Signup date: 24 Sep 2008 at 11:00am
Last login: 23 Oct 2008 at 10:24am
Post count: 164
Can it be that sometimes a PhD is so lonely and isolating that you become your own best friend.. literally... like 2 people, hence the conversations with yourself??? Haven't started doing it yet but I have a feeling my time will come. Will come to a point when my internal monologue is external, then I'll be in trouble!:p
Hi Bonzo, sounds like you're having a tough time, especially when certain things are beyond your control, ie you can't make your supervisor read things which is really annoying. How can anybody give meaningful feedback without taking the time to digest what has been presented? Is there perhaps anyone else you can get to read your stuff. May not be ideal, as the feedback may not be too specialist towards your field, but I usually find most departments have people who are happy to help. Perhaps a second supervisor. It wouldn't be disloyal to your supervisor but more a way of getting wider (and possibly more encouraging feedback). With regards to treating it like a job, remember people work well differently, this appears to be something your supervisor may not be able to grasp, so don't try too hard too fit it into 9-5. In my mind, it doesn't matter how many hours you put in, as long as its productive and you can make progress however small. Burning yourself out to satisfy others can be very counterproductive. You will end up demotivated even further. However I think it is possible to do 9-5 (not including all the extra thinking time) by being more organised. Break things down into little tasks, write a list. 5 mins spent planning your day at the start should not only get you in the mood for work without throwing yourself into the deep end, but should give you a clear direction of what needs to be done and what is achievable. It feels good to tick a job off, when it is completed, however small. Then these become just tasks and not a personal quest. One point I really want to comment on is the following: "2. Is it just the aggressive focussed students who get ahead? I would like to think I am considerate but lack that streak of meanness - how do you get it?" I agree that in academia it can be very aggressive and competitive but I don't think its necessary to be like this, and in direct answer to your question its a resounding NO! I seem to be getting ahead just fine, and its possible to do it without being aggressive and screwing everyone else over on your way up. It does help to be driven and enthusiastic but you don't have to be selfish (which can happen to even the nicest people when they start PhD). It is good to have a little competitive streak, just not in a nasty way. Anyway, sorry for waffling. Hope you feel better soon.
Hi LauraM, my department isn't too bad. We have a shared postgrad office with desk space that you can call your own. You bring your own computers but its linked to a communal printer and internet. We don't pay personally for printing and photocopying but we have unlimited access to these facilities. I think the bill for such things is shared by the PIs. I'm doing a lab based project so I also have my own lab bench space as well as storage in the lab. I would have to say that PhD students are not treated as equal to staff really, but nor are we treated like 'students'. Our opinions etc are valued (as our individual areas of expertise/skills) but there is definitely a separation. Would be nice to have my own office though, but I suppose thats a bit cheeky :-(
Scienceishard is grateful for Rubyw's advice. Was considering giving my own hair a chop - what with the credit crunch and all that, but have thought against it. Nothing makes you more self conscious than a hair cut you hastily gave yourself. Don't worry though Ruby, the best part is.. usually nobody notices and I'm sure it looks fine!:-)
Hey Pamw, I totally know where you're coming from. I've just had a week away on holiday (my only full week off so far this year) and I found it wasn't enough time to relax at all. I wasn't refreshed when I came back, just full of dread and overwhelmed. I think people are right that maybe a week isn't enough to relax and refresh. Maybe its a good idea to have a week on holiday and then a few days off, or a week off afterwards where you just recover totally and don't do very much at home. I appreciate that when you're doing a PhD, its hard to do nothing and relax, as you end up thinking about your work and end up stressed and feeling guilty, so maybe pleasant distractions may also be an idea. Just make sure its nothing too tiring. Also I try to set myself something to motivate me which isn't work related. For example every other month or so I spend a whole weekend (sometimes a long one) going back to my home town to visit family or friends. Maybe you could do something similar that you can work towards. For the record I start my third year next month, and I'm sure I speak for many when I say we all feel we haven't done anything major, but from many success stories I've heard, it all comes together in the third year. There is time yet. So.. chin up and don't give up! Hope you feel better soon!:-)
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