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Self-funding a PhD in the UK - International student (Non-EU)
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If an international student is thinking about doing a STEM PhD, I will definitely tell them not to do so. When you're doing a STEM PhD, you're working for your supervisor, and you're supposed to be paid by your supervisor.
But it seems that you're doing politics. In politics, it seems that PhD students are working for themselves. So it may be worth it if you go self-funded. You'd better consult PhD students in your field before you make a decision.

In the UK, once you start to do a PhD, you can hardly get any funding. If you need funding, you need to secure a funding before you start your PhD.

How do you tell if your PhD supervisor is sexually harassing you?
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Quote From glimmerbat:
Hi sciencephd,

I'm sorry for taking so long to respond to this. I was so horrified by what your colleague said that I had to think about it quite carefully.

...

How have things been recently? Do you think there might be someone in your institute -- a postgraduate tutor or an equality officer -- who you might be able to have a chat to?


Thank you for replying again. Your analysis is insightful! I was feeling confused, but now after I see your analysis, I become more confident - I'm right to feel uncomfortable!
Over the past month I've tried not to have an one-on-one meeting with my supervisor. A colleague is interested in my project, so I invited him to the meeting with my supervisor every time. And I tried to sit farther away from my supervisor. So far everything's fine, but I'm not sure if he'll require me to have one-on-one meetings with him again. I'll stay alert anyway.
There is an equality team in my department, but the head of the team is also a senior male professor. What's worse, he's my supervisor's good friend. So I have no intention of talking to him about this issue. And there's also a director for postgraduate students in my department - he's also a senior male professor. I talked to him about my concerns, but he just told me to have faith in my supervisor...

How do you tell if your PhD supervisor is sexually harassing you?
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Quote From pm133:
You don't need to be a woman to understand how a sexual predator acts and this man is definitely crossing a line. He's also doing it in a way that you doubt yourself that it's actually happening. That's classic predator behaviour. Right now he's looking to see how you will react before he commits himself.


What you said makes me worry. I'm not sure what a sexual predator is or what classic predator behaviour is. But indeed he makes me doubt if I'm overthinking. I'm not sure what you mean by 'he commits himself', but I'm a bit scared. If I can't avoid having one-on-one meetings with him, should I bring a hidden camera with me?

How do you tell if your PhD supervisor is sexually harassing you?
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Quote From glimmerbat:
Yo! This is not okay. Echo what everyone else has said. It's probably irrelevant to point out that being married to someone who looks like a supermodel is no guarantee of happiness at home, but as others have said, this is usually a creepy power thing rather than a desire for an equal romantic relationship (someone who respects your mind won't show that by staring at your bum). Don't let your own low self-esteem get in the way of your understanding of what's going on. I'm also a woman and spent most of my life believing that I was so unattractive that the multiple incidents of sexual abuse I experienced couldn't have been real. I didn't think anything like that could happen to me because, I don't know, I wasn't pretty enough. Straight up: (1) abuse can happen to anyone at any time and (2) abuse isn't some weird validation of attractiveness nor an understandable response to looking a certain way. I know you're not really saying that. But sometimes I think that as women we get taught some weird things about sexual abuse that we never stop to question.

I'm worried about your situation. Do you have an equality committee, or a doctoral college, or even a postgraduate tutor you can turn to in the first instance? It will be very useful for you to have someone on your side. I agree with others saying that you should stand up for yourself, but as a woman I know that sometimes that can go badly wrong. When I tried to speak out against being assaulted by a postdoc, I did NOT get any support. In fact, what I got told was something along the lines of, "but you don't look like a supermodel, why would anyone do that to YOU?"


I can see that you totally understand me. I'm pretty sure I'll get no support if I tell any lab mate about this. They have all seen our supervisor's wife and were impressed by her appearance (they even said she looked like Nicole Kidman). They wouldn't believe our supervisor would sexually harass me, and they may even make fun of me.

I've only told my concerns to a guy friend who's from another group in the same department. He has seen me talking with my supervisor many times in the tea room before the pandemic. This guy believed that my supervisor was just being friendly or showing his 'paternal love' towards me (my supervisor is almost twice my age), as he could tell from my supervisor's behaviour that my supervisor probably saw me 'as a daughter'. He told me not to worry and was like 'if he treats you like a daughter, then it's impossible he's sexual towards you'. I don't know if I should believe what this guy friend said. Do you have similar experiences?

How do you tell if your PhD supervisor is sexually harassing you?
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I'm a female student, and I find physical contact with my male supervisor uncomfortable.
Are there any other female PhD student here whose male supervisor touches your body from time to time? Can you let me know how you feel about it? Do you think your supervisor is just being friendly?
When I'm having meetings with him, he tapped me on my arm, thigh, back, or hand from time to time. It's not frequent, and it doesn't happen at every meeting. But it makes me uncomfortable. Am I oversensitive? Should I tell him I'm not comfortable with that? It's so embarrassing to tell him about that. Maybe he will get angry and that will jeopardize our working relationship. I'm a bit scared.
One day I even noticed that he stared at my bum. The way he looked at my bum really scared me. But I was too embarrassed to ask him about it.
I'm not really sure if it's sexual harassment. And I don't have the courage to ask my group members. They are all male, so I don't think they will understand my feelings. I feel I'm not respected by my supervisor. But if I ask my male lab mates, I'm sure they will laugh it off and tell me I'm too sensitive. And everyone in this group, including me, knows that our supervisor is a happily married man, who has a very good-looking wife (yes she looks like a super model!). Obviously he has no motives for sexually harassing a plain-looking student.

