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Pjlu
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 at 8:10pm
Monday, 29 January 2018 at 7:37pm
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Thread: mature student- full time job

posted
25-Dec-09, 20:36
edited about 10 seconds later
by Pjlu
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posted about 10 years ago
Hi Bluebell,

I am completing my Master's thesis over the next 6 months, while working full-time, in order to do exactly what you are doing- a Phd while working full-time. So I too would be really interested to hear from others who have done or are on the same pathway. I am also a mature student (46 years) and have had to wait years to do this-something I have wanted to do for a long time.

What scares me is the length of time it might take- I can envision another three to four years of the work-study combination but if it goes into 6 or 7 (and realistically given the scope of a Phd project or study-it might!), I just wonder whether I am crazy. Afterall, I am no longer doing this to become an academic-teach full-time at a Uni. I am currently in Education and have a fairly responsible position as a curriculum coordinator. I would study in an area fairly connected to my current work.

Part of me thinks I am mad and yet, the thing is...about a couple of months ago...going through all of the 'pros and cons' of the whole thing and thinking that my colleagues in my workplace would be supportive but probably privately think I'm nuts....a little voice in my head said 'so what? You are doing this for you...not to impress any academics or colleagues...it is to extend your own understanding and perhaps to make a really good contribution to your own area...it doesn't have to be the best thing out...just something really good. And who cares if it takes 7 years and you are that much older...if you want consultative work or part-time circuit work and mentoring later-it would be really useful'. So this voice seemed pretty reasonable to me.

But I do wonder about time and whether I will manage both and still have some life.

Love to hear from others on the journey as well and good luck and good for you Bluebell.

Thread: An MRes or nothing! What do you think of this?

posted
23-Dec-09, 21:21
by Pjlu
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posted about 10 years ago
Hi Hydi,

I am a person who generally has always had a reasonably high energy level but over the last few years, this has certainly been tested. The answer is-I just set goals for myself and work out the steps to achieve them. I set big goals and then sub goals that all link up to the bigger goals. While I am often told I have really "impeccable timing" at work, actually what I find is I always take longer to achieve my goals than I had planned. So from the perspective of others it looks good but internally I know that I usually have to add about 1/3 length of time to any goal or plan to reach it...if that makes sense.

The other thing is that I am doing a Masters thesis not a Phd, so of course this is a much smaller project to manage overall and I am doing it in an area that really relates to my work and something that is based on a problem I have noticed occurring for a while. I have also chosen qualitative research methods, I love writing, story and narrative and my original degree has helped me with learning how to use case study and ethnography...so these are the methods I am using to 'test' my hunch (or hypothesis-based on 10 years or more of on the job observation). My project won't break any fantastically new ground but will shed some light and clarify some tricky areas that tend to be overlooked by the bigger names and fish. Finally, I have always wanted to complete Phd, and like many others here, including yourself, have been encouraged to go down this road by many academics. But, I do have to do the Masters thesis to qualify for a Phd, as after completing original degree and Grad Dips and other workplace qualifications, needed to show that I could manage an independent project on my own. (Rules in Australian Unis are that you do an extra honours year or a Masters with research before Phd- I could not afford to do the extra honours year as my children were then just becoming teenagers and I had to get a decent job to pay for all of the things that they needed for their education,health and lives. So I did that and just waited until now, when I had a bit more time and they had pretty much become independent and left home or are about too...

That being said...it is still hard and I live for my holidays. I had to take some LS leave to get a couple of months writing space for the thesis...so was terribly disappointed when the committee (and disorganised supervisor) took so much time over ethics application but on the other hand, I have completed about half of thesis-the writing is clear and only will need some revision, I am now set to conduct case studies, interviews and analysis and will get a few weeks more leave in May to complete the thing though the data collection is going to take up my spare weekends in the meantime. So it is all good really...but it does take discipline and there are days when I drag myself around...or feel as if I do. The prize at the end...a really good project and result I hope and the invitation to take up a doctorate...but this will be definitely part-time- I have to work to support myself, pay mortgage and to help out my children...that is a given.

