Overview of NapoleonofCrime

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Westminster or Oxford Brookes???

I don't know anything about MBA courses, but I can tell you that Oxford is a wonderful city, albeit one with a very different pace of life to London. There's plenty to do and see, but the atmosphere is a little less... hectic?

If your decision is based more on the course than on the location, I guess you need to work out which course has the best reputation (I assume there's a league table for MBAs?) and, importantly, which one is structured in the way that sounds most appealing to you.

Completing PhD & paid work

Hi All,

I'm getting close to completing my PhD - the draft is done and I'm in the throes of editing. Here's the thing - I think I might be getting offered a full time position, to start in July, and I'm wondering if any of you have any experience of completing the PhD alongside full time work.

A bit of context: it's not an academic job (:-() but it is related to my work (I'm an art historian and it's in a gallery). I don't feel that I can put off finding a job until September. I'm funded, my funding runs out in September, but if I want to stay in my flat instead of moving back to the parental home I need to know by the end of July that I'll have an income for the forthcoming 12 months.

Career-wise I think it should be fine - I plan to use the year to refine a really exciting postdoc proposal and hopefully get a couple of articles accepted for publication, then reapply for academic jobs starting in 2013. I'm more concerned about time management. Obviously I'd have to spend my days off writing, and ideally at least 3/5 of my after-work evenings. Thoughts on motivating and organising myself?

(Another thing: I mentioned I am funded. Am I a terrible person if I start a job after receiving my last quarterly stipend and don't declare it to the university? I could really do with the money as I self-funded my MA and my first PhD year, which racked up a lot of debt... and my funding conditions do say that people who submit early can still keep their entire quarter's stipend, so there's a sort of precedent.)

The 'We will get that job' post.

Quote From Slizor:

I put in my first job application a week ago. My supervisor's view of my application "I don't think you stand a chance".

Good times.

I had 'well you have a chance of an interview for this job... about as much chance as I have of winning the Lottery. I don't do the Lottery.'

To be fair, even I laughed at my sup. when he said that... he was being realistic rather than mean. But I've applied for over a dozen postdocs and early-career fellowships (I'm a few months shy of submission) and haven't been shortlisted once. I'm now turning my attention to curatorial jobs (my field is art history) where I might have a little more luck.

As ever, it's the lack of publications that scuppers every application. But when exactly are we supposed to churn out 3-4 articles and get a book proposal accepted while actually writing the PhD? Nobody in academia admits that, with a few lucky exceptions, you're virtually obliged to wait a year between completing your thesis and starting your first academic job. :-s grrr

Using a preface in your thesis

I've been away from this forum for over a year, so excuse me for shuffling back in after so long...

I'm editing my introductory chapter (draft complete! Just a few months to go now!). I've been thinking that it's going to work a lot better if I divide it into a short (2000-ish word) preface, plus full 10,000 word intro. The preface would outline my argument and the historical context, and the longer piece would function as a lit review and methodological discussion.

Does this sound legitimate? I'm still waiting for my supervisor's response so other opinions would be helpful. The subject area is Hist. of Art, if that helps.


Living arrangements

I rent a flat in south London with my boyfriend (we're both 25), though last year I lived with my parents as I was self-funding. I've only been able to move out thanks to getting an AHRC studentship.

Rescue Remedy

Just a quick question - does anyone have any experience of taking Bach's Rescue Remedy for anxiety or panic? Did you find it worked - either physically or psychosomatically? I have just got a bottle, and I'd like to know a bit more about it, as I don't normally go in for herbal/homeopathic remedies. Thanks!

To wait or not to wait?

Quote From melly_81:

Thanks for your reply,

That is exactly what I intended to do - self-fund now and apply for funding next year, but I have been told that as soon as you physically start the PhD, if you haven't already applied for funding then you will completely rule yourself out in the future. Seems harsh to be honest - my uni seems to have a policy to only offer funding to new students and not current students who may have self-funded like yourself and then wanted to apply for funding later on. Think I will check with the AHRC but if it's a university policy then I don't think I'm going to get anywhere..

Whoever told you that was misinformed... I failed to get funding for my first year, but have now been awarded an AHRC studentship by my dept. for this year onwards. Some institutions aren't keen on funding current students (I have been told) because the money is seen as a lure for new research students; others take the opposing view that it is better to fund someone who has demonstrated a capacity for research and a sold project proposal for the preceding year. However, I don't think universities can actually institute a blanket ban on continuing students - it's not in the spirit of the competition, which is to encourage the 'best' research, regardless of who is doing it. Good luck.

I am an incompetent fruit bat.

Talk to your supervisor, if this is actually affecting the quantity or quality of your work. I had some personal issues recently, which were impinging on my ability to focus, and after speaking about them with my supervisor I felt considerably less panicky (I have an awesome sup.) and better able to concentrate.

I know what you mean, about feeling that you don't want your supervisor to lose respect for you, or think that you are some kind of 'crybaby'. I felt the same, which I why I put off speaking with my sup. about my problem for ages. I think it's best to make it clear that you would like to speak with him because your problems are directly affecting your work, rather than subjecting him to a general rant, because the former makes it clear that, as your supervisor, he has a vested interest in helping you to attain your best work.