How should I reach out to potential postdoc supervisors?
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People told me I should reach out to potential postdoc supervisors about 6-12 months before I finish my PhD and stay in touch with them.

But what should I say when I email them? Should I just ask them if they plan to take on a new postdoc this year? But they don't have an ad for the recruitment, which clearly shows that they don't have any money at the moment for a new postdoc (if they had the money, then they would post an ad for sure!). So asking if they are recruiting a postdoc sounds like a stupid question. And if they do have an ad, then I should just submit an application - what's the point in reaching out to them before I submit an application?

And what other things can I say in my emails to them? Maybe I should introduce myself? But if they don't have money for a new postdoc, it should be meaningless to introduce myself I think?

I really don't understand why people keep telling to start early and reach out to the academics I'm interested in. I don't think I have anything to say to them.

Postdoc going wrong after good PhD, how to get out
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I think you need to get out of this shithole as soon as possible! This PI tricked you, and later they will probably continue to do harm to you. The sooner you get out of there, the better you will protect yourself from further harm.
And you don't need to hide anything from any potential PI when you look for a new position. It's not your fault, so just tell them the truth. Once you tell them the true reason behind your move, they'll see you're a true scientist and an ambitious young researcher.

Covid -- PhD admission rejection
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This professor didn't give you any details, but if you're curious you can ask them for clarification.
This pandemic is really annoying and has fucked up the whole academia. I've heard many universities in the UK, US, and Australia have laid off some teaching staff and researchers. Many US universities have stopped recruiting new tenure-track academics. The main reason is lack of money. I guess your situation also has something to do with money.

Has anyone's lab been closed again due to the pandemic?
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Quote From rewt:
Have you got absolutely no access? That is not acceptable. I think you should be able to get 1 or 2 days a week access even if it is a busy lab area/ building. Otherwise you are sitting around and can't do anything and wasting precious PhD time. Though I do know some universities/deprtaments are prioritising access and I found that I had to extensively justify everything. I may have exaggerated everything to make my situation more dire and that might work.

No access to the lab isn't uncommon, actually. In my department, someone who doesn't need the lab got access, but someone who needs the lab has no access to the department so far. The academic and administrative staff just don't care. If you exaggerate your situation and then get access, that at least means your department listens to your needs. My department doesn't listen to students at all.

Has anyone's lab been closed again due to the pandemic?
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Quote From Cat123:
this situation is just exacerbating existing problems.

Indeed, the local lockdowns and the new national restrictions have kept the capacity in each building low, so we can't expect to go back to normal in a few months.

Has anyone's lab been closed again due to the pandemic?
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Quote From rewt:
How are things at your uni?

There's also no fairness in my department...In my department, every supervisor arranges the schedule for each group member. My supervisor only cares about postdocs but sees us PhD students as non-existent. I reported the unfairness to the department, but they just told me to comply with my supervisor. F**k!

Has anyone's lab been closed again due to the pandemic?
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I'm mainly asking about the situation in the UK. But if you're in another country, you can also talk about the situation in your area.
From June, many labs in universities have reopened. But recently, many areas have gone into local lockdown. I'd like to learn how the new lockdowns have affected your lab work.

Mental health advice needed
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I haven't been on here for a long time. If OP is still here, I just want to say, hey, OP, you're not alone!
I've seen so many things like this. Many supervisors are biased. So are departmental heads. When things happen, their bias make them choose to take one side, and treat the other side like rubbish. And when you ask for clarifications, they will never give you any clarifications. When they're biased, they are biased. They wouldn't admit it. They never acknowledge they've done anything wrong. They have power over you and they could do anything they want. You just can't get any justice from them. If you resist, they will take it further and make more people go against you. They're just like that. That's the true face of academia. I've never seen a PhD student who successfully resists the evilness from the people who have power.
If you want to get the university involved, you could try, but don't expect too much. The involvement of the university will be time-consuming and take away lots of energy from you. Lower your expectation. Also, try and talk to the potential university and see if that university can help.

Anyone know how examiners read a thesis?
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Thanks cucaracha. That's helpful.
I think it's difficult for me to stay sane if I need to find out every supplier's name for each sample we've bought and to draw a picture of the experimental setup...

Anyone know how examiners read a thesis?
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I'm writing my thesis now, but I wonder which part they usually focus on? Do they read the results and discussion chapters more careful than the things before them? Will they read my experimental methods carefully? I mean, do I have to dig out every detail of my experiments and write them down? Is it worth it? I hope I don't need to spend too much time writing every detail. If they don't read it carefully, then I shouldn't waste my time write a very detailed thesis.