The other thing is Hydi, supervisors are really busy and while it would be nice if they supported us, they don't always have the time, sometimes they just aren't particularly supportive people or they are just too busy to notice...it isn't personal. Last time my supervisor rang (I study long distance and mainly telephone conference and email for support), my daughter was listening to my side of the phone call and said I sounded like I was the one counselling and supporting her...she was quite distressed about things happening at the Uni and her own workload...so there you go...it isn't a perfect world but you really have to make things happen for yourself...anyway, I had better stop going on and on and actually go out and get some seafood and fresh vegetables from the Farmers Mart...cheers Hydi and look after yourse

Thread: An MRes or nothing! What do you think of this?

posted
22-Dec-09, 23:52
by Pjlu
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 10 years ago
Hi Hydi,

You know there are lots of types of Christmasses- and many types of friends and family. Online communities count as well... just think of it as having an alternative Christmas. I am a sole parent (still not terribly old-but had my three fairly young so they are fully grown now) and they are with partners and either working or interstate or popping in and out over Christmas.

I have just (well four and a half weeks ago) requested my (non-live in-meaning we didn't live together) partner of 13 years an ultimatum of friendship only and cancel the benefits or NOTHING- he chose nothing...so presumably he only cared for the "benefits" and 13 years of friendship and support have gone...my ethics review has just finally been accepted with minor amendment-only after having sat in 'committeeland' since SEPTEMBER!!!- now my work leave is almost over and I still have to collect all my data and work fulltime- supervisor is nice but completely disorganised!!, never replies or returns stuff on time- and I am so not in control of this part of my study-makes me sick really but such is life!! (As you can see, I would be nowhere without the exclamation mark).

However, I DON"T CARE! I am cooking a kickarse meal Christmas day. Kids will drop in at various times and consume parts of it...my ex is either sulking alone like a hermit, or with his bossy family...good riddance I say. My own either toxic or absent family -meaning siblings and ex stepparent-or exhubby's (marriage from kids ended long long ago)inlaws are spread around the country or the globe and sort of in touch but don't really get my situation and think because I am upbeat and always cope, that they never need to support me but just seek me out when they need it or feel the need.
Ancient dog had to be put down two weeks ago but a mercy really-she was 15 years plus and had advanced liver cancer.

However, I have a full time and responsible job, kids who love me even as they really follow their own young lives-as they should- I am still relatively young and fit and buying a house and will complete this *%$#!! thesis in 2010 no matter what and Hydi, on Christmas day, I am cooking fit to bust, drinking some really nice wine, watching tons of funny DVDS, keeping in touch on line with communities and decent family members and enjoying my cats company.

PATHETIC- if so I don't care...I am going to enjoy myself and share some festivity around....don't let it get you down Hydi- you and only you should be in charge of your self-esteem. You are smart-you would not be a post grad if you weren't and you will get through this and laugh on the other side....

Merry Christmas and look after yourself

Thread: An MRes or nothing! What do you think of this?

posted
22-Dec-09, 20:24
edited about 7 seconds later
by Pjlu
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 10 years ago
Hi Hydi,

Look I am not doing a PHD but Masters thesis instead, so not sure if I am qualified to respond. However, your post sounds like you have been placed in a pretty horrible situation. so big commiserations with this.

Can I make a couple of suggestions...give yourself a little bit of time-whatever you do-don't decide to throw it in during a moment when you feel really upset or depressed...never a good time to make a decision- try also to take any Christmas-New Year, relatives and friends hype and emotion out of it. (The time of year, tends to make us make more emotional decisions and heightens any anxiety. So take a few days off and try to relax-hard I know-but a bit of alcohol and food and friends might assist here!

My advice (meaning what I genuinely think that I would do if in your situation)...after a few days, I would approach HS, early in the New Year accept the MRes offer(assuming this means that you do get another supervisor not the [email protected]#$ -fantastic !!-foursome that you have had so far), and bury your head in the study after your brief hiatus and get that MRes. You deserve something from all of this academic hullaballoo. After all an MRes gives you a higher degree and says that you have achieved quite a bit after your two years of higher ed shennanigans. Just walking might end the pain but leaves you with nada- or nothing tangible at least. Look on it as a life lesson...I know that it all seems really toxic at present but completing your present project-even if not at the very highest level, gives you a respectable qualification that outlines what you have been doing for the last two years. might give you a journal article to publish, lets you complete this particular cycle of your life and will give you your self-respect back. Something that I don't think just walking and leaving it all behind will...

Then once you have the qual...find work and consider all of your future study options and goals...did they all revolve only around the PHD? (Just asking this not judging or anything...)
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