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Postdoc responsibilities
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The academic world can be surprisingly small especially if the two universities are close. I would tell your supervisor so that they don't hear about through other people. What happens if the second uni lists you on their website and your supervisor finds out via a google search? If you have already talked with your supervisor about teaching and career prospects, they will probably be understanding of why you are doing it. There should be no conflict of interest but it is respectful to tell them

State of the forum
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Thanks for replying Bob86! I really appreciate it.

Congratulations on submitting! That must be such a relief, what does freedom feel like?

I am doing well, just plenty of lab work and I am putting of writing a paper. My supervisor is doing her usual lack of feedback routine, sent her a draft of a paper and they restructured it instead of commenting on the text. Granted it is a far better structure it is just frustrating that my supervisor seems incapable of giving feedback. Apart from that my PhD is ticking a long through 4th year.

Switching PhD. Should I stay or should I go?
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Hi Fridamore,

I can understand your frustration somewhat. I did my undergrad and masters in Chemical Engineering, my PhD topic is effectively Chemical engineering but I am in the Mechanical Engineering department. My main supervisor has a PhD in product design despite researching bioenergy and my second supervisor did a PhD in Chemical Engineering but is a now a reader in healthcare science. So your PhD department doesn't affect your academic career if you are good enough.

I don't want to be rude but do you want to define yourself on your department or your own research? Because if your research is good you can always say that "you have a PhD on topic X", and avoid having to say what department you are from, that is my plan at least. I have also changed my title so that it is both vague and sounds like a chemical engineering project. Also despite not being in a Chemical Engineering department it hasn't stopped me using a lot of the transferrable skills and doing a near pure Chemical Engineering project. So even if you are in the Arts department you can still do a Law PhD in all but name, gain the same skills as a Law PhD student and carry on as normal. The only question then is; is your department more important to you than your PhD topic.

Although saying all that, if you don't feel comfortable, don't force yourself to continue. A PhD is hard, there is no lying about that and trying to do a PhD with minimal motivation will be even more difficult. You can potentially still apply for a new PhD and saying your main supervisor left is a very valid reason for dropping out.

PS: Have you asked your new supervisor if you can do teaching support in the Law department? Some unis let you do that for cross-disciplinary students.

How should I reach out to potential postdoc supervisors?
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Hi sciencePhD, I haven't reached out to any potential supervisors myself. Though I thought you could email them saying, I read your papers on X and it compliments my work on Y so do you want to work together on Z. If they are interested in your work they might talk with you more and pay off. I understand your hesitancy to email people because of funding but funding can always be acquired after your first contact. Ideally if you contact them you will become their first choice for a later postdoc without having to work about the application process.

State of the forum
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Hi everyone,

I noticed there have been a lot of new posters recently and I would like to say welcome to everyone!

I don't want to be a pain but can I nudge people that are posting new threads to occasionally reply to other people, please :) This forum is a great place to talk, get advice and support from other PhD students but requires other people to post. We all go through issues during our PhD and everyone's advice is welcome. So please don't feel afraid to post.

Other than that how is everyone doing?

Postdoc responsibilities
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You would need to find out who is funding your post-doc and would they be flexible. If you are working on a specific external project it might be more difficult as the PI would need to hire someone else. Although, you could simply ask the head of teaching in the department that you want to work in if there are any opportunities for part time work.

Should i quit?
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Hi Naj18,

I understand what you are going through. Though you shouldn't be comparing yourself with other students, as often they are going through the same issues. Your supervisor sounds "delightful" but if you say the speed not the workload is hurting you can potentially fix it. I find that deadlines can trigger anxiety and there is a lot of help out there for dealing with pressure anxiety. Otherwise, if your supervisor still focuses on speed you could adopt a "good enough" attitude and learn to be comfortable doing just enough to preserve your sanity. I would also say you could talk with your supervisor but that isn't easy sometimes but more importantly have you talked with anyone in your lab/depart meant about this? As talking with someone you know can present some very easy fixes or other people might have learnt to manage your supervisor.

progress report first year PhD
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I would as your supervisor for guidance on what to include as every university/department is different.

Although, usually for the first year progress report they want to see some progress, a clear plan and reassurance that you will finish. If you don't have any data you can submit a condensed lit review and explain how that builds onto your data collection period. not everyone gets data in their first year so if you have a decent excuse they will accept if you can reassure them that you know what you are doing and will finish on time.

MRes Process and thesis
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I would ask your department/supervisor if they have any advice or if there any rules. Usually in the student handbook or online course notes will give you a basic understanding of what is required of you. Though I would say it is safe to stick with the generic thesis template but slimmed down.

With regards to timelines, work backwards from your submission deadline and figure out what you need to do. Your first timeline does not need to be perfect but once you have an idea of what you need to achieve you can work out when to schedule it. For example, if you have field work your timeline might be categorised as before fieldwork and after. I would say writing is less important at the start as it is easier to write when you have everything done and it is better to focus on actually getting data. Though I would consider talking with your supervisor about all this as they might already have a rough idea of how low everything takes in your specific field.

PS: if you need ethics approval, drop everything and do that now! As the ethics process takes an ungodly amount of time and you want to get it in ASAP.

