Overview of Pjlu

Overview

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Pjlu 4 star member
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 at 8:10pm
Sunday, 19 November 2017 at 2:49am
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page 1 of 53 recent posts

Thread: Handling toxic lab environment

posted
19-Nov-17, 03:04
edited about 3 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 day ago
Iwan, is the professor of the lab the only person you can discuss this with? Does your university provide any other forms of support such as counselling, or a student advisor or perhaps a postgraduate representative or association?

Would there be other postgraduates or staff from Malay or Indian cultures in the faculty who you could talk to (even if they are not in your lab)? And the other person who is leaving-do they or are they able to provide any advice or support while they are present?

It reads like a really difficult situation, and I think PM133and Tru have provided some advice worth considering. Generally unfriendliness, harassment, discrimination and bullying is about the other person/people's issues. And people can be mean, discriminatory and band together just because it is just primary social behaviour in many cases. We think and hope this behaviour ends with school and adolescent years but sadly, often not.

Your particular case sounds very specific and difficult and I hesitate to offer any advice as I am not sure I have any worth passing on.

My personal plan would be to seek to establish some supportive relationships with others (perhaps beyond the lab) where possible and to use cognitive behavioural strategies or professional counselling support to help myself work through the difficult behaviour of those in the lab. I would also rely on processes-following lab processes correctly and just having a plan to get myself through until the end of my time. If there were opportunities to leave, I would but only if they were reasonable opportunities that fitted within my plan.

With your last example, where you asked about the co2 tank and were not aware that you were expected to replace it. It sounds hurtful and also such a little thing for you to feel upset with yourself about. So what! So you didn't know...we all-each and every one of us make mistakes and errors every day. We are human.It is okay. If others get upset about that, well that is really their problem. I hope you don't think badly about yourself for this.

Thread: No word from my supervisor?

posted
19-Nov-17, 01:27
edited about 46 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 day ago
Hi Amaryllis, your tutor may not have received the reports yet. Or they may have only just received them and haven't had the opportunity to comment. Furthermore some tutors may not believe a personal response in addition to the formal reports/results are warranted, while others might. The other thing is that the other people (in your course) whom you speak of, may just have examiners who are more timely with their marking and feedback (for any number of reasons).

I don't think your lack of response from your tutor would be because your tutor doesn't believe that your work is not worth it. Just hang in there for the duration (it is a tough wait) and best wishes for a sound result! :)

Thread: Can your referee be the same supervisor you're applying to?

posted
18-Nov-17, 19:14
edited about 1 minute later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 day ago
Yes, I would think so as well Arnoldtan.

Tudor, my post was not critical of your point so much as pointing out how this is dealt with in the institutions and systems I have worked in. It has been less of an issue than I initially would have thought when I first started helping out on interview panels (in the world of secondary Colleges and school systems) some years ago. The other thing I would add though, is that you can agree to be a referee and not expect to be on a panel, and then be asked afterwards when someone else has pulled out for some reason. However, it has not been an issue even then.

Best of luck with your application and the process A.

Thread: Can your referee be the same supervisor you're applying to?

posted
17-Nov-17, 21:46
edited about 1 minute later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 days ago
In real life it can vary as well. Sometimes it will be unavoidable because you work in an institution and system and are applying for a position within the same institution or system. Also at times selection and interview panels are convened after the position has been advertised and you can find that you agreed to act as a referee for a person and then you have been placed on the selection and/or interview panel.

My working experience has been that you just state your position re being one of the candidate's referee's at the outset before the selection or interview to the panel chair and the panel chair generally allows it.

The final decision is made by the panel rather than an individual so this acts against any bias or nepotism. Usually reference checking might include more than one referee and if you are on the panel and happen to be one of the referees listed for the candidate, other than the panel members asking you briefly about the candidate after the interview, someone goes on and contacts another referee on the list to check.

