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How much reading did you do in your first year?

Your welcome!! Instead of sleeping I'm reading back over my answers and realise I'm great at giving advice but crap at taking my own medicine!!Anyway to answer your questions....

1)Yes to me your reading speed seems good.

2) when you put it like that..ie half your time goes on admin...this seems like a problem. I think you need some creative solutions and you need to guard at least 15 hours minimum for reading and research related activities

If you could somehow shorten admin to 2 hours a week instead of 4. And maybe give 22 hours to phd instead of 20...already that gives you four more hours.


Hi random, just wondering how you got on in the end?

How much reading did you do in your first year?

Well on reading your reply all I could think was that reading speed seemed fine to me (I honestly have no idea what mine is..I think it varies with my mood/energy/interest).your reading speed seems very fast in fact to me.

The problem seemed rest squarely with the fact that you only have 8 hours a week for reading. I don't know what you can do about this. Your time on other activities didn't seem too off.
Maybe it's an issue you need to raise with your supervisors and see their suggestions.

How much reading did you do in your first year?

It's really difficult to put a figure on how much you should read. Especially when in my field some articles are very brief and some theoretical papers or chapters that review the field can be very long and dense.

It is good that you are reading with focus I. E a clear purpose. I think rather than set an amount to read, maybe work out a deadline for yourself for when you want (need) this task to be finished.

As regards your neck problem I encourage you seek solutions on managing this as best you can...whether that's getting massages/ knowing when you need to a break/ swimming/I'd even give acupuncture a try.

I had back pain..trapped nerve. I took up swiming and yoga and solved the problem.

I'm sure you have already tried lots of things but I would encourage you to seek a way to manage this now. Even if you can't get rid of it completely, you need to find a way to manage it so as it doesn't interfere with your studies.
That may knowing how long you can push yourself and when to take a break(guilt free)..so that you still get a decent amount done without massive stress.

I know you didn't specifically ask for advice about your neck. But I feel 1st year is the ideal time to find what works for you.

Back to reading amount. I think I would work out how much time is required for teaching/taking class a week. So if that's 20 hours then out of a 40 hr week you have 20 for reading.

As a 5th year student if I could go back in time I would tell myself to treat it like 9_6 job . Have a routine and make time for excercise/being in nature/social life.

Applying for a new PhD

7 months is not a long time. Cut your losses and apply for a new PhD at a different institution. Use your old undergraduate references and either don't mention this 7 months or say something that that doesn't give them a window to think your the problem (which I personally don't think you are). I'm not sure what you could say, maybe lie and say there wasn't the lab equipment/materials advertised or something ( I have heard of that before).
That's my two cents. PhD is hard enough with all this. The only draw back to this plan is that it is a bit of crap-shoot how the next supervisor will turn out to be.

I'm sorry to hear of your predicament. why does academia attract such crazy ego-maniacal socially mal-adjusted losers? ..sigh

Three Tips to Prepare Final Exams Well

I like to spend time in a more bearable

And it's also very helpful when the exams themselves are
Calmer and prepared, even if you are not.

I could go on...but people's please don't fall for this scam. If you do a bit of work, ask a tutor in your uni for help if you need it, you will be fine.

You won't pass your exams if you farm out essays to places like this...you will have missed out too much valuable learning in terms of content and how to write and structure arguments.

And a highly doubt you will pass any assignments based on the command of English evidenced in this post

PhD delay

I would create a realistic time for submission (when you will have thesis completed, including sending them drafts and editing) and email them this schedule and tell them you want to get the ball rolling on an official date for submission and select examiners ect. I would in the email request a meeting (maybe skype?) to discuss it all.

Should be fine. I would't worry just yet

Advice wanted - Feeling hopeless in PhD and wanting to quit

Hi Melodie,

Just wanted to say sorry to hear about your scan results.

I hope things work out for you. I don't think there is any objective right or wrong path to follow, but I do wonder if you should give some your time before making any final decisions. You are dealing with an awful lot of shocking news, maybe it's best to let the dust settle a bit?



Should I see a counsellor or psychiatrist?

I'm actually normally pretty okay (or so I think) when talking about my research.
But my first two conferences I went to, in particular the second one i went to, I was pretty much exactly how you describe. I think it has something , as Piju said, something to do with the fight or freeze response.

I was massively anxious, practically in a state of camouflaged panic, most of the time. And when people asked me about my research I just couldn't string a coherent sentence together. I remember at one point I tried to reply to someone, and all I could do is regurgitate some of my presentation which I had learned off, like some demented robot!! he even made a joke of it, (in a nice way) and asked me if I wanted to get my slides out.

I can laugh now looking back, but it really wasn't that funny at the time. I do remember feeling also like there was something wrong with my brain.

So maybe that is what is going on with you.

I have to mention, there are also possible neurological reasons for your problem, but I don't know how you rule that out.

How is your writing; is it clear and intelligible ?( and no one ever feels like it their writing is good all the time)
Are you finding it reasonably okay to think to yourself when your alone, or writing about your project.
If so, I would say I the talking thing is probably just due to anxiety and probably just becoming just a vicious self-fulfilling circle now.
Its like stammering or blushing, the more self-conscious you are about it and the more you try and stop it, the worse it becomes.

So maybe take some pressure off your self and allow yourself to sound dumb for a while


Congratulations Kamali! that's a huge achievement.

It is nice to hear a positive story. Thank you!

Potential PhD Supervisor - no scholarship but still wants to chat?

well first off, you need to decide if you can manage to pursue a PhD without any financial aid. I wouldn't really advise that route.