Combining thesis into one document
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Depends on how big your files are our and does your computer have any issues. If not the sky is the limit. As Nead says, it is a lot easier to edit a combined document but it there is nothing wrong keeping separate files. I personally keep my chapters separate but have a custom template to make formatting consistent and use all the autoformatting tools. Though from the sounds of it you are nearly there if you have 3-4 publications. To be honest I don't think you should worry about your supervisors feedback that much as you clearly are good enough and have done the hard work already. I know it is easy to strive for the prefect thesis but if you have 4 publications no examiners will ever fail you.

Nead, 6.5MB for entire thesis is small, or maybe my chapters are big as one of my chapters is 30MB! I have to send my chapter via dropbox because of all my bloody 300 DPI Graphs.

Postdoc responsibilities
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Congrats on the post-doc role!
Though I think your problem depends a lot on your field. In engineering post-docs are not supposed to do any teaching except maybe supervising final year students/ masters students. My department just hired someone as a lecturer with zero teaching experience, including during her PhD, entirely based of her research record. It might be different in other fields but I would like at the most recent hires in your department to see how much teaching experience you actually need. Otherwise I would focus on research as much as possible.

Covid - Has your desire to continue your phd suffered due to working from home? I want to quit
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Hi JayHull,

I can completely understand you! First of all though don't quit unless you have another job lined up. Keeping a stable income regardless on how well you are doing is important. We all have periods were we lose all motivation and so called "second year blues" are real. There are some really good bits of advice out there on how to deal with PhD blues and lack of motivation. It can feel like a mountain sometimes but every little step counts and you should be proud of every little step. I wrote some similar stuff in Adan's post and maybe you can help as well. Personally, at the start of this week I had no motivation on Monday. Though each day I willed myself to do something and regardless of what I did I forced myself to only look at what I did do not what I did. By today (Thursday) I probably did a solid afternoon's work and am actually looking forward to tomorrow. Self reinforcement of every positive action will eventually drown out the negativity. Once you stop beating yourself up about what you didn't you, allows you to focus on actual doing. If you are having trouble starting and only doing the bare minimum, do the parts of the PhD that you used to enjoy and find that passion again. With lockdown it is easy to get into a self depressive routine so doing something that breaks your bad routine is good. If possible talking with other PhD students in some form or another can really boost your motivation as talking with your peers allows you to reconnect with your work. Even if you can work in another part of your house/room, you can do something to break the routine.

Also, if you are having difficulty witting due to sheer scale of it all, I find that it is easier to look at it one paragraph at a time. I write a sub heading and then one paragraph, with no editing what so ever, then try to feel proud of that one paragraph. If you do enough, you eventually trick your brain into releasing serotonin as a reward for every single paragraph and that makes writing big blocks rewarding.

Motivation recharge
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The coronavirus lockdown has not been easy and I can completely sympathise with you. I think it is even more difficult starting a PhD during this time, as a PhD is tough. It is not supposed to be easy but usually PhD students build a support network with each other and the lack of social interaction with your peers can amplify your self doubt even more than usual. Most PhD students will have have some form of impostor syndrome during their studies and it sounds like lockdown is triggering it. Impostor syndrome can be dealt with and there is lots of good advice out there on how to deal with it. Personally, having suffered several bouts of extreme self doubt, lack of motivation and months of procrastination; you need to learn to forgive yourself and congratulate yourself on the little things. Building self confidence is a process and it begins by focusing on the positives and not the negatives. Even if you only read 1 paper or wrote 100 words, that is better than nothing, be happy that you did something, not what you could have done. We are often our own worst enemies when in reality if we put ourselves out there we are just as good as everyone else. You are only in the first year of your PhD, you aren't expected to be super polished, as it is easy to compare yourself with full-time academics when in reality you are still a student. I read some of the stuff in my first year and cringe at how bad it was but I also could compare myself with other first year students who were as equally shambolic. I understand lockdown makes it difficult to interact with other PhD students but if there is any opportunity to share your work, it really helps to build confidence.

To go through some of your points; most supervisors are not knowledgeable/available, there is no perfect supervisor so learn what they are good at work around what they are good at. If there is nor levant work, that is actually a very good thing in the long run, you have a niche. Regardless of how good your data is, your research is inherently novel and will make anything half-presentable publishable work. Again if there is no data out there, that is a good thing, you are a head of the curve so figure out a plan to get some data.

PS: If what I wrote was a bit weird I have been watching Bojack Horseman and it is very emotionally dark

Hello and help! - Keeping your literature review narrow
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Could be a bit of both. It takes a certain writing skill to start at a high level and efficiently narrow down the topic without going off topic or being too brief. It is difficult to write a good literature review in your first ever draft, so I would consider writing a detailed lit review and then you can cut it down through the drafting process. Personally, I write the headers first then the first and last line for section section, then bullet points of each section (so I don't repeat myself and can slowly build concepts), then write the text. I can't tell you if it is to vague but looking for a good structure can help refine your research question.

PhD English literature / non-UK applicant
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Sorry about the delay.

I know nothing about AHRC funding, so please take this with a pinch of salt. I wouldn't worry about the lack of references or prestige as they aren't a true indicator of performance. The prestige of your university means nothing compared with your grant proposal and many non-Russel group students get funding. If you are worried about references, you could possibly email and try to work with a UK academic to build a relationship/ reference. Also, in general you never know with grant applications, it all depends on who reads your proposal and do they like it. For all you know it could be a great proposal which will outweigh anything else, so there is no shame in applying anyway and getting rejected, there is always next year.

Goodluck!