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I'm in a lot of trouble

Smiley FAIL!!!

Clearly I did not mean to put the angry smiley at the end I don't know how that slipped in there - stupid tiny iPhone screen!

I'm in a lot of trouble

======= Date Modified 16 Sep 2010 08:32:42 =======
Oh no that's really bad luck :-(

However I think the police are warning you of the maximum penalty that can be given in this situation.

As far as I am aware first offences usually get a penalty of points on the licence plus a fine (means tested usually). If you were a repeat offender then that's probably a case for a permanent driving ban/loss of licence.

Sadly because it's insurance the fact that someone else pays for it doesn't excuse you from the responsibility of making sure the payments are made (in the eyes of the law) so it's unlikely the court will allow you to make that defence. This is even the case if the insurance company cancel your payment without you knowing But as I say it is the first time it's happened (right?) so you might get away with points and a fine which is rubbish but a whole lot better than a driving ban, lost licence and crim record.

Best of luck today and let us know how you get on. :-s

The cat on the stairs

As the owner of 4 cats I would say don't waste your money or hope on hypnosis, cat spells or polite conversation. Cats are immune to all suggestions and orders. They just do as they please.

I've had the same problem as you when they stopped sleeping on the landing and moved to the stairs. I found that by continually waking them up by moving them, picking them up or stroking them every time I saw one of them on the stairs, they got the message that that area was a hub of unwanted activity and they eventually took themselves off to pastures quiet and new and mostly out of the way. Sleep disturbance is annoying to everyone and the cat will eventually get the idea that the stairs are not a good chillout zone.

Of course. Your landlords cat may choose to defy you in which case see if you can get the landlord to build an alternative staircase so that you don't inconvenience the cat every time you go up and down ;-)

Viva Nightmare - Major Corrections

I have a friend who was unexpectedly handed a major corrections decision to the total shock of the whole dept let alone him and his supervisor. But he was given a YEAR to complete the corrections which he did and he passed. He's graduating this December with a very well earned PhD.

Thus - major corrections doesn't necessarily mean the end. My buddy was distraught when he was told it was MC and even more upset to find another year's worth of work to do but somehow he did it (albeit with weekly threats of jacking it in). He says he made a pact with himself that he wasn't going to leave without what he came for and he followed through on that. It's worth the blood, sweat and tears he says.

Question about applying

Agree with Killahtron. If your topic is too far out of the remit of a supervisor's expertise they will most likely tell you that when you approach them. Hopefully they'll also give you some names of colleagues etc that would be better suited to supervising you.

Don't be too worried about being 'dead certain' - research is rarely certain and proposals/research questions are likely to change/evolve/metamorphose as time goes on anyway.

Looking for a place and funding

Hi there

There are different ways you could go about this. What are you studying, what's your area of interest? For some specialist degrees like the Clinical Doctorate for instance, there will be a set time of the year that you can apply so in this instance the closing date for applications is December 2010 for a place starting in Sept 2011. In other areas the best time to apply is between Sept to March time. Alternatively you could look on here for advertised PhDs which usually indicate what the start of the project will be and these could be throughout the year. Most of the time unis prefer a Spring or Autumn start date because it means candidates can graduate in the Summer or Winter.

Re funding - I think it would be very difficult to get funding without a supervisor. Research Councils and other charities and organisations like to see established individuals and departments on their application forms. It would be better to find out which uni does research in your area and approach a supervisor by emailing/phoning them to express your interest. If the supervisor decides to take you on then you would submit the application together. You will need to complete a research proposal which indicates what you will be looking at and why and whether it's feasible as a research project. After that you have to wait for the outcome.

The sooner you get started into looking at unis and potential projects the better as applying for funding can be a very lengthy process.

Best of luck with your search!

If you could have any superpower ...

The ability to read minds/thoughts to predict when supervisors are about to change the topic.

I would also like the ability to understand exactly what 'I don't like the topic' means in combination with the 'I think that would be a great piece of research' comment from the week before.

NB. This is not in reference to my current supervisor who is fab.

artificial neural network

Hi Jayesh,

This question is huge! At our university artificial neural networks are covered in collaboration by several different depts - Cybernetics, Psychology, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences from several different research perspectives! Could you ask your supervisor to narrow it down a little for you and then perhaps you could do a google/google scholar search to see what's out there in your field?

Good luck!

eligibility for ph.d. with scholarship

Hi there,

The university that I work for recently took on a Masters graduate from Calcutta and one from Nigeria to start PhDs this year so it can be done. You need to find out which universities offer PhDs in your area (see the post below for the link) or do a google search for phds in your topic. Once you've narrowed down your choices it's a good idea to contact those universities and make enquiries about whether your current qualifications are eligible for a scholarship scheme. That's how our two new students got in - by emailing the supervisors or by contacting the School/Dept administrators to check their credentials. Both our students got in with full faculty scholarships so the dream can be yours but it may involve some hard work and determination on the way. Don't give up just keep going! If these two students can do it then so can you!

