Overview of overthinker

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You ever feel like you've lost your way?

Hi everyone, thanks in advance.

I'm finding myself in an increasingly uncomfortable situation at my institution. While I've been working on my proposal I have been working (temporarily) in an admin department for the last couple of years. It's been good (if mundane) work and it keeps me more regularly in touch with academic staff members than I was before.

However, my prospective supervisor frequently butts heads with those in my department, creating an awkward working environment sometimes.

Neither my work colleagues or my supervisor ever force me to take sides or do anything to make me uncomfortable, but I am concerned that over time this could lead to an erosion of the (I believe very good) relationship I have with my supervisor.

Does anyone have any other experiences of things like this or know of any ways to deal with it? I think part of the reason this is getting to me is that I almost feel as though my identity as an aspiring academic is being challenged through an "adversarial" relationship between departments and I'm scared I'm losing that part of my identity.

So I guess on a much deeper level, does anyone have any advice on how to keep the academic spark alive when you feel cut off from the academic (research) world itself?

Any advice or stories of your experiences would be great to see and hopefully could help anyone else feeling this way at any stage of PhD application or completion!


P.S (This started as a post about this specific situation but writing it out gave me an epiphany about the deeper issue of academic identity... Thanks for being with me on the journey!)

Self Fund for 1st year or Wait

Thank you again for all the thoughts, I'm still desperately spamming as many organisations as I can so hopefully I can cobble together enough for some kind of living stipend for the 3/4 years.

Out of curiosity on this subject, what are your thoughts on the UK Doctoral Loan scheme?

It seems to be a good help if you can use it with donations from charities. I know that it can't be combined with research council funding but I they seem to say that charity and private funding sources are allowed.

Self Fund for 1st year or Wait

One option was a studentship from my institution for which I been through the necessary interviews etc. That funding pot was pulled in its entirety leaving me and a few other candidates who had been accepted out in the cold.

The second time was a charity which initially offered funding, but later retracted it citing budget issues, they are still going to provide support through aid with recruitment and dissemination of results though so I don't think that it's lack of faith in the project (or at least I can't see why they would still offer other support if they didn't have faith in it)

Self Fund for 1st year or Wait

Thank you for the replies everyone, it's great to see the different perspectives on offer.

I think part of the problem for me is that my project has been stalling for a few years now, with previous funding attempts having been withdrawn at the last second due to circumstances out of my control. It's left me feeling frustrated and anxious to just start, though I know that's ultimately an unwise decision.

The most frustrating part of this though is that many of the research funding options I have been recommended from tutors in the past have closed their applications for 2020, meaning another wasted year before I can start.

I am still searching for as many sources of funding as I can, and will continue to do so throughout the year, I suppose the plan given before is more of a last ditch effort so that I can be sure that I can at least start this process.

Again, thank you for your support, everyone talks about the stresses of study, but rarely have I heard of the stress of actually getting started in the first place!

Self Fund for 1st year or Wait

Hello everyone!

I'm hoping that with more experienced PhD's here you may be able to help me out, as it's virtually impossible to get a broad range of information on application advice.

I'm based in the UK and have a project ready to go in psychology, I have two senior academics who are willing to supervise and I'm passionate about the project itself. I believe that when finished it should allow me to pursue work in industry or academia (though I'm aware of stats around getting into the academic field).

The issue, of course, is funding.

I'm in the lucky and privileged position of having saved up enough money to cover tuition fees myself, and may even be able to self-fund my maintenance (just) with support from my family, my own savings, and the UK government loan. While I will continue to look for funding opportunities, I know that most have already passed for student intake in September which would push the project back another year. I've wanted to complete my doctorate for the vast majority of my life, and I find myself desperate to start a project now that I'm so close. But I'm aware that this may not be the best move in the long run.

Essentially, my worries boil down to two key areas:

Financial strain for the 1st year (and possibly future years) without funding.

Stigma against being self-funded when the course is complete and how this may impact future prospects.

I would plan to spend the first year applying to funding bodies to ensure the security of the rest of the project, but I also know my planned institution offers teaching work to doctoral students from their 2nd year onwards. Both of these factors may mean that the 1st year is the biggest pain point. That and the possible stigma issue.

Sorry for such a long rant! If anyone has any advice for this naive hopeful researcher it would be gratefully received!

Thank you!