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rewt
Friday, 3 November 2017 at 1:37pm
Monday, 24 December 2018 at 9:44pm
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page 1 of 22 recent posts

Blog: Are PhDs meant to be this stressful?

posted
05-Feb-19, 13:55
edited about 2 minutes later
by rewt
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posted about 2 months ago
Hi Guys,

I don't were else to go but here.
Stress has finally got to me, at present I have; a supervisor pushing me hard to finish a paper, another supervisor leaving, lab issues, family problems and a stupid university conference to organise. I have been trying to manage over the last few months but today I have spiraled into an anxious mess. I can't focus on anything but the amount of work I have to do and can't focus on the work itself. I know need a break but I feel I can't drop anything at the minute. I have so many people/groups pulling on me that I can't focus on any one thing. I feel control is slipping away.

What has triggered my anxiety is this university conference. I am somehow the chair of this committee and have been bumbling through but found out today, that we have a huge amount of work to be done, with less than a month to go. It is a serious amount of work and the rest of the committee prioritize their own PhDs ( I don't blame them) but it leaves me doing a lot of the work. I can't quit the committee as the conference won't happen, without me (not kidding) but I don't want to have to give up a month of my PhD. I also feel that , as I lead everyone into this mess and should at least help fix it. If I could get past this anxiety everything would be great but my mental health has failed and so have I.

The problem is my PhD is going okay. I have nearly finished 1 paper, have enough data for a second but I have the threat that I will lose some of equipment in the next few months. The lab the equipment is in, is due for refurbishment and they don't have any other space for me. So I am looking at 6-12months with that equipment which basically means I should be focusing on lab work at the minute. I am trying my best to get as much data as possible but I can't find the time due to other commitments. If i don't get it now, the final few months of my PhD is going to be awful. It doesn't help my supervisor is pushing me to finish a paper so that she can mention it in a rather large grant application. Her grant application would basically fund my post-doc so I need to get the paper out soon.

I simply need to say no to someone and can't. You will probably hear of my nervous breakdown in the next few weeks as I try and struggle through all this.

Thread: Please help - considering formal complaint against University.

posted
04-Feb-19, 22:55
edited about 22 seconds later
by rewt
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posted about 2 months ago
What was in the tweet?

Thread: Not sure if I should transfer?

posted
04-Feb-19, 11:34
edited about 9 seconds later
by rewt
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posted about 2 months ago
First, congrats on getting an external grant! You must have been good to get that and it gives you a bit of freedom. Though it sounds like that freedom is making you doubt yourself. You will quickly learn that PhD students have woeful mental health and I would start reading on how to help yourself. Don't let a small insecurity spiral.

I would worry about the fact someone else is doing the same project at the same university with the same supervisor. What makes you two different? That in my opinion is a massive red flag unless you have decided to go different directions but is still not ideal.

I think (people will disagree) that the project and supervisor matter more than the institution. You want a project that you can stay interested in for over 3 years and a supervisor who is supportive. Get those two right and you can get a quality PhD even at a low university.

Thread: Weird question

posted
04-Feb-19, 10:44
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From Xserksus:
A few more questions. How important are the articles, how many of them are desirable to have and in which journals (starting with some impact factor)?


Papers are very important but it is hard to say an exact number. You want a mix of quantity and quality, getting the mix right is difficult to say but also depends on your field/results. You definitely want one, preferably 2 papers, as it not only shows your work but also shows to future post-doc employers you know how to publish.

I think to answer that question you need to look at your results and realistically work out with your supervisor what is publishable and what isn't. Then aim to get them into the best journal you can.

Thread: Narrow my Proposal Questions

posted
04-Feb-19, 10:35
by rewt
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posted about 2 months ago
hi radozgo,

Not in law but I would suggest looking at your literature review. It may be that your questions are to big without any detail. My research proposal was noted as "huge" but I had a list of several smaller research questions inside it that could mostly be answered independently .

So I would recommend you to ask what do I need to know/answer? Are there any problems or difficulties you foresee in your research plan, if so explore them. Work out a methodology to answer the problems and voila, you have a more focused research proposal. Again I am engineer, so this might not be applicable.

Thread: PhD Confirmation Review/Report

posted
01-Feb-19, 10:49
by rewt
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posted about 2 months ago
That is quite a big report for confirmation. There aren't any hard rules on how big each chapter should be. They need to be long enough to explain your point clearly but not put the reader to sleep. If your methodology needs to be longer because there is so much to explain then it can be bigger. If you are struggling for word count, forget about the word count and just do a first draft. Once you have a first draft it is far easier to cut words/re-structure, as you have a better picture of the whole work.