There is the possibility that scholarship positions will open at her Uni in the next year, so waiting for that is a possibility. Or there are, in most European Countries, government funded scholarships available. These are very competitive, but for most, you don't need to be registered as PhD student to apply, but you do need to have potential supervisor on board..You could ask if she is aware ( and she should be) of any of these types of scholarship and if she is willing to work on an application with you.

Apart from funding, other things to consider are what resources, lab equipment, samples, funding available for research expenses. And if there is the opportunity to teach available.

Also if there is finding for attending conferences.

Other things to suss out, with out directly asking (maybe by looking at their online profile) is how many PhD students they have supervised to completion. I would read some of their articles to get a sense of both the standard of their work and also if it is a good fit for you.

I would also see what training is available, so depending on your research it could stats training or qualitative research training ect. and the availability and funding of these types of thing.

other than that I can't think of anything else to ask.

Is this a sign I should leave academia?

First of all, Congratulations on getting your PhD, Dr. Jambo!!
The majority of us on here, are still only aspiring to achieve what you have achieved.
This is a massive achievement, especially with un-supportive supervisors.

As for pursuing academia;

First of all, it is possible to find meaningful and well paid positions outside academia. Academia has long hours and I think most of us on here can attest to drawbacks of the 'publish or perish' mentality and the competitiveness that goes with this.

So I think you should think long and hard, and explore options, and decide if you really want academia.

Then if you decide you want to give it a shot, why not go for it?
I will be looking for jobs soon, and I am in a similar situation.
I am focusing on making my CV look good, by getting publications and attending conferences.
teaching experience is good to have too.
If you can look like you have experience in these three areas; publications/attending conferences/teaching and you do well at an interview you have a good shot. If you choose to leave, or don't find yourself progressing down the line, you can always jump ship then.

And there is always the possibility of making your own contacts at conferences. easier said than done, I'm an introvert so i have found this difficult myself.

I know people whose supervisors favour them, are they are at a huge advantage . I'm not one of those students.

My plan is to apply for a lot of jobs, particularly jobs that match my skill-set and research experience (good fit is hugely important). I predict It will take a lot applications before i get an interview and a lot of interviews before i get a job.

I have decided I want to pursue academia. But I'm going also to explore my options outside academia and keep an open mind about tangentially related fields. It is possible I will come to find job outside academia that I prefer.

statistics question - adjustment

[quote] "its worth noting that the association between head circumference and 3MS in the current study remained statistically significant after adjustment for IQ"
to me, this statement means they statistically controlled for IQ and the association between head circumference and 3MS remained significant.

for example you might an association between two variables, but it was really explained by third variable, or you think it might be, so you control for it and see if the association remains. for example you might find an association between numbers of ice-creams sold and number of drownings, but really there are both explained by hot weather. so if you controlled for the weather (temperature) you find the association between ice-creams sold and drowning is not significant any more.

I dont know what 3MS means in your case, so you will be better able to understand the logic behind your particular case.

"after adjustment, head circumference was not statistically significant with all cognitive outcomes"

In regard to this second statement, I need more information... after adjustment for what?? it means they controlled for something (what?) and the association between head circumference and cognitive outcomes was not significant. if they controlled for IQ this might make sense... high IQ was associated with both larger brains and better cognition...

I feel I understand the stats, but not your topic area... I would be surprised to learn that higher iq was associated with an actual bigger brain...

anyway, hope this helps

Advice wanted - Feeling hopeless in PhD and wanting to quit

Hi Melodie, You said you were getting conflicting messages about whether to continue to pursue the Phd or go for Mphill. So I don't want to add that confusion.

But I do think the fact that your supervisors want you to continue means something. In my opinion, unless there clueless and incompetent (and only you can judge that) it means they believe both and you and your research are (or have the potential to be) good enough for a Phd.

I see the opposite case all the time, where the student wants a Phd but supervisor's are advising Mphill.
that's the case with you. It says something positive about you and your research.

I think, as others have said that creating the document they asked will help. And perhaps off the back of it you can come up a reasonable plan to finish. Maybe you could just spend a short time finishing up experiments/ tying up enough lose ends and then write up.

I think if you manage to de-stress a bit, you might find while writing the document that you come up with some creative solutions, ie you figure some not too time consuming things to do to tie it all together. It seems like your supervisors think you capable, and you probably are.

In relation to mental health issues, I find meditation really helped me. I can recommend some books that helped me, if you like.

Best of luck with your decision. For now, just focus on the document you need to write. Don't think about the mphill/phd decision/ the end/the vivia/the thesis. Just focus on this for now.

Walking in nature for breaks is really great too. I know its obvious, but so beneficial. I find a swim has the same effect on me also.


Demotion from PhD to MPhil

Dear Moocher,

I think it's a bit unfair , if you choose to downgrade for Phd to Mphill, you are not given any guidance on what is required. I feel this is supervisors job and if doesn't know what is required, he should find out, or least make that effort to direct you to someone who can help you. But hey supervisors!!

There's no point in arguing this point this point with your supervisor, but I would suggest going back to him and asking him where you can find the information you need and whom you can talk to.

If he still is unhelpful, I would find someone you can ask. You do need to know the rules and regulations regarding Mphill in your university and what is required of you. Sure it may less than Phd, but its not nothing nor does it mean substandard work will pass.

I admire you attitude to this whole thing... A famous psychologists said that adaptability in the face of change is true marker of intelligence and psychological health. So i take that to mean that things will happen- good and bad, and its how you deal with them and adapt that matters.

there is definitely life beyond academia.I know I had idealised version of academia and now I'm quite disillusioned by it all.