Signup date: 12 Aug 2008 at 1:38pm
Last login: 22 Jun 2012 at 4:02pm
Post count: 2675
It might be worth checking your status with your university, as I stopped being officially registered as a student once I'd submitted. It seemed to be a grey area where you're not registered as a student, but also not really completed until all the paperwork is done and you get the final certificate. Maybe other universities have slightly different official cut-off points for student registration though.
I think it sounds like you might be worrying too much too, though it's understandable. You have to trust your supervisors really. They shouldn't let you submit if your thesis really was bad, and they did, so it must be good enough to pass. It might even be an excellent thesis, another possibility!! I'm assuming you didn't get 'rubbish' feedback all through your PhD? After I submitted, I kept thinking maybe my sups were wrong and they'd forgotten something vital that I should have done in my thesis, and I was quite worried about the viva, though I'm a dreadful worrier anyway. I had a mock viva a week before my real one which helped dispel a lot of my anxiety, it's a useful practice run if you can arrange it. I had loads of typos in mine, but that's not enough to make a thesis bad if the rest of the content is fine, it's just minor corrections.
You get quite a lot of opportunities to fix a 'bad' thesis anyway, either in corrections, a resubmission or even if you don't pass at that stage, you can always appeal. I know of someone who did that and is submitting yet again because the uni doesn't want a failure.
Vivas are important to find out whether the student actually did write the thesis and do the work themselves or not. Otherwise you could get someone else to write it for you, these things happen!
Will you have a mock viva? Try to stop panicking, though it's easier said than done, I know! :-)
Yes, it was interesting having the feeling of not wanting to open my thesis, while others were telling how great an achievement it was! It seemed a contradiction. I'm far happier now, as if a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Or a millstone from round my neck, or any other cliche you can think of.
Just after I'd been spreading my flu-addled misery around other threads yesterday, I heard that my post-viva corrections had finally been accepted by my examiners, so I don't have to do any other work on that thesis now, ever! It's taken a nagging worry away that kept popping up in my mind, that perhaps something would go wrong at the final stage and I'd never be able to leave it behind me.
I'm looking forward now to developing bits of research that I couldn't include in my thesis, whatever happens with my job, as I can't seem to stop having ideas for new projects. I'll be able to think about my job situation more clearly too, without the PhD hanging over me. And a colleague is setting up a meeting with her publisher to turn my thesis into a book, which is nice!:-)
If you can manage it, maybe try not to think about getting a job right now unless one appears that you have to apply for, as it will distract you from getting your PhD finished. It's not long to go now, so maybe it would be best to put all your energy into completing? After that, you can move on without the pressure of an imminent viva. Good luck, it really is near the end! (up)
Someone3, I know what you mean! I thought I should be really happy after I submitted, and I was, for a few days, but then I started to worry about the viva and whether what I'd written was ok or not. It was a horrible, stressful time when I felt really unsure of myself and like you, I just wanted to move on with something else. It is a weird, depressing sort of limbo you're in, you can't do any more work on your thesis but there are still a few hurdles to jump over before it's really finished.
It probably doesn't feel like it, but you have done the bulk of the work and you are so near the end now, the misery will soon be over forever! I felt absolutely exhausted after submitting, mentally and physically, so I tried to make more of an effort to look after myself so I was rested by the time the viva happened. I also tried to do enjoyable, non-PhD-related things, and spent more time with friends and family, as well as doing absolutely nothing (!) to remind myself of what I would have more time for after the viva. I found the book by Rowena Murray about 'How to Survive Your Viva' useful for preparing for it, though I didn't really do much revision. I probably left it a bit late in retrospect as I was quite sick of my whole thesis by then and couldn't bear to open it, let alone revise, but I was glad I forced myself, though it felt like I needed to dredge up superhuman powers to do it at the time.
It is another difficult stage in the PhD process, but very nearly the last one you will have, so if you can keep going and bear the misery for a bit longer, you can move on afterwards. I know I've moaned a lot elsewhere today on this forum, but it is very nice to finish a PhD, regardless of anything else! :-)(up)
Thanks Eska, that sounds a good idea, I'll check it out! Am keeping my fingers crossed that I'm still one of their internal funding success stories and everything will work out well if I put my mind to it and give it my best shot.:-)
Stars all round too.:-)
I also think Walminski has a slightly rosy view of things....
