Signup date: 27 Apr 2014 at 7:08pm
Last login: 27 Aug 2017 at 6:00pm
Post count: 28
So I am incredibly lucky and I have secured a post doc that starts next month. It is only a 5 month position but I have something for when my PhD funding runs out and I am incredibly grateful.
That means, I need to have my thesis ready for submission. It is nearly done. But I find myself constantly procrastinating over the last few bits. I really don't want to finish it. I'm not ready for it to be over.
Has anyone else go through this? And any tips for actually getting it done or at least feeling better about it being over?
There are 3 PhD students in my lab and we have all had issues with mental health over the past year. I agree that the PhD wasn't necessarily the direct cause but it was a massive contributing factor. When there was a lot of pressure coming from my PhD I was coping but the moment something went wrong in my home life as well everything fell to bits. I think a big part of it is the never switching off. I'm always looking for or reading papers, writing up chapters or planning my next experiment. And then there is the unspoken expectations that PhD students should spend all there time working, it creates a lot of pressure overall.
My 1 bed flat was only £67,950 (I live in the North East so house prices are much cheaper) but I did still need a 20% deposit and I was fortunate in that I came into some inheritance at the right time. My mortgage is about £260 a month and my stipend is £15000 a year tax free so it works out rather well.
It is silly now that thet don't accept stipends as an income for mortgages. While it is only temporary I'm far less likely to get made redunant at short notice and my mortgage is still affordable even if I have to work for minimum wage after my PhD.
I was very lucky in getting my mortgage last year, but they changed the rules just after that so a PhD stipend doesn't count as a wage. If your partner works then you may be able to get a mortgage together but you would count as a dependant and the amount you can borrow would be affected.
I am 6 months into my PhD but it is a continuation of my master's so I've been with the same supervisor and project for about 18months. Overall I have to say I really enjoy it, having a good supervisor really helps but I love research and in doing that I am happy. It can be stressful at times but I am reasonably strict about the work life balance so I don't do much if any research on weekends which helps a lot. You do have to be passionate and self motivated and if you are unsure if it is for you then consider careers outside academia or possibly do a year's research master's. But for me it's the best thing I have ever done and I don't regret it in the slightest. My whole department is really great and if my supervisor isn't around there are other academics or postgrads I can talk to so there is a really good support network and a nice sociable atmosphere making me feel really comfortable working there. Good luck with your decision and I hope what I said helps.
For me it is a bit of both, I describe it as doing exactly as much as I need to do. No more, no less. Sometimes this requires me to work long days and weekends but most of the time its 9-5 ish or making up for long lunches lol. I've mostly got the right balance and my supervisors are happy with how my work is progressing. The only thing I struggle with the keeping on top of the literature. My research is lab based so if I have a busy week in the lab I get little to no reading done but when things slow down again I start to catch up.
You could look at funded PhDs, some scholarships are open to worldwide applications. This would provide a stipend and tuition fee waver. Regarding qualifications, a masters may be considered important mainly because of the research experience it provides, if you have this experience from another source (such as industry) then you may not need masters but it is always good to talk to the institution if you are unsure.
For a PhD in the UK you ideally need a masters, while they don't ask for it as a requirement it is unlikely that you will a PhD without one unless you are self-funding. In your area of research are you going to be lab based or can you work from home at all (this would cut down on the commuting costs). If you are struggling for money you can work around a masters but it is really difficult or you could consider a part time masters and work along side. You could look in to a career development loan which doesn't require any repayments until 1 month after your course finished, but these tend to take at least 12 weeks to come through. I ended up taking out a student overdraft from TSB, this was for £2000 and was interest free and this gave me a cusion so that I didn't have to work as many hours.
Hope this helps.
I don't know if you necessarily need to have viva'd before starting a post-doc (unless the ones you are applying for specifically ask for it), we took on a post-doc this year on a 6 month contract and she is still writing up her thesis so my advice would be to apply anyway.
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