Signup date: 15 Sep 2008 at 2:28pm
Last login: 23 Jul 2013 at 2:25pm
Post count: 693
I'm not sure I quite understand the question to be honest. Are you saying you have the option of having an extra person there just to keep watch and ensure the process is fair? If this is the case, then I don't see any reason why you wouldn't have someone there, if they are not participating in the viva at all then it makes sense to have them as backup just in case you ever felt you were unfairly treated.
For my viva I had the external examiner and the internal examiner present, and no one else. I was never given the choice of having any additional people there. The role of the internal examiner (i.e. someone I knew from the university but that was not involved in my research) was really to make sure due process was followed, and he didn't really say much in the viva as it is the role of the external to ask all the questions. Internal was only there to move things along if we seemed to be getting bogged down in one particular question. I wasn't given the option of having my supervisor there, and if I was I would have said no as that would have made me infinitely more nervous.
Sometimes proving something doesn't work is just as important as proving that it does - as long as your reasoning for doing the experiment and the way you conducted it is sound, then it certainly wouldn't mean automatic failure. One of the chapters in my thesis was about how I tried a certain practical technique and found it very challenging to get reproducible results. The conclusion of the chapter was basically explaining how I scrapped the technique and moved onto trying to predict the results from an algorithm instead. As long as there is a sound explanation of what didn't work, why and what implications this might have/what needs to be done next, then a negative result should not be an issue.
your last couple of posts made me want to come and post again to give you a bit more advice! if you want more of a work-life balance, and you want to get your weekends back, then DO NOT BECOME AN ACTUARY. I have a number of friends who are training to be actuaries, so have seen how it completely takes over your life. It takes much longer to train to be an actuary than to do a PhD (about 7 or 8 years) and during that time you will be constantly studying and doing exams. You will be working full time as well. This basically means for at least 9 months of the year you will have no evenings, and no weekends. You will have no social life. And this is every year, until you are fully qualified. You certainly won't get any time to do hobbies or meet someone and settle down.
The only positive is that you will be well paid so you might get that house you're after - but you'll never get to live in it because you'll always be at work. Seriously, I know this sounds like I am exaggerating, but I have seen a very close friend (who is extremely bright) battle her way through years and years of training and it is not an easy ride. Another friend quit as an actuary to do a PhD as she knew it would be easier. So whatever you choose to do next, do some research first as I think you will be in for a shock if you think being an actuary will help you get your life back!
How is your PhD funded? If it is supported by a research council (such as the BBSRC) then you are entitled to a certain amount of leave a year without it affecting your monthly payments. From memory, I think I was allowed around 8 weeks off each year, although I never took anywhere near that much! I tended to take the odd day off here and there rather than big chunks at a time, but I never even asked my supervisors I just didn't turn up that day! (they were pretty relaxed about it). Check your handbook and see if you can find out. As for your warden work, I don't know what would happen about that as I guess you get a 'holiday' from that when the students go home at the end of each term? IF it was a 'normal' job you would be automatically entitled to some paid holiday. Do you have a staff handbook? It might be in there.
If I were you, I would explain to your supervisor how I was feeling, and tell them you need a couple of weeks off. If they refuse, show them your handbook. If they still refuse, ask someone else such as a head of department or at the postgraduate office to intervene. Failing that, your university presumably has a welfare officer or counselling service? Talk to them and see if they can help you get the break you need. No one can work every day all year without a break, you are entitled to it so go and find out what the rules are and get something sorted before you go crazy :)
I wouldn't worry too much about it, journals are a law unto themselves and there are no set rules. 'Under review' could simply mean that someone is checking your corrections. Most journals are really slow at this sort of thing, so don't worry! (should add that I work for a medical writing agency so have experience of submitting to loads of journals, and they are pretty much all as useless as each other!)
Firstly, don't panic! 5 months in and no data is perfectly normal, and you have plenty of time to rectify the situation. I didn't properly get started until about 10 months, and then everything seemed to happen at once and I got loads of data in just a few weeks, just in time for my 1st year upgrade report :)
The way you are being treated does sound really unfair, particularly not having space of your own to work in. Are your supervisors from another department? I would keep reminding them of the situation every week until they came up with a solution. Can they help you at all with the techniques you need to learn? Alternatively, can you go over their heads and ask someone else to get this sorted, such as a head of department? Can your postgraduate office provide any help in sorting this out? Perhaps you could make an official appointment with a technician or postdoc, e.g. ask them to put aside some time a few weeks in the future and make sure they make a note of it so they have the time to organise their diary and make time for you. Alternatively, ask them by email and copy your supervisors in - that might make them respond more positively!
For what it's worth, I don't think you're being whiny or childish. You are at the beginning of your PhD at the time you need the most support, and it doesn't sound like anyone is being very supportive! In the meantime, carry on doing as much reading as you can, writing down ideas you have for future experiments once you get up and running etc., and then at least you will be as ready as you can once you finally get things sorted.
I have attended a few of these sorts of things, and the most useful ones I went to were:
'How to write an abstract' (usually aimed at writing them for conferences rather than a paper, could link in with 'how to get the best out of a conference' or 'how to design a good poster')
'Critical analysis of the literature' (e.g. find a poorly designed study in the literature and discuss its failings vs. a well-designed example)
'How to get published' (topics such as how to pick the correct journal, how to write a good cover letter, what journals are looking for etc.)
For me it would depend on what type of job I was going for (and how many citations I had!!). For an academic post, then yes I would definitely consider including citations as this may just give you the edge over another candidate with a similar CV and may help yours to really stand out, particularly if you have impressive numbers to put in! If you just put the publications and then something like (citations: 11) after it then it is subtle enough to not come across as pompous, in my opinion.
On the other hand, for non-academic jobs it is probably irrelevant in a lot of cases as they won't really care about the details of your publications. That being said, if you were going for a research role in industry, for example, then it could be considered relevant and I would probably put them in. Your CV is there to sell you and your achievements, so no point in hiding your light under a bushel :)
I think so many people go through similar experiences during their PhD, although it is not often talked about. I had a period of anxiety/depression during my studies, and looking back, I really wish I had just taken some time out to recover properly. I think this would have made the process much quicker, but like Thumbelina I felt guilty for not being at work and so I just struggled on, kidding myself that I wasn't that bad and just getting on with things. I was prescribed antidepressants and had a short course of CBT which helped, but the fact that I continued working without a break probably hindered my recovery. According to my handbook, I was allowed up to 8 weeks a year annual leave; I think I probably only took about 4 a year, and those weeks were plagued with guilt and I never really switched off from my PhD in that time.
I think that taking 2 weeks off sounds like a really good idea. You need to present the idea to your supervisor as a last break before you really launch into your studies, and make it clear that you NEED this break for the sake of your mental health. I never told anyone at the university about my problems, but this only exacerbated my guilt as I knew they were expecting me to work at the same rate as before but I didn't feel physically or mentally capable.
I hope everything works out for you; keep posting on here if you need us!
Could you just reformat it and submit it to a journal with a lower impact factor without spending any more time on it? That way, your supervisor will be happy that you are still trying, and you can forget about it for a bit whilst it gets reviewed. you could be deliberately sneaky and pick a journal that only has a few issues a year as they tend to be slower to review things and get round to publishing them...
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