to sit around thinking 'i've literally JUST done this' and that I found made things so much easier. That was just me though so don't know if this would work for everyone. Personally, I'll never do two courses that close to each other ever again though.

I'm poor and cold

Never underestimate the power of the Slanket!

Yes it IS the most hideous item of clothing ever but it saves lives. It's long enough to cover your feet too so 'you don't have to shift around pulling one end or another.

Also water bottles, lots of tea and hovering over the stove whilst cooking. Also going for walks outside. Massive thick socks and tights/leggings under jeans. I also have fleece pyjamas which are a godsend.

Glad to know I'm not the only one slowly turning blue...

Agggh need to vent

I was going to start a thread like this then I didn't but I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that's dreading these conversations. I've waited several years to get a phd place and when I told some people my news they replied 'oh that's a crafty way to get out doing a REAL job' erm no actually, doing a phd for me means coming out of the workplace where I've been for the last 12 years and taking on a salary several thousand LESS than I'm used to and having to watch the pennies for 3 years. Also I had to do another undergrad to get this phd place so that meant funding myself and doing a full time job on top of a full time undergrad degree - seems to me that is a backwards way of going about being lazy.

The other thing I hate is that my area involves palliative care and people always say what's the point of looking at end of life stuff they're going to die anyway you should be looking at the time when things can be done about it - find a cure instead of wasting tax payers money. This is akin to saying that the ambulance service should only be sent if the injured/sick parties have a statistically significant chance of surviving - if they're likely to die then no medical assistance should be given because it's a waste of tax payers money. They always shut up when I put it in these terms. Also I remind them that they'd probably change their minds about the 'usefulness' of my degree if they were the ones left to die on a trolley left in a corridor somewhere in a hospital.

Then there are the ones that think it's so easy and go on and on about their opinions and then smile smugly and say 'you can put that in your report, you'll get extra marks'.

There's also comments about shaving off a few years if people worked proper work days instead of dossing in the student union, being akin to those claiming benefits for doing no work and the endless question of how it's coming along, have you finished, it's dragging on a bit etc etc.

I think it's just people that don't understand what a phd is and don't know what's involved that make these comments. Or those that are jealous. I would have said something to that rude guest whatever you think of someone's job it's plain bad manners to try and undermine what they do. I would have fought back without being rude or raising my voice. It's difficult with a flatmate though because you wouldn't want to upset them. Hopefully they would get the message and not invite evil PhD hater round again whilst you were there.

How much paperwork have you amassed?

I'm wondering if I'm going to amass more paperwork on enrolling, registration, stipends, logins and other documents relating to general admin than material that actually relates to the phd.

I'm a hoarder and every now and then someone else forces me to do a paperwork/book clearout. Recently it was my dad. There were tears and tantrums but in the end I agreed to throw away my lecture notes and denote my books to the local library. These would be the lecture notes from my law degree that I completed 12 YEARS ago. Yep.

I even kept the envelope my phd offer letter came in because it was the vessel of much longed for good news. I hid that from dad.

Luckily I'm a neat freak so everything is filed away. There's just way too many files that's all. I could probably make the biggest bonfire this side of the Thames. Although I'd probably have a coronary about all my coloured coordinated tabs going up in flames. I feel a little bit sick even imagining it...:-(

Oh Dear!

I don't even understand what he means by 'supervision'. Does he mean on his dissertation or did he think his personal tutor would be emailing him every week reminding him to do his homework?

Year after year students go wrong thinking that they can get away with doing nothing for the first year, the bare minimum for the second year and working flat out in the 3rd and they will still get that 2:1/1st. They do not seem to realise that things are worked out on percentages and contributions from each year. If you've slacked off in the 2nd year then no matter what you do in the 3rd that second year low average will pull you right down. Then they claim it was all the fault of the Personal Tutor/Supervisor etc.

If the student genuinely failed to get supervision on a major project then I think there should be some way to appeal the mark which doesn't rely on the university's internal procedures. One of my peers was awarded a 3rd this year because the supervisor did not agree with the student's perspective on the project. This person was on for a 2:2 and had a place on a professional qualification but lost everything because of the 3rd. They are now back in the same job they were doing before the degree. They appealed the decision but the uni closed ranks and refused to change the mark. If I were this person I would have definitely gone to court to fight that decision.

If you are inept and lazy then accept responsibility for poor performance but if you've put everything you've got into it and one person decides to ruin it for you then there should be a way to fight it.

In search of a PhD, so many questions..

======= Date Modified 22 Sep 2010 02:06:34 =======
In our dept the only candidates that got funding had First Class honours and an MSc in Research Methods with Distinction. The other candidates with just Firsts were required to either self fund their PhDs or do an MSc and reapply for a funded place. It's very competitive especially as faculty and school scholarships are shared (in this uni) between Psych and Biomed Sciences so you could be competing with the best of the best from two huge schools. Having said that it's not impossible to get a place. I am fully funded and I have a 2:1 at undergrad but also a distinction at Masters plus some research and clinical experience which helped my application.

The advice given by Melsie is very thorough and will stand you in good stead. Get going early with your applications and very best of luck!

