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Keeping yourself motivated around people who aren't that driven. In search of a study buddy.
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Get a pet. They never argue back, always look cute and have serious de-stressing properties. Seriously, pets are awesome and always give you motivation, to forget about your PhD. Proper downtime is most precious thing in a PhD in my opinion, as your life tends to revolve round work.

Also, study buddies are overrated. Office/lab mates that are serious and driven are boring, they are usually too focused on their own work. Driven people tend to be too focused on themselves to be collaborative and only collaborate when it benefits them. They are the people that argue about authorship and hide results to benefit themselves. Serious people kill collaborative atmospheres and are the best way to ruin a lab. Long days in the lab can be hard and if you are surrounded by people who only want to talk about work, can make your life hell. So don't be that overly serious person that ruins it for everyone else because of their misplaced "drive" that makes them utterly one-dimensional. I don't care if you want to improve your knowledge by asking me to help to you and then do not reciprocate. Be a good lab mate and help other people, then expect them to help you. That is a better way find a work mate.

Finally, we can only be 100% productive for so many hours a day, slacking isn't bad if you are getting the results. Lying back and relaxing, gives you that break to be productive. If they are in the same position as you work wise and doing far less work, they are far more efficient. Don't hate on them because they work smart, learn from them. I see too many people that think just being present is "work", it isn't. While it really is about results and if relaxing means you can think/learn better in shorter bursts, doesn't mean they are not driven.

Sorry about the rant. I really should delete this but I feel it kinda adds to the conversation.

How to do PhD with no proper technical advisory?
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Hi Arab,

It can be difficult if you are doing research were there is minimal support. I am assuming that the technicians are competent but don't have experience in your methods, so you have to do all the method development yourself. I totally know the feeling, same problems here (especially with HPLC). It sucks not having much of a research group or more experienced lab mates to help with even the most basic stuff.

The thing is that this it what a PhD is. Other people might have it easier with more support but they still have to learn/develop/use methods. It can be hard but if you don't enjoy it, it isn't for you. If you enjoy it you won't go insane, you are just having the usual breakdown in confidence/motivation. You will be fine.

The way I see it is that I am getting far more experience than if I was in a big group. I am trying to do all the same experiments, might have to work incredible hours to get the method working but I know the method very well now. How many people in big groups, use a method but have no real understanding of it?

Agree with Tudor_queen, try and get a visit to another lab. My supervisor got me a 2 month visit in another lab plus a couple of young researcher events that helped a lot. Just to pick up some good habits or get insights on how other people work, is great. Most universities/societies have money for external lab visits, use one of them to get some experience. Your supervisor should be able to help you find a lab.

pm133, is also right. This is a PhD and it is you got to take responsibility for your own work. Usually the best thing you can do is work harder and not to expect help. Help is a bonus or like Christmas. Most of the time no-one gives a sh*t about your work except yourself, so get used to it.

Need advice on the thesis
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I don't know if this is applicable but i have seen a thesis where he had 4 published papers and his chapters were like;

Chapter X
Paper abstract
Preview (explained why he did it and experimental issues and reviewers feedback)
The paper copied and pasted
Discussion (talked about how paper fitted into his overall PhD project)

Though this was engineering and he had fully published the papers

Need advice on the thesis
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So it sounds like the reanalyzed study one is very good, which is why you want to keep it.

So can you say that your methodology for studies 2&3 proves that you should use the methodology from study1. With a section explaining that 2&3 had to be started before you fully analysed 1, therefore using the results of 2&3 to partially validate 1. It might make it more coherent but at the expense of demeaning the results of 2&3.

Dear graduate students, what questions should I ask you when I meet you during prospective weekend?
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What research group would you be part of ? (it is not always obvious)
What equipment do they have/lab space?
Whatever you are interested in and they like talking about.
Also talking with their current grad students gives you the real story about how good they are at actually supervising

you are going on a weekend?

Working and PhD study
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Teaching support can pay quite well in the UK. I do 6hours a week during term time and get just over £70 a week after tax. It isn't much but it is realtively easy work.

Also remember that the 14,500 is tax-free.

Approach / method for analyzing a process (production)
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I did something similar for my masters' dissertation. Where I optimised a unit operation in a manufacturing plant during a placement year (meant I did masters dissertation before I had even started). I will give you some advice from my work and hopefully, some of it might be relevance.

You need to decide your boundary conditions - where does it start, where does it end, what can you vary, what external conditions are fixed? If you look at too many variables it can very complicated fast, so you want to focus only on the most important aspects. If you get lots of results you can look at more variables and extreme conditions but set it at a manageable level to start with. Talk about processes upstream and downstream and how they affect the project but just assume they are fixed and produce/require fixed conditions. It makes it so much easier if you can initially say that the previous process is always working.

Define your conditions. For my project, I decided that profit was the absolute indicator of performance and everything else was constraints. Ie my constraints were; keep waste below 25%, not to increase manpower required, produce consistent products. So if all the constraints were met I was only looking at one value for comparison.

Methodology! This varies between processes but I bet there isn't much literature on your process. So create your own literature and vary everything from there. I knew 3 settings always worked, I had those settings incredibly well documented with all the outputs and costs recorded for nearly all external conditions. Therefore whatever happened or whatever method I used, I had something I could compare to, meaning most of my data was useful.

