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Writing awful Discussion draft with three weeks till submission

Lying through your teeth: that's science, eh? Don't worry, I feel the same! xx

Writing awful Discussion draft with three weeks till submission

yes, and even then only to non-academic friends under cover in the dead of night

What did you do right at the very end?

I've 2.5 weeks to go, am juggling it with a part-time job and have to:

* re-draft the conclusion
* improve the methods sections of two chapters
* do some more trivial corrections to the intro
* dump separate chapters into a handy pre-formatted thesis template

* get it bound, etc.

So we're probably in a similar position!

PhD vs job opportunity

I say take the job. For all the reasons people have already given. Academia is a very insecure path with few opportunities. Whereas to have high-level real-world experience, plus a PhD in the long run, is the smart way to go.

Writing awful Discussion draft with three weeks till submission

ha ha... sorry for the hiatus in replying. am juggling phd with job and that's mayhem atm too.

whether to be completely honest... well, I haven't actually said that the theoretical framework is nonsense. That's what I actually think these days, but I don't want to make my sup or examiners feel horrible.

So I have just said that there's no evidence for the hypotheses... so you are right, Eds, I'm not being entirely honest!

Writing awful Discussion draft with three weeks till submission

So yesterday and today have been about drafting the main discussion of the entire thesis. There's not much in there which isn't a repetition of the discussions in the data chapters, alas.

The most enjoyable and productive part to write was where I state that there's no evidence for my hypotheses and then I bang on about what I think is really going on. It's like I'm finally able to say in code after living a lie for 4 years, "This whole project was ill-conceived, my theoretical framework is nonsense, and now I can say what I really think". The other slightly exciting part of the Discussion was just now, talking about how dodgy my controls were, but then how dodgy other researchers' controls have been, and how it's bloody hard to make good controls.

So most of my Discussion is like dry toast, dissecting minutiae of the results. But the exciting bits are where I vent my rage at the project!

Don't worry, I'll spend a few paragraphs at the end saying I've made a contribution to my (frankly bizarre) sub-discipline. I think I have contributed to them, it's just that 4 years on, I realise it was like joining a very strange cult.

For all those near submission, this is an amusing post related to the emotional detachment required to get to the very end:

Quit PhD

Yes, I agree. You need extra support for how you are feeling. Make that a priority over the next few days: to get some help for how you feel.

Then you can decide how to proceed.


submission end of September: looking forward to this hell ending

Cheers Chickpea and Tulip (Does that sound like the name of a pub? the Chickpea and Tulip).

Yes, I'm not really suited to academic research as I think I'm more of a generalist than a specialist. I like thinking laterally between different areas and mediating between them, not staying in one area. I also prefer much shorter projects. I once did a sort of work skills battery which corroborated this about me. So doing the PhD for me was like being trapped down a deep well.

Caro - I think submitting it on time is a really good idea even if it's slightly ropey. I spoke to someone months ago who said she'd submitted hers at a point when she still thought it was quite dodgy, but she just wanted to be done with it. Anyway, she ended up emerging with minor corrections just like everyone else in her cohort, including those who had submitted something near-perfect. I also know someone who got major corrections despite good work simply because he had examiners who didn't understand his theoretical framework. As ever, I think the best line of attack is to decide which chunks you will do each day, so as not to get overwhelmed.

My friend who got her PhD 10 years ago said that in the final months her mantra was "Dumb, but Done" whenever she was worried about quality.

I probably will be posting on here intermittently so as not to get lonely over the next few weeks. So speak soon, Caro and Tulip and anyone else.


submission end of September: looking forward to this hell ending

Thanks Bilbo and DocInsanity.

In all honesty I am not that bothered about getting an academic position.

By a lucky twist of fate I have wound up at a school of public health, not because my background is actually in this, but because of my research topic and my supervisor's career trajectory. What this actually means is that there are often bits and bobs of short-term research and teaching work, which are enough to pay the rent for the time being.

In the medium-long term I plan to return to the outside world again, where I worked before, as I think I'm better suited to it than to academia. A whole bunch of organisations need research skills.

The depression and anxiety have been awful, but I think I'm through the worst of it. I did get counselling and therapy. I went to the GP but I didn't like the drug side effects. There are multiple reasons why the worst of the mental health problems have abated, but I also recognise the need to keep my eye on it.

I really empathise with anyone blighted by mental health problems during their PhD: if only people would talk about them more honestly. I think it is a sector where people often only value themselves for their achievements, and frankly a human being is bigger, more complex and more wonderful than just those.

Too late to prepare for viva (tomorrow)

Hope it went ok!

submission end of September: looking forward to this hell ending

Thanks so much, Chococake. What stage are you at?

Actually Cherub in terms of content it sounds like we have a similar amount to do, though I need to get mine done sooner!

Just want to say to everyone that I have been the worst PhD student ever. I'm submitting a year after my funding ran out (although still within the funders' deadline, just); I was plagued by anxiety and unprecedented depression throughout; and I agonised over every research decision I made, sometimes for weeks at a time.

So if even I'm getting near the finish line, anyone can do it!

submission end of September: looking forward to this hell ending

Hello all
I'm submitting end of September.

Still have to write my intro (most of which I hope to copy and paste from my upgrade document); write my discussion (that will be serious stream of consciousness); revise two of the three content chapters; and do all the nasty formatting.

I'm also working three days a week, so can only devote three days a week to the PhD completion.

I have almost entirely hated the PhD process. In the whole four years I have enjoyed about three hours of it. I have allowed it to turn me into a complete arsehole.

Never mind - it is nearly over.

Wondered who else was out there submitting very soon. Especially keen to communicate with those who still feel they have a sh*tload to do. We can make it!


teaching prep - what to charge?

Thanks both - I'm finding nothing on the uni website about prep time rates. The individual I've been put in touch with did explicitly say she'd happily pay for prep time as well... but no idea how many hours she has in mind. I am now asking the chap I covered for in the first place what a reasonable request is.

I should count myself lucky that I am being offered some pay for prep time at least, because it sounds like a lot of others don't get this.

teaching prep - what to charge?

I'm a second year PhD student. Recently I did some hourly paid teaching of undergraduates at one of my old universities to cover a couple of lectures and seminars for my old tutor who has taken up a new job at short notice.
I know the hourly rate the university pays for teaching face-to-face time. But they also say they're willing to pay for some prep time as well. Thing is, I don't know how much prep time to claim for.

Because it was my first time teaching at university level, I took a really long time to prepare for each lecture and seminar. Total lecture and seminar time on each occasion was 3 hours in all, yet to prepare for both altogether I took probably 1.5 or 2 days. This is absurdly long, especially as with the lecture I already had the skeleton from someone else's slides. But when I start something I get a bit too thorough. So given that I'm not going to claim for 12 or more hours' prep time for 3 hours' face time, how much prep time to charge for?

My friend who works for another university says that they pay for 2 hours' prep for each hour teaching.

What do others think?


classic flatshare dilemma

Yeah, I think an adult conversation is the right thing. Because although I am single and bitter, it IS also true that this has been a bit much. If I extrapolate a line on a graph... he's here 3 days weekly after one month of the relationship... that means in only 6 more weeks he'll have moved in! And it hasn't been negotiated.

But this friendship is really important to me, so the whole thing needs to be done with grace.

I'm nearly 39. Probably too old for flatshares, but doing a PhD makes me too poor to live alone... I will chat with her tomorrow.