Signup date: 08 Jan 2016 at 12:02am
Last login: 25 Nov 2020 at 7:15pm
Post count: 1245
English is my first language and I have no problems when it comes to writing. Most native speakers however will still struggle to write academic text.
It must be a complete nightmare having to write in English when it is your second language.
I've noticed that one of the major giveaways that someone is not a native English speaker is their use of the words 'a' or 'the'. Learning the basic syntax of English is hard enough but learning how to use those two words can be baffling unless you've grown up with it. It's rare to find a native speaker who would struggle with them though.
Every phd student is different I suppose. My supervisor is very hands off but is there if I ever need him. Occassionally he wil get in touch if he hasnt heard from me for a while. I see him no more than once every 2 months or so. For me, this is perfect. I see this as my phd, my research and my responsibility entirely. At the end if this process next year I am expected to be an independent researcher and so I act like that on a daily basis. It has made the phd much much harder than it could have been but I gain from that in terms of independence and resilience although the latter has caused me no end of sleepless nights.
When I finish a piece of work, I write up for publication myself and I never expect my supervisor to do anything more than a cursory check because I assume it is my responsibility to get the paper correct and to face the reviewers on my own. I would not want to do this any other way. He always does read my papers and gives decent feedback but I don't expect it and I certainly don't depend on it. If I fail, I fail. In my opinion this is what a phd is all about. Come thesis submission time, I will send him a draft and ask for comments but again I don't expect him to read it in detail - this is my work not his.
I don't wish to be critical of anyone who wants to have a different way of working.We all work differently. This however is my experience and I am going to sorely miss the intensity of it when I finish up early next year.
My approach is to write up the theoretical background chapter as I go. The other chapters will then be taken directly from published articles at the end and I don't expect that to take more than a month. It's likely I will take a month out with 3 months to go to complete the thesis. If I have any residual time left I can go back to my research. I work in Theoretical Chemistry so this approach may not work for everyone.
As a science phd student, I generally don't attempt to keep up at all. There isn't time at this stage of my career. I like to work on an idea, performing the literature search at the start of the job. I then don't tend to look at the literature again until it's time to publish. I then start the whole process over again.
This is a terrible situation to be in and I hope you can resolve it. I know it is very common for students to be encouraged to talk about their work but I would never discuss anything in detail that I had not already published. At this stage, the consequences are potentially devastating if your ideas are stolen. It seems the currency of academia is ideas. From these ideas, funding flows and the whole process is cutthroat. This provides a breeding ground for the sort of ruthlessness you have witnessed. Academia SHOULD be collegiate but the process doesn't seem to allow for it. Good luck.
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