Signup date: 25 May 2007 at 4:37pm
Last login: 21 Sep 2007 at 11:30am
Post count: 290
Sorry to hear of your job-hunting hell, Piglet. I can only send lots of sympathy and not much else. I know I'm very lucky - not only do I have a few potential post-docs (funding dependent) but I've also been offered short-term contract work for as soon as I'm available from quite a few different people. No permanent jobs obviously... it doesn't work like that in academia :o( Certainly my partner has done 4 post-docs back-to-back (started earlier than I did & a bit older), and very frustrated with the difficulty of getting anything permanent, and always worrying about where to get the next batch of funding/post-doc. It's not right how badly academics are treated, or how badly PhD's are considered in the job market. If anyone knew how much it takes to do one, they'd snap us all up - it takes a lot of hard work, self-motivation & much more - making us gems to employ rather than lumping us at the bottom of the employability pile. Hmmm.
Hmmm, anal-y retentive huh? Maybe ;o) Well a lot of PhD students are perfectionists - which is part of the problem! I think it helps if your not, or you put yourself under too much pressure.
But also I have to agree that if you are going through a tough time with your PhD you have to ask yourself the question whether you're passionate about your subject, or have other reasons for wanting to put yourself through the roller-coaster ride (e.g. career progression). It was easy for me - I love my subject, so that got me through the lows. It's also easier to get out after only a year than further on - and write it up as a masters so you would loose nothing.
Hoo. Well in my subject (field biology) the lit review is incorporated into the introduction - for lucky folks the lit review forms the whole first chapter (introduction chapter) - mine needs considerable re-writing. Also since I use slightly different methods in each chapter, each chapter is like a mini paper with the methods incorporated into the chapter. So my thesis looks like: Introduction - Analysis Ch1 - Analysis Ch2 - Analysis Ch3 - Analysis Ch4 - Discussion. And each chapter is introduction-methods-results-discussion. But I know folks who have a completely separate methods chapter.
Don't worry too much (though keep pestering your supervisor!), it's normal for a project to have a few hiccups at the beginning - my first season I spent it trying to get equipment working and didn't manage it until right at the end of the season (field biology for me restricted to seasons). After the initial uphill struggle to get things up and running, it was much smoother... but I know heaps of people who still have little or no data at the end of their first year, and still little idea of the direction their PhD is going to take. I know it's tough (been there!), but keep going & you'll get there :o) I've had setbacks by months at a time, but it goes in fits and spurts. Good luck :o)
What you can do to get yourself out of this rut, only you can work out, but at least you've recognised something needs doing! Get a better work-play balance - joing the postgrad society (ours isn't great but at least they have weekly get togethers) or another university club. I'm a mature student so feel the student societies are a bit young for me, but we also have a mature students group who meet up weekly. Find something you really enjoy doing outside the phD... exercise or otherwise (exercise and pottery classes were great de-stressors for me). And talk to your supervisor about your PhD - if not your supervisor, talk to colleagues. To help feel a bit more cheerful St Johns Wort also helped with me (but don't take it if you're taking other medications).
Hi, I think a lot of people suffer in the first year - I did. 6 months in I was coming in every day and crying at my desk, I was apsolutely miserable and couldn't believe what I'd let myself in for... it was such a huge learning curve and I just felt like I couldn't cope. So you're not alone. For me, admitting there was a problem was the key - I sat down with my supervisor and explained the way I was feeling, and we managed to cut back the amount I was trying to do so that I could cope. I also went to a conference and met lots of other people doing the same thing as me - and that really inspired me. That was the worst low for me. It is a roller coaster ride though, and there've been plenty more tears, and quite a few smiles along the way. In 2 months I submit.
Mmmm, I wouldn't necessarily say a suite - I think smart casual also works - especially if he's giving a presentation to the department - puts people more at ease if they're a bit less formal. But then I work in biology where alot of people are very scruffy, so smart casual is our smart! Economics sounds more suit-y - how does he find it in Economics generally, do the lecturers usually look pretty smart? In my first degree our management lecturer wore a suit to give lectures... but it seems appropriate for management (and he looked real fine!)
Hooo. Well pea I know the problem, only my lit review was never going to be much use as my PhD has changed so much since I wrote it. So you have my sympathies... I'm starting again. One positive though - alot of the papers I read are still relevant, so I'm hoping a re-write without substantial amounts of additional reading. Not sure that's much help for you... if your sups are happy with it, why not just modify the bits your not happy with... then you don't need to re-write it completely. Take a break before you get stuck in, something to revive the spirits, so you start on a positive. Good luck
…However, I've found a more lucrative route - work from the inside. A lot of post-docs aren't advertised, because post-docs are named within the proposal. So, find someone you want to work with and get written into a proposal they're writing. Basically I told anyone I knew I was looking for a post-doc and now I've been written into two proposals. Admittedly it's not guaranteed you'll get the funding (2 failed already, another 2 waiting to hear, but these latter two have a much better chance of getting funded)... but you know that if you get the funding you'll have a post-doc and what's more - you can get some input into what you do in the post-doc. I submit end of September, and I will hear about my post-doc funding some time in September.... after over a year of effort... fingers crossed! Good luck!
Hi, well I've been applying for post-docs for the last year, but not many because there aren't many in my field that are advertised. They all go into what I call 'a black hole', i.e. you spend quite a bit of effort writing a good letter and making sure your cv is up to date, send it off and never hear anything again. I've only being applying for ones that I have exactly the right skills for. No luck so far…
Gosh Rick, that sounds great - and similar to what I was taught in a GRADSkills course and book 'How to write a thesis' - but I haven't had the time or energy for so much planning. I scribble down my results, work out which order they should be placed... and write the results section. Then by referring to papers to see what structure they use, I work out how I'd like to structure the discussion, following a similar order to the results, but keeping the most important bit to last so it's neatly tied off at the end. I then figure out what I need to say in the introduction to make it complete... I don't think I'm doing it right, but am in a bit of a rush and need minimal editing time! Your method sounds like it works if you have more time on your hands (or more organised than I am). Maybe I'll try it for my next chapter though... I haven't worked a chapter where I'm happy with the structure yet...
Cool! Happy it helped! But I'm afraid I'm not a birdy PhD, but very fond of the feathery animals - I spend a lot of time on the sea and just very fond of sea birds... those cute puffins with beaks full of fish, that family of shelducks swimming along... all 12 chicks 2 by 2, fulmars gliding along the top of the waves and the gannets like torpedos diving into the depths... maybe I should have done a bird PhD!!! Good luck with the rest of the writing
Mmmm, liquor filled chocolates sound like a good idea, but I have a feeling I'd eat them all in one go! During undergrad it was jaffa cakes and baileys that got me through exams... now it's a wee dram of whisky when I'm writing late - but only the one, even better if it's accompanied by a wee chunk of 70% chocolate... mmmm!!! Easier to work late when you feel the firey warmth of whisky to help the writing flow (not so much that what you write becomes incomprehensible though). I read today that 70% chocolate is a 'happy' food - lots of tryptophan which is used to make seratonin (happy hormone)... also found in mackerel, quinoa, scrambled egg with smoked salmon, red wine... mmm a veritable feast! Not sure there's anything in whiskey apart from alcohol induced happy warmth
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