Thread: Pronouncing difficult (and not so difficult) names

posted
31-Jan-19, 10:32
edited about 5 seconds later
by rewt
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posted about 3 months ago
I use google to help me learn the pronunciation

Also when there are several authors with the same last name and initials. It makes my referencing so fun!

Thread: The viva report indicative of the examiner(s) 's misunderstanding/misreading

posted
31-Jan-19, 10:30
edited about 20 seconds later
by rewt
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posted about 3 months ago
Not to be brutal but it is your job as the author to present your arguments in a clear concise manner that is easily understood. It may make sense to you and be perfectly clear but your examiners disagree. If they think the research aims and content don't match, they don't match. It is not the examiners fault for not understanding but yours for not explaining it well.

I would just do the corrections as they say and get my PhD. I would take all their comments on board and rephrase entire sections. If the content is good you just have to explain it in a different way.

Thread: Postdoc Crisis

posted
30-Jan-19, 12:06
edited about 16 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
Have you explained to him that you have spent three years on it and that you need to publish or perish? He might be more susceptible to emotional arguments in this break down state.

Thread: my PhD challenge

posted
30-Jan-19, 12:04
edited about 25 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From chantedsnicker:
I think what Rewt is saying is that you need to think about what you want to do a PhD on - You can definitely do something on economics, but that is a huge field and you need to decide on a research idea on a very small part of it. Here's a website that lists 100 different topics so you can see what I mean:
https://www.ivoryresearch.com/library/dissertation-topics/economics-dissertation-topics/

Once you have a topic, the department rewt is referring to is where you can study it - You would have to find a department that does research in a related area or a supervisor with particular interests. It's a case of looking at what literature is already out there and who is writing it!


Completely agree. Thankyou for rephrasing that! I seriously believe the key to a successful PhD is having a project you enjoy and can spend three years working on.

Thread: PhD dilemma

posted
30-Jan-19, 12:02
edited about 22 seconds later
by rewt
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posted about 3 months ago
Wow that is shocking! I don't think I have heard as bad of case as this. The fact no-one checked is scary but it isn't surprisng in academia. This is a wide-known problem and I have significant problems repeating other people's work. This is not your fault and you have done admirably to get this far.

Though you do have year of funding left. You have some time to get results on a new project and get a masters's. You will probably get an extension if you ask due to this issue, so you have several months of some financial reassurance. I would take a break and re-focus on want you want in life.

Thread: My Ph.D struggle at the very begging. Need advice

posted
30-Jan-19, 11:54
edited about 7 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
Keep at it. It must be depressing but you are only 1 month in and this is the perfect time to discuss projects. Thinking of potential problems now saves so much time later . You don't want to get a year in to find the research is a dead end. It is not that he is unsure of your knowledge but he is trying to guide you towards a project that will work. I have seen people change projects 2 years in because the supervisor just agreed with the student. I would be more worried if it was 6 months.

Though have you decided a general area of law you want to do? That is a good first step to whittle down your options and you just keep making the area smaller and smaller until you have a research question.

Thread: Presentations - obligations?

posted
27-Jan-19, 13:09
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
This council worker is not your supervisor but you funder. You can say no once, but don't expect them to give you or your university money/support in the near future. But it probably won't affect your PhD in the longterm, so don't lose any sleep over it.

Can I also say, I think you underestimate the importance of conferences. I don't read every paper in my field so just publishing is not enough. Conferences are great at disseminating your research to be people in related areas or non-academic jobs. You can highlight you work and disseminate it to an completely different audience.

Thread: my PhD challenge

posted
27-Jan-19, 13:06
edited about 15 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
What interests you? What topics do you want research?

I would recommend to look at those questions and find a few areas you are interested in. Then decide what field to study in. You can absolutely do a PhD in either of those fields, I would just choose the area before department.

Thread: Supervisor vs University - MSc (Life Sciences)

posted
27-Jan-19, 13:05
edited about 51 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From FilipJ96:

I put quite a bit of emphasis on ranking because it is also often correlated with a type of people at the university and I find myself working better in ambitious and fast-peased teams.
.


You are completely right, better universities tend to have better PhD students. But that is not the biggest priority in choosing a PhD, it should be quite low. I would consider the PhD project, the supervisor, the research group and available facilities far more important than the wider university ranking.

You are going to be working for there years on a project. So you want to make sure that you can motivate yourself through that time without wanting to kill your supervisor. If you stay on this forum you will notice that the top reasons for PhD dropouts are supervisor related, and not that your colleagues are idiots.
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