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First Year Review today...really anxious!

I passed the review! It was really hard though...some really tough questions. I definatly overused the word eeeeeehhhhhhhh.... and did have to stop once or twice near the beginning because my mind had went completly blank and I lost my train of thought! luckily they were nice about it, and all's well that end's well!

thanks for the replies telling me not to worry! I do always get worked up about stuff like this!

So now I can continue the phd, and get on with it! ( which would be good except the main thing i need to get on with is stats.....gggrrrrroooooaaaaannnn :-s

First Year Review today...really anxious!

It's my first year review meeting today at 2pm! Have been a bit anxious all weekend, but not too bad, but really feeling it now.

I think it should go fine in terms of passing it, but it's more just the fact that it's gonna be a really stressful meeting. They say it's like a mini viva. I'm not generally good at thinking up answers to hard questions on the spot, and my supervisors have told me they will deliberatly be asking me hard questions! Also worried I don't know the theory side of it well enough and just generally really anxious!

any words of advice/support/encouragement will be very gratefully received.

Ideas anyone?

Have you tried approaching some employment agencies? You can pretty much tell them what hours you want to/don't want to work, and whenever they have something suitable on their books, they'll phone you up, and you can't/don't want to do it at that time, then you don't have to. you can get some really good and well-paying jobs this way.

I did it when I was doing my undergrad degree, and I only wanted to work evenings/weekends just to get a bit of extra money. I managed to get a really good job taking emergency calls for calor gas - it was 3 hours one evening, and 12 hours over the weekend, and it was the best paid job i've ever had - I earned more doing this for a few months than I used to working full time. the agencies are full of people wanting full time 9-5 work, and if you want the hours outwith that, there's often good jobs with great money you can pick up.

Contacting "expert" as you're doubting your sup?

I also think there's no issue in approaching someone else for advice. My phd has two main parts, and my supervisor is an expert in one of them, but does not know the other area of research at all. I'm just at the end of my first year of the phd. I just recently met with an expert at another uni in the other area of research, and it was really helpful - she gave me a lot of advice, and pointed me in a few directions I should look at. I honestly wish I had spoken to someone a lot earlier, because it turns out that side of my phd isn't as good as it could be, and i've got a lot of work to do now to try and rectify that and make the rest of my phd something that will really stand up in that field of research.

I think you can just go ahead and set up a meeting with this person, but I would let your supervisor know that you are going to speak to them, especially as they're in the same dept. Your supervisor shouldn't mind, and will probably be glad that you're taking the initiative to address this part of your phd.

Teaching Query- Advice Required!


I agree with what the others have said, that the film/something to break up the lesson is a really good idea. I think for the break, you just want to give them long enough to go and get a coffee or whatever and come back, as has already been said, it'll take them longer to get back than you give them, so I think saying 10 or 15 minutes is about right.

I wouldn't give out my number, as even with the best of intentions, the students could mis-use it or it could get into the wrong hands. i was recently at a teaching training thing, and one of the techniques they suggested for large lecture theatres might be useful. You can get them to write on a bit of paper any questions/suggestions whatever you want, and then they can place these in a box at the front during the break. this way they can be anonoymous. if you want something more fun, and are a bit braver, they also suggested you could hold up an empty bin or something, and get the students to make their bits of paper into paper planes or scrunch them up, and the ones that they can get to land in the bin are the ones you read! I've not tried this personally, but i've seen it done, and the students tend to enjoy it.

I'd agree though that you don't need to try too hard. Don't push yourself beyond what you feel comfortable with to try and entertain them. But you're doing the right thing in looking for something a little bit different that will engage them, and the fact that you're thinking about these things shows you're gonna be a great lecturer!

Would you do this?

As sneaks says, it's not the easy option, you're still working really hard. Regardless of any other issues, doing a phd is hard work and can drive us all into the ground, so any options they give you that will help to give you more time and take some pressure off, I'd definatly take.

best wishes xx

Presenting in front of supervisors!

It's definatly normal!! I hate doing any presentations as well, but I understand it's just something we've got to do. But if I know my supervisor is coming, it goes up about 100 points on the scary scale!!

But the up side is that it is always ok. whilst it does give you an extra dose of the nerves, It's always worked out fine. Even presentations that i've done that I thought went awful, if he was there, he always says afterwards, that was good, well done. And that tiny little bit of feedback makes it worth it!

good luck, but don't worry, you will be great x

The cat on the stairs

we have 2 cats, and any efforts to control where they sleep have always failed! we've bought all sorts of cat beds, left out towels they like in suitable places, even cat treats to lure them to different parts of the house! but the bottom line i'm afraid is that cats tend to sleep wherever they like! however I would offer some reassurance in that it tends to go in phases, so whilst he may love the stairs at the moment, they'll go out of fashion eventually and he'll go somewhere else.

And I know it is hard to step over a cat on the stairs, but one of my cats runs straight across you as you approach the top of the stairs. You don't even know he's there, and the next thing, you're a split second away from hurtling down the stairs head first. So I know all about the fear you're talking about! i think cat's enjoy it if you ask me, definatly a streak of evil there!!