1) I'm doing a relatively boring 9-5 job a couple of days a week, albeit in HE, because it's funded me through my PhD. I am hoping it might improve slightly in the new year now I've more or less completed, but rewriting my job description is in the hands of senior management and their cost-cutting spree at the moment, along with many other jobs. It's better than many other part-time jobs though, I am sure, but I still fantasise about chucking it in.
3) I get to work with really interesting people too, but morale in the workplace is really low right now across the board, partly a result of the external ongoing changes in HE. I don't know what individual people's breaking points are, but workloads and conditions are worse than I've seen for 10 years and I know it's not just my institution.
4) I get to teach really interesting people too, which I really enjoy, but also ones who are incredibly demanding and problematic, and take up a LOT more of my time than I get paid for.
7) Personal autonomy is greater than working in a call centre, or on a checkout in a supermarket, I'd imagine, but you are at the behest of what your institution wants from you in HE, along with any other large organisation where you are not a senior member of staff. This affects your autonomy and the time you might want to spend on your own research unfortunately.
I don't want to moan too much as I wouldn't have changed anything, but when you finish your PhD you have different things to deal with and it can be a bit challenging at times. I suppose that's life all over though! Maybe things will be better when you finish, but right now, for me, it's not all lovely, happy, shiny stuff. Oh god I'm quoting REM songs now and I don't even like them...:-(
Thank you both, that's very helpful!
Bewildered, I think you're probably right about it being more important in departments not entering staff for the REF. I was thinking maybe if research money and activity becomes more concentrated in the near future then there might be more lectureships at traditionally teaching-led universities, such as my own specialist institution. Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part though, as money-saving and job-slashing seems rife in many places right now, not just the newer universities.
It's the same at my place where staff with a certain amount of teaching hours get the fees waived, but it seems to be for a specific certificate in teaching in the art and design sector that's free. I thought it might be less useful for me in the longer term if I want to get out of this area. I'm interdisciplinary, social sciences and fashion/design history & theory, and not an arts practitioner, so I thought it might be better to do the PGCert LTHE which seems more generic in its content, and transferable to some extent across disciplines. I think I might have to pay for that myself though. I'll see what my employment prospects are next year....
Jinkim65, it does sound useful for confidence building too. I can't say I get excited at the thought of engaging with pedagogical theory, but at least it would dispel some of the mysteries surrounding teaching, learning and assessment that I feel I know absolutely nothing about.
My PhD is nearly wrapped up (I think...) and I do want to stay within academia for now. Having read WJ Gibson's advice for anyone doing a PhD to have a post-doc Plan B, and watching job cuts happen around me in my present institution, I wondered whether it was worth doing a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education? They are validated by the Higher Education Academy.
I vaguely remember seeing something about it becoming a requirement for everyone teaching in HE after 2010 to have a qualification in teaching, unless they've got a specific number of years of fulltime teaching experience, which I don't. Having a teaching qualification is one of the 'desirable' criteria on all job applications I see now for lectureships, along with a good research profile. I can't assume I will get an interesting academic job purely based on my PhD work because jobs are so scarce at the moment. Doing a PGCert in TL in HE looks like it would tick yet another 'person specification' box, but does anyone really bother with them when employing new lecturers on permanent contracts? I thought it might be useful to learn more about teaching and research, curriculum development etc, stuff you don't get to deal with on hourly paid teaching contracts. I've noticed that some institutions send new lecturing staff on them, so presumably they are seen as useful. Has anyone else considered doing one of these certificates?
I'm feeling extremely gloomy about my situation right now, as it seems to be a really crap time to be finishing a PhD in the arts. Any thoughts or advice would be very welcome! :-)
Heifer, congratulations on submitting, it is a big achievement even if it doesn't feel like it right now! I got used to feeling aimless after a while and started to enjoy it. It seemed to take me ages just to slow down after so much pressure to submit on time. I'm sure when your viva date comes through you'll regain your direction again!:-)
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