Finally, talk with the operators/technicians/users. They usually have a very different understanding of the process than office staff that can be invaluable.

Hope this helps and good luck,
rewt

Research Tech to PhD with lower entry requirements at Oxbridge
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As Eng77 said, if the PI wants you, they usually bend the rules to make it possible. To be honest, grades are not a perfect way to predict your ability to do research and most people know that. The reason they use it is that for most Ph.D. students, grades are the only bit of life experience they have.

Other ways to possibly get around it. Claim "extenuating circumstances" for your undergrad which didn't affect your masters. Claim you are a mature student and say that your experience compensates (mature students usually have different entrance criteria). Be a part-time PhD student while keeping the job while using the data from the job to submit a thesis.

Just talk to your PI about your worries. He is the most informed person on this subject and will help you get past the bureaucracy or will point you in the right direction.

kikothedog; that supervisor sounds fun! And is that legal?

Calling all Phd holders and students- take part in the research about impostor syndrome
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completed and my answers were mildly disturbing

I need GOOD document translation
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This is definitely thread necromancy if I ever seen it.

Bullying
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I am sorry to hear about your predicament Cat!

As Eng77 said, can you at least publish that useless data? Write it up in some way and get is published in a low tier journal. If you get it peer-reviewed and published it will be easier to talk about the work in your thesis, and then the year isn't wasted.

Also about the lab space and lack of training. I feel the same problems with no-one my area (including the technicians) and also having a lab-shy supervisor. I fortunately, got myself into a local young researchers conference which helped me figure out what I should be doing experimentally. Plus I followed that up with a short lab visit to one of the researchers I met at the conference. So instead of my supervisor teaching the methods, I found people in other universities who were more than happy to help, for what that is worth. With lack of lab space can you ask your supervisor for help? He might be a bully but bullies are usually the best people at getting stuff out of the bureaucracy.

Getting another PhD will be hard. If you want to get a PhD this supervisor is your best bet. Only you can decide if it is worth it, we can help with ideas to make it more bearable but the final decision is yours.

The cost of quitting a PhD
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Quote From pm133:
This is why I asked iwan about how frequently he/she is experiencing this because I cant understand why this is an issue for any employer.


It might be an issue if your first "job" after university you quit after a year. They might be worrying that you will quit on them, and they might not want to take the risk. Plus if the interviewer sees a PhD as just another degree without realising the sheer scale, it could be a pain, as HR departments are not known for their intellect.

Iwan, I would rebrand the PhD as a "research assistant". Make up an excuse for the sudden departure, like family issues to explain or that it the research funding got cut unexpectedly. If you make leaving the PhD as more unfortunate circumstances and less "it wasn't for me", the better.

I am unsure what subject I could possibly teach after postgraduate study...
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I am assuming that you want to be a university lecturer but you are wondering what department you will end up/ what department you can teach in.

From my vague experience, you teach what is as close as possible to your undergrad degree/experience as possible. But your department is closest to your research. Ie you can teach the mathematics modules in an engineering course if you did a BSc in mathematics. For your case, you could teach the business side of things, which could be managing group projects in IT. Or you could teach some computational stuff in a music course (if that is a thing). The point is that subjects contain many modules, and one is bound to overlap with your expertise.

Also a good teacher can teach nearly anything, so if this is worrying you can try and get as much teaching experience as possible during your PhD. Do all those stupid courses and try apply them during teaching if you can apply them. I have also heard people bribing students to get a nomination for best teaching, to put on their CV. All that will make it easier to sell in an interview that you can teach another subject

BUT I will say that, most academic job interviews don't give a sh*t about teaching and only care about publications. That is why the teaching at top universities is usually so bad.

Hope that helps and isn't too wrong.

Ph.D quest frustrations
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does you chair know what grounded theory actually is? They might have literally heard a talk on it and think it is easy, so you could try and explain to them how difficult it is.

You have done well to get 5 chapters written, so don't let a supervisor ruin that

Mathematician wanting to get onto a mathematics related cosmology PhD, but what??
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Hi Johnnie,

You have two real options for getting a PhD in the UK;

1. Apply for an already funded project
2. Make your own project and apply for funding

If you choose option 1, places like findaphd.com is your best bet but they don't have an astronomy sectrion (they do have astrophysics). This method usually has funding and a supervisor already in place. Though you don't get to choose the project and it some supervisors can be awful.

Option 2 is far harder. You need to find your own project, a willing supervisor and then apply for funding. This is far harder but has more academic freedom. Don't much about this way but you can ask again iof you go down this path.

On a subject basis, I think you can easily apply mathematics to astronomy. (note I am an engineer with no experience in astronomy or maths). From my experience astrophysics is very mathematics heavy so you will have some of the right skills already and that is how you can sell yourself. Research is becoming ever more cross-disciplinary, so moving fields is possible if you have the right skills or knowledge.

You ask what field you should be targeting? - preferably a field that you think you can dedicate three years of your life to. Not joking you. The best topic will be something that you are motivated about because three years is a loong time.

Hope that helps and good luck,
rewt