Thread: PhD offer

posted
10-Nov-17, 21:35
edited about 16 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
Congratulations on your offer of position, NIge. Best wishes for the journey :)

Thread: PhDs are expected to know everything. How to deal with this?

posted
07-Nov-17, 20:05
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
Try not to let it bother you and laugh it off, would be my advice. Don't tell everyone if you are worried. I often said 'completing a study' and people assumed I was doing a Masters or just didn't know enough to ask any more anyway.

Many or most people outside the world of PhDs and academia really don't understand what they are or what they involve and there are many myths about doctoral studies and doctorates. Your colleagues are probably just teasing rather than bullying and a lot of it would be 'tongue in cheek', eg-not meant personally but as a light joke. The other end of things is when people believe your PhD means that you are someone with your head 'in the clouds', who has no understanding of the practical or professional world. This myth is common for those of us who complete a PhD but continue to work in a form of professional work such as teaching (schools) or similar. It can also be common in Australia where advanced education can be perceived as elitist, which is not always celebrated in our strongly 'egalitarian' country (beyond the academy or the science lab).

What is more important is what you believe and the genuine support you get from friends or families who love you and support your growth and achievement (even if they don't always understand it very well).

Thread: Hotdesking and laptops

posted
06-Nov-17, 20:38
edited about 34 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
This practice is also becoming very common in the workplace as well. There are mixed reactions to this-some love it-others are distressed by not having a specific space and the change in practice. Having a lighter laptop definitely helps when you are basically carrying around your work station around with you.

I know this won't be cheerful news but it is likely to become more common rather than less. Happening at universities, happening in schools and libraries and also in many workplaces, where sharing facilities and space are on the increase. And when new buildings and refurbishments are occurring, hot spotting and community spaces are being installed.

Thread: paper request

posted
06-Nov-17, 19:40
edited about 18 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
I have access to this Emmaki. I will pm you.

Thread: Include Acknowledgements or Not?

posted
02-Nov-17, 19:43
edited about 1 minute later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Just include them in a general acknowledgement to university staff perhaps. So for example you might write....I am extremely grateful to Dr Blank and Associate Professor blank who provided much support, expert guidance in their supervision of my study and in the writing of the thesis (or whatever). I would also like to thank staff in the faculty of blah for their assistance with the study and owe a special debt to the amazing research librarians, who blah and blah.

Your former supervisor who you did not find particularly helpful or supportive is included in the 'staff in the faculty of' bit... not the specific mention. This is a very bland example and is not taken from my own page-but is just showing how in the general acknowledgement you are not omitting your former supervisor-you are acknowledging them in a general statement to faculty staff or something similar.

Unfortunate that they appear to be blanking you both PhdPanic and Tudor. Perhaps they feel pretty awkward about it as well. I know this might not be a popular statement to make but I would think that often a change of supervisors (when it isn't because someone is leaving or has another position elsewhere) could be viewed or perceived as a failure rather like when a complaint is made at work about one by some one else. It can be hard for both parties concerned-not only the person who has made the change. Sometimes it is unavoidable though, so hopefully in time everyone will resolve matters (at least within their own internal narrative of the situation, even if not with the other person) and will eventually move on. Best wishes, P.

Thread: Include Acknowledgements or Not?

posted
01-Nov-17, 18:47
edited about 14 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Personally, my preference would be to complete an acknowledgements, PhDPanic, and I would include all those who had an input into the PhD. For me, it is very similar to the workplace acknowledgements, where you do make a point of acknowledging and thanking everyone in the team, or who has had a role in a project, even though some would receive very specific thanks for significant roles and others may receive a brief general thank you for their work, support or their input (However, limited this might be). Unless your former supervisor was an active sabateur of your project, who had no input whatsoever and caused only harm and angst (not common) then their contribution has assisted you in generating your project and deserves some formal acknowledgement, in my opinion.