Good luck!

Is PhD the way?

Yes PhD is definitely still the way if you want it! You PASSED (up) and that's the main thing. One of my friends is a PhD examiner and they told me the other day that they examined a Masters dissertation a couple of weeks that needed major write ups because the candidate had omitted a major theory in the field that they were writing about. Even so, the rest of the dissertation was reasonable and the panel agreed to a pass so that candidate will be starting a PhD in October too. SO at the end of all that my point is, from what you've said in your post it seems that the things they commented on were mainly superficial like referencing and maybe writing styles which you have at least 3 years (or more - don't know how long your PhD is) to work on and perfect before you submit your final thesis. Things like incomplete references are easily corrected anyway. As an aside, I was awarded distinction for my masters degree and it hasn't made one iota of difference to anything so don't be too bummed about that. I don't even think I've ever said the words 'with Distinction' except to my mum and dad!!!

If I were in your situation I would be making my changes and then kicking back, enjoying my success and looking forward to the PhD! 8-)

Feeling like my life is going nowhere

Hi there,

I used to feel exactly the same - like life moved forwards for everyone else around me whilst I am still stuck in the same position. It's almost like everyone has boarded the plane to this exciting destination but I am stuck in the departure lounge with one milestone to pass after another before I get on. HOWEVER the way I get myself out of these funky moods is by analysing the situation more carefully. I COULD be married with house and kids if I really wanted to be but I didn't choose to go for this right now. Instead I decided that I wanted to give up doing jobs that didn't interest me and paid peanuts so that I could do a job that allowed me to earn decent money whilst doing something that I loved. Once I had decided this, I looked up the training route for this career and made a bargain with myself - I would sacrifice partners/jobs for the 6 years or so it would take to get qualified which in turn would hopefully buy me a working career of many years that I would actually enjoy. I am 30 and literally about the only person in my group of friends that isn't married and is still renting and yes on many occasions I have thought about how unfair it all is. This is when I have to remember that it was my choice to do this. A lot of them have stayed in jobs that they got as new graduates and have progressed up the promotion scales however few of them enjoy what they do and say that the job is stable and allowed them to buy a house and go on holidays but it's not something they love. A lot of them say they have to stay with what they are doing because they don't know what else to do and what with all their commitments they are not free to retrain like I am. So in a way I feel grateful and lucky that I chose to get out of the rut before I got landed with kids and mortgages otherwise I would be looking at a lifetime of low end admin jobs that pay enough for me to live hand to mouth.

I just look on the phd as a wonderful opportunity to concentrate on something that I love and feel passionate about and hopefully later on will provide me with the means to buy my own property and you never know I might actually meet someone along the way.

I know it's difficult but at the end of the day we chose to do phds, we weren't forced to, and hopefully with luck and determination, that choice will pay off for us in the long run. ;-)

Word of the day



My PhD Experience

Hi there,

I think I know how you feel about not wanting to own certain pieces of work because they don't reflect your true capabilities. I felt this way about my undergrad disseration. Basically I did my MA first and got a Distinction then did an undergrad and was allocated a topic for the dissertation that I hated. Not only did I have exactly less than 0 interest in the field, but the supervisor was more hard work than the actual project. It was their project and they would not allow any deviations from their idea of the best ever project. Seems like the examiners disagreed as it drew a mediocre 2:1 mark (one from the bottom of the 2:1 boundary) which is the lowest mark I had received for coursework in all 3 years of the degree. Not only am I fuming that I was forced to carry out this stupid project with a person that essentially ruined any chances of passing with a First, but I also feel ashamed that I have this dumb piece of 'research' with my name on it :-s

When I was applying for my PhD position, I ended up telling the interviewer that I was embarrassed about the project because the research questions and the experimental design were beyond weak and I didn't want them thinking that's how I went about carrying out research. Lucky for me, the MA dissertation was more interesting for the PhD because of the topic content and they were happy enough to see that rather than look at the undergrad dissertation.

I have binned my hard copy of the undergrad report but it bothers me that somewhere in a University in the UK a copy of this hideous manual on how NEVER to carry out any sort of project not even at primary school level is floating around with my name on it.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to go through this for something as intense and time consuming as a PhD. I know I could never put myself through that. I found it difficult enough to do the undergrad project because I resented every single word I had to read on a topic that bored me to tears and presumably, considering the mark, expressed that through the writing.

With the PhD, I am in the stage of self doubt and asking myself the question of why in heaven's name I thought I could do one.