Signup date: 14 Dec 2007 at 9:59pm
Last login: 10 Apr 2011 at 9:34pm
Post count: 2276
I would talk to your sup - he'd have to know anyway. Jan 2010 is still an early submission (and realistically you may take longer) so I do think it would be challenging. Only you know whether you could do it - but it would be a shame to risk both the thesis and the dip. Could you postposne the dip? You're not THAT old - I'm 10 years older still:p
When I get fed up with sandwiches or tins of soup I make rice with frozen veg cooked in (usually peas and corn) with tobasco and soy sauce (I used to make this with onions and green beans), or pasta salad - usually just with tomatoes and onion (and oil, vinegar and chilli sauce) but sometimes with a tin of chopped mushrooms and/or sweetcorn or some kind of beans. I find most concoctions are edible if you put enough chilli in them.
I'm currently having one of my recurring cravings for Sandwich Spread sandwiches.
I cook proper family meals in the evening - it's a welcome change of activity.
My PhD appeared undoable about half-way through and I altered the data collection to provide a plan B and safety net - it was pretty stressful. In the end, I didn't use all of my safety net as I found soemthing unexpected instead. If it really looks unworkable - you may have to take more control and perhaps put in some options that will give you alternative kinds of analysis and answers to related questions even if they are not as interesting as your original question (that was my solution). My major problem was the nature of the data itself and how much more difficult it was to collect than anyone had forseen.
There are unfortunely many ways for a project to be unviable - too little data, no results to speak of after many experimental attempts, apparently nonsensical outcomes from analysis that do not appear to tell you anything, interesting or not. I don't think anyone would be failed for proving the null hypothesis (which I thought might be my situation) - but it would raise questions regarding your judgement in asking that particular question, it wouldn't provide much in the way of papers, and you might not have much of a career afterwards.
Has anyone else come across corrections graded into 10 levels? According to my colleagues, level one is no corrections, 2 is minor, 3 is major but not a resubmission, 4 is major with resubmission (3 of my colleagues are doing that now), and 10 is an outright fail. I don't know how levels 5-9 pan out (and I hope I don't find out - still awaiting viva date :p )
It's quite common to leave some of the data for use later - there are even some short postdoc awards specifically designed to support the further milking of your PhD data after submission. I have quite a lot of further analysis that could be done later, that was either too tangential or just too time-consuming to do for submission. If I'm fortunate enough to get a post doc, I don't know if I'll ever actually get around to following through on those aspects though.
The hard part is deciding, as you say, how much is enough.
I got a 2.1 (and not a good one either) then a good distinction at masters and I'm finishing a funded oxbridge PhD (just scraped in on the funding - definitely would have been easier with a first). But for funding, they look at the exact subgrade so if you just miss a first they will see that. On my funding application a 2.1 had 5 sublevels, firsts had 3 and I had a bottom level 2.1 - which just goes to show how redeeming a masters can be. I'm part based in psychiatry.
I had my daughter at the end of my second year. I planned to take one year out for maternity but actually took 2 so that I could go unofficially part-time 2 days a week one year then 3 days/week for the next - and then I took another 6 mo into my 4th (but in real time my 6th) year to submit.
This is just my opinion on your situation. If the only reason you are considering pregnancy during the PhD is maternity pay - that might not counterbalance the difficulties - especially if you partner earns enough to support you if necessary. It is very hard to predict how you will feel about going back full-time after maternity leave (how long - 6 mo - 1 year?). And not everyone finds it easy or palatable to put a baby (as opposed to a toddler or older) into nursery, especially full-time. If you wait until your 3rd year and try to ensure you have submitted before you give birth (and bear in mind you might not get a lot done if you have a difficult pergnancy) then you leave your options open. You can go back to work full-time, part-time or take a complete break and maybe have another child or more (childcare with 2 plus kids is VERY expensive). If you are not bothered about doing a postdoc - then all the more reason to wait until you have submitted.
My project was not lab based so I was able to take more leave and rearrange my hours in a way which you probably couldn't. I wouldn't have wanted to go full-time while she is a preschooler (and now I'm trying to negotiate a part-time postdoc so I can collect her from school next year 2 days/week). Of course working full-time suits a lot of people - I'm just suggesting that you leave yourself the option to make that a choice when the baby is actually here and you really know how you personally feel. I majorly suspect that you might regret having to go back full-time to submit because you are not driven by the desire to pursue a postdoc.
My age was a major factor and I absolutely couldn't wait another year.
Does he have any funded students and if so how are they funded? I had this problem in that my dept is not funded by the appropriate body (ESRC in my case) but fortunately I got a university grant. Is there some other funding source or can your potential supervisor never have funded students (seems odd)?
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