Thread: PhD or return to employment - need help in working through thought process

posted
01-Nov-17, 10:35
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Thanks Tudor :)

Thread: PhD or return to employment - need help in working through thought process

posted
01-Nov-17, 07:11
edited about 20 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From marigold:
Thanks a lot for your very sage advice Pjlu. You have clear insight where I have none! I think I will, for now, continue with the PhD - unless I fail the next end-of year review and the decision to leave is made for me -whilst keeping my ear to the ground re. jobs. During this period, my motivation to continue will either grow or diminish....and there will be my answer. Thanks. And huge congrats on your PhD achievement. Part time whilst working....hey, you definitely did it the tough way:)


Thanks Marigold. That is a really nice thing to say. I am still waiting on examiner's reports and these will involve corrections, of that I have no doubt, but fingers crossed they are only minor. I think that you have a great deal of insight. However given your situation, there are many competing issues swirling around and when you are in the middle of them, it can be hard to determine priorities. Best wishes, P.

Thread: How long did you wait after R&R/Major Corrections?

posted
01-Nov-17, 06:21
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Congratulations! Must be a big relief. Well done on achieving your PhD and completing the process of corrections and waiting. Hope you have a great celebration. Btw, did you manage to get in time for the graduation or do you have to go into the next round?

Thread: Getting started tips?

posted
30-Oct-17, 11:45
edited about 3 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
When I first put my proposal in, it was based on an extension of my Master's thesis. After about 2 months of vague reading, I realised I had 'finished' with my Masters thesis, even if there were potentially a few fields to mine yet. I went back into my supervisor (we had meetings every 8 weeks-was part time student) on my second meeting, so it was two months or so since I had first met her and begun the thing and said, "I don't think I can bear to do the topic I proposed but I am really interested in this other area instead-what do you think?". We had a conversation and she asked a couple of questions and then suddenly it was there-the broad question and we both went "oh, that's it" and that broad question, that came out of a rambling conversation, after reading about other matters entirely (but still in the same general area) became the basis of the now completed thesis.

While parts of the thesis journey are very much a logical or empirical process, especially the methods, other parts seem to just come after a great deal of reading, thinking and sort of following vague hunches. Small chunks definitely help you progress and also to manage the anxiety of not seeming to do a lot at times and so do lists that you tick off-provided you actually do follow them.

The thesis seems to work in peaks and troughs...sometimes you are just working round the clock and other times drifting along seemingly doing very little and getting frustrated with yourself, your supervisors and the whole process. I think quite a few of us go through this process; its not unusual. It can be a real pig to go through though ( apologies to all members of the pig species out there-just a figure of speech-pigs are awesome animals and so too is the Phd).

Thread: PhD or return to employment - need help in working through thought process

posted
29-Oct-17, 11:42
edited about 2 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 3 weeks ago
Marigold, even though you might not want an academic career, would completing the PhD give you further opportunities and experience in the lab? Is it really an either/or situation? You sounded like you were passionate about learning about this particular topic and skill and knowledge set when describing it in your post.

I understand really well that having an income and a relatively stable home is important though and how one's age can have an impact on your life choices as well.

If working on this PhD for the next 3 years will jeopardise your chances of security with no definite outcome or reward, then walking away now might be appropriate. If though, the three years are unlikely to place future lab work at risk and the study currently provides you with a regular (albeit modest) income and further research experience and opportunities, completing it might be worthwhile. Not everyone works 24/7 on their PhD when a full time student. Many full time candidates work weeks that are more in line with a 40-50 hour working week and regularly take time out on weekends and some evenings.

I have almost completed my PhD, just waiting on reports (and what corrections are recommended). I completed it part time while working and it was tough. My age now is a little older than you will be on completion. I do not think that I will now have an academic career from my doctorate. However, I do think that it will enhance my capacity, experiences and expertise in the work I do do. So I am glad I have pretty much completed it now-though there were many moments when I wanted to walk away.

It's a complex decision you are making with no real right or wrong answer, so it's understandable why making a decision is so difficult and circular in process. Why don't you stay with the PhD at least while you apply for industry jobs. If you get a job that appeals and you really want to take it, then you will know what it is you want.
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