Popst-PhD, non-academia jobs

That is true to some extent but most large corporate entities are made up of many divisions so for example GSK and Eli Lilly need accountants, other research staff (healthcare, social sciences), HR staff etc etc they don't always only recruit biomedical scientists, chemists and pharmacists. Clearly if your phd is in history then GSK is not for you. However recruitment consultants are unlikely to suggest jobs that are not going to make use of any of your skills.

I'm just saying that there are lots of alternative careers out there and sometimes it pays off to think outside the box. Doing a phd doesn't need to pigeonhole you into academia because there are a lot of other places that value the skills acquired from a phd just as much as they are valued in academia.

Popst-PhD, non-academia jobs

======= Date Modified 19 Sep 2010 22:57:32 =======
Oh and I forgot to say that some of these were not subject specific for example the google job did not ask for computer science/programming and the pharmaceutical companies did not want pharmacy based phds...

Popst-PhD, non-academia jobs

My sister is a specialist recruitment consultant who deals with phders who don't want academic positions. Recently she's placed phd holders into the following areas/companies:

Investment banking (City)
Law (City)
Eli Lilly
Other Pharmaceutical Co.s
Independent Healthcare Companies
Outreach medical services
Management Consultancy

There's a lot of choice you just need to identify an area of interest that fits in with your expertise. Also the starting salaries for all the jobs that she filled were twice would you get as a post doc or newbie academic.

The good thing about phds is that they are highly regarded in many non academic endeavours.

Delay in admission...

It is frustrating to be waiting on such a decision especially when it's something you really really want. However, as someone who's worked in admin at different unis I can honestly say that sometimes it's not as simple as the academic saying yes we will have you or no we won't. There's a lot of discussion about budgets, whether the academic has capacity to take on a new phd student (especially if they already have a few), whether they can or want to fit in more supervision around their other commitments, whether the uni/dept will fund another student etc etc. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes which you might not be aware of and this is what's taking so long. It may be that the Prof has a question about budgets but the person he needs to talk to is on holiday, off sick, away training etc and that's why he's not got back to you. Maybe they are checking out your docs? Sometimes we use to contact the candidates institution to confirm results etc. Maybe leave it til Monday afternoon and give him a ring to see how it's going or maybe Tursday morning? Do what feels right. At some point he will have to give you an answer either way. Until then it wouldn't hurt to carry on looking for another position. You may not need it but if you do then you'll have already started the process and it's keeps your mind occupied whilst your waiting.

If he said he would get back to by today then he really should have done so or at least told you he needs more time.

Don't give up just yet though, keep pressing til you get an answer. Very best of luck with this let us know how you get on.

I know this has been asked before, but...

It must be uni/department specific because like Bleebles I've always been told it's not acceptable. I did my masters and both undergrad degrees at 3 different unis and we were told that self plagiarism indicates an inability to express yourself succinctly in more ways than one (nb not my words/thoughts/opinion) and therefore to be avoided. But I've heard from other people at different unis that they happily plagiarised themselves and their sups did not see any major crime in it.

Probably best to check the rules and regs at your uni. I'm sure it's in a Handbook somewhere - wherever there's a degree there's a dreaded Handbook.

University Distance and Flexibility

======= Date Modified 17 Sep 2010 12:01:02 =======
I work and study at two different unis. In both unis the postgrads are expected to work in the labs/at their desks/in their offices everyday unless they are attending conferences/meetings or collecting data. In the uni I work at where I did my undergrad they schmush them all into this hideous room where they sit cheek to jowl at little workstations. Sups are often breezing in and out and there isn't much freedom to get away. In the same uni in the dept I work in the postgrads come and go as they please. I didn't see some of them except maybe once a month but two have just passed without corrections so they must have been working somewhere. Thus it can vary widely even within institutions. I agree you have to suss out the culture of the dept and what the perceptions of you will be if you're not a regular fixture. In the uni I'm doing my phd at, postgrads are expected to make the most of their opportunities but how they go about this is their own
business unless they are funded in which case they like to see you in the office most days of the week. This is why I did not do my phd in the same
uni that I did my undergrad. Also my experience with
that particular dept was appalling. I was also in paid employment in another dept (totally unrelated subject) and I loved it.

Contacting "expert" as you're doubting your sup?

There's nothing wrong with seeking advice from others but a little professional courtesy can go a long way so I would probably raise it diplomatically with your supervisor first. You have a good relationship with your sup therefore it's unlikely he will object and so two things come out of it - you get what you want and the relationship is maintained. You will have still maintained your autonomy and independance because you raised the suggestion not the sup. Your supervisor will be aware that you need this other person's help because his expertise does not stetch that far but he will appreciate that you respect him enough to run your idea by him.


That one post deserves 5 stars in itself Sneaks!

What makes a good PhD application?

======= Date Modified 16 Sep 2010 12:29:32 =======
Hello Mothy,

My phd is in a different area to yours but I could give you my tupenny's worth in general terms if it helps.

My supervisor said that my MA mark, previous work experience and my motivation to do the phd (ie my reasons for wanting to do it and my passion for the subject) were the main reasons that my app was successful.

I didn't have to do a written proposal or methods but I did go over these in my interview.

That's all I guess. It would be great to get some other peeps on here to give their views.

Best of luck with your apps and yeah defo mention your funding thing - ring all your bells that's how you stand out.