He may be a top academic, but don't forget, he agreed to supervise you! So don't assume that he has 'little respect' for you. Some people, my own sup. included, are not very forthcoming with praise and approving comments, but it doesn't mean that they dislike your work or your abilities. Best of luck.

Stupid theoretical Framework

Can't you incorporate a discussion of your theoretical framework into your overall introductory chapter?

Have I done the right thing?

Update: Their damn TV is on again, and just as loudly as before.

I am going to go and poke them with specially sharpened pencils.

Have I done the right thing?

Quote From DanB:

I don't think it's passive aggressive at all and think it was quite reasonable to do pop a note round.

However, I do have to ask this as I lived in a flat and had problems with noise, is the noise actually excessive? The girl who lived in the flat above us used to play music and have TV on and could hear her moving things but it was just normal day to day noise and more the structural building problems than the noise actually being excessive. I got to know her quite well and she would have music or TV on at a "normal" volume.

I do sympathise - I would never live in a flat again.

I get what you mean, and that's one of the reasons why I didn't complain prior to this. Without standing in their flat, I can't really judge if their music etc is at 'normal' levels, and we just have thin walls and floors. I think that it is up pretty loud though, for two reasons: 1) because it makes a sort of buzzing/vibrating noise, of the kind you get when you turn things up to maximum volume, and 2) we have neighbours either side as well, whose televisions etc don't cause any problems.


Most taught Masters' operate a Fail/Pass/Merit/Distinction system. A Distinction is approximately equivalent to a 1st (i.e. you normally need a 70+ average to achieve one).

A few Masters', particularly research Masters' and MPhils, work on a Pass/Fail basis only.

Help- Strugging to write

I've had this issue too. I have been using the MyTomatoes site to track my writing (not for any other kind of work), and I find that it's a useful and motivational way of structuring writing time.

I also think that for longer pieces of work, it's a good idea to write a very detailed plan, and turn the notes and points of that plan into longer text. My supervisor put me onto this, and it works very well, as previously I had a tendency to get lost and distracted in the middle of chapters.

Also, don't feel you have to produce a high word target every day. For a while I tried producing 600-700 words daily and it didn't work. On some days I would produce 1000, and on others I would produce nothing. If you can put a couple hundred words down every day (which you should be able to do in an hour, writing slowly), you should find that your work will progress faster than you realise.

Have I done the right thing?

I have noisy upstairs neighbours. We're not talking 'thumping bass at 3am' noisy, but certainly people who play their TV and music loudly enough that I can hear it in my flat, seem to communicate by shouting across their flat, and frequently bang furniture and things on their floor (my ceiling)!

They have only lived above me for a few weeks. A few nights after they moved in, I knocked on their door upstairs and (politely) asked them to turn down their music (it was 1am) as it was keeping my bf and I awake. The girl who answered the door was civil, but I didn't notice a particular drop in the volume after I went downstairs.

Since then, we have frequently been disturbed by noise from this flat, during the day and the night. Like I said, it's not so loud that we have to call in Environmental Health or something ridiculous, but it is often loud enough to distract me from working and my bf from sleeping. We haven't gone up to speak with them since the first time, because we don't want to be 'that annoying couple' who complain about every little incident. However, last night was the final straw - music buzzing through our ceiling till after midnight, loud voices, banging footsteps.

Rather than go up there in a rage, I waited till this morning, when I wrote a note and posted it through their letterbox. The note was polite - the gist of it was "You have a right to play music etc., but you are making noise at a level that is disturbing us downstairs. We would really appreciate it if you kept the volume down a bit, especially at night. Thank you."

Since putting the note through, the silence has been eerie! I think my note was very reasonable, but I am now paranoid that the people upstairs are plotting revenge, or will bang on my door at some point to shout at me. Should I have gone up to speak to them in person? I know, a note is about as passive-aggressive as you can get! Should I have ignored the noise, given that it was 'annoying' rather than 'unbearable'? Help!

The most awesome (fictional) supervisors...

I like my supervisor a lot. But imagine... what if you could have literally ANYONE as your supervisor? Living or dead, fictional or real, academic or not? Ideally, though, someone who is known in some capacity as a mentor or teacher. I present, for your perusal, some examples:

#1 Yoda
Typical supervision: standing on your head in the Dagoba swamp, trying to make your MacBook float using only THE FORCE.
Most likely to say: 'Refine your methodology, you must, or nonsense shall your introduction be!'

#2 Gandalf
Typical supervision: none, because he's buggered off to Minas Tirith on Shadowfax. Again.
Most likely to say: 'YOOOOOU SHALL NOT PASS!!! Unless you re-write Chapter 6.'

#3 Dumbledore
Typical supervision: communicates mainly via a Pensieve, and returns your drafts via owl. What's an email?
Most likely to say: 'You haven't yet cited my work on the Twelve Uses of Dragon Blood.'

Please plumb the depths of your pop-cultural and historical knowledge to suggest some more!