What makes a good PhD application?

i'm also in another area, but I can tell you what helped the most with my phd application. I think the research proposal has to be good, in that it's well put together/thought out, and it adds something or has something unique to what is already out there. I don't know if your phd application process works the same way, but part of mine was to write a personal statement. And that's were you should write about how committed, motivated, enthusiastic etc you are, and your own strengths. You definatly want to mention any other funding you've got, as that's a key part of academia in any discipline. The last thing I think is worth mentioning is good references. If everything else is equal with another candidate, then these could make the difference. But I think that the funding you got is going to help set you apart, and the main thing to focus on will probably be the research proposal.

When you have an idea for a research proposal, don't be afraid to approach someone who works in that area in academia and ask their opinions and advice, or to ask if they would be interested in potentially supervising your phd. I don't know if it works the same way in your discipline, but in mine, if you have a little bit of time before you want to start your phd, then securing a supervisor first is a great strategy - they will then help with your research proposal, and may open up more sources of funding to apply for than you would have known about by yourself, and generally help you through the process.

hope some of this is helpful for you, good luck!

Office problems..I want to work at home!

sorry, i just seen the 'posted 307 days ago' bit after i sent the reply! so apologies that this is irrelevant now! Minnie, if you're reading this, then I hope everything worked out well for you, and you're now enjoying your phd without this kind of hassle.

Office problems..I want to work at home!

Hi Minnie

I just wanted to say that I'm also ona 1+3 programme, and was in exactly the same situation when i did my MSc. It was a large busy office, and I pretty much just went in when I had to, to many glares and similar sarcastic comments to what you've had! I think there are always phd students who spend almost all their time working in uni, for a variety of reasons, and kind of resent those who don't, or at least don't appreciate that we're working just as hard at home.

the good news is that once you start the phd part, you'll be moved to a different office, which is generally a lot quieter. My office holds 5 people, but there are only two of us in there at the moment. Even when there was 5 of us in there, it was very rare for us all to be in at the same time, and even when in on the same day, we all come and go at different hours. So people don't really keep track anymore when you're in and when you're not but more importantly, it's not something they're really interested in!

and also, there were 3 other students on my MSc who were staying on to do phd's in the department, and we are all in different offices now. one of them i see sometimes as we teach on the same module, but the others I very rarely see. so the bottom line is that I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about what others think of you, you should always work how you want to, and wherever works best for you. Being able to make your own hours and working environment is one of the key benefits of doing a phd, and I wouldn't let that go for anything!

Where to find PhD Thesis online?

don't know if this is helpful, but your supervisor/s will have copies of phd thesis that their past students have done. And they are usually really happy to let you have a look if you ask.

I tend to find thats useful, as different unis, departments, supervisors can have different expectations/standards/preferences. So to see ones that they personally have been happy for their students to submit is really helpful.


I have very similar lists! and i often find myself in the same position, looking at the list, and thinking 'i really don't feel like doing any of those things'.

I find that if you can break the tasks into lots of smaller tasks then it's easier to get through. I'm in the same position at the moment where i'm finding it really hard to get stuff done, but by breaking it down into lots of small tasks, you get through each of the individual bits quicker than you think. For me, focusing on all the little bits individually, makes it easier to focus and get it done than looking at a big task like 'write a chapter' that just seems unmanageable and makes me switch off.

at least that way when you do turn to the tv or computer games, you can still feel like you've achieved something that day!

first bit of work of the day.....at 7.40pm?!

thanks for understanding! over the last few weeks, i have tried the 'doing small tasks' bit, and it does make you feel you've accomplished something that day. but at the same time, i'm good at picking very small tasks that contribute so little to the work i'm trying to clear, that i don't know if it's helpful, or if i'm really just deluding myself!

i'm getting into the same problems as you, by leaving it late to do stuff. i used to be good at that, and i would know that no matter what, when it came down to it, it would get done. but these days, it just doesn't get done! i can always convince myself that i'll be so much better tomorrow and get loads done, but that version of tomorrow never comes!

anyway, guess i'd better just stop mumping about it, and try get something done. You know if someone could create a 'getting your phd done' pill, they'd be multi-billionaires;-)

first bit of work of the day.....at 7.40pm?!

this is me just trying to do my first bit of work for the day, and it's well into the evening. In fact, who am i kidding, if i actually get some work done, it'll really be the first this week.

sorry to moan, but it just seems impossible for me to get anything done at the moment. I've got loads to do, but every time i sit down to do it, my mind just goes blank and fuzzy, and it's the absolute last thing in the universe i want to do. So i do some exercise, or have some lunch, watch a program on the telly, or read a bit of a book, kidding myself on that i'll do the work after that. and before i know it, i've wasted the day, and the works still waiting.

the only reason i'm even trying to work now is because my husband's working late, and there's nothing on the telly. and all the time that i don't get the work done, it just lowers my opinion of myself, which just makes it harder next time i try to work!

I know this is just a bit of a boring moan, but i just wanted to post on here, because i'm sure others will have been through the same thing. and it'd just be good to hear that someone knows what i'm talking about. If i mention it to family of friends, all i'll get is 'it'll be fine'. which it probably will be, i know, but it's driving me nuts at the moment!!

so if anyone has any hints or tips on how to get out of this, or just wants to say 'i'm doing the same', it'll be greatly appreciated!