Signup date: 13 Mar 2008 at 10:45am
Last login: 23 Jun 2010 at 1:01pm
Post count: 308
I agree with Ruby - although I'm nearing the end of my third year, I still feel inadequate at times and often wonder if I'm really cut out to do a PhD. I think I do feel more confident now though than when I first started, but I guess the feeling has never really gone away. I always seem to be comparing myself to others and often feel that I'm in a league below them in terms of knowledge and so on. I have to tell myself that yes, I CAN do it and I will get there eventually, but I know how difficult that can be!! ;-)
I wouldn't worry about it - as long as you come across as being confident about your subject, I don't think it will be an issue. The students will probably enjoy the fact that they're being taught by someone only a few years older than them, rather than having to put up with another doting old professor! I've thought about this before when tutoring mature students, who are much closer to my parents' age than to mine. However, they've always been quite happy (and I guess used to) someone who could pass for their daughter or even grandaughter teaching them. As long as you know what you're talking about, I'm sure you'll be fine!!
I managed to get a mortgage recently, but only by using one of my parents as a guarantor. I went to a very helpful mortgage broker who did all the hard work for me and explained everything to me without all the jargon. However, I might as well have been receiving no stipend at all, as the mortgage company (Leeds building soc) don't even consider it - they were only interested in my Dad's income. Unfortunately I had to get an interest-only mortgage which is a more expensive option in the long run, but I'll be able to change that once I have a 'proper' job!! So in theory it's possible, although it's probably better to go to someone who knows what they're doing and can do all the searching for you!
Has anyone managed to get a mortgage recently without a partner's income as back-up? I was hoping to look for a place of my own and have a reasonable amount saved up as I inherited some money a few years ago - probably enough for a deposit. I was hoping I could look for a guarantor mortgage with my parents as the guarantors, but I don't know if anyone would consider me with my only income being PhD funding!
I'm afraid I can't give a glowing report about my sup, but all I would say is choose wisely! A good sup will make your PhD enjoyable, a poor one will have you mega-stressed for the next few years, as I have found out to my cost... See how much they've published recently, and how many students they've had recently. I would probably be inclined to go for the one who also has other students because a) it shows he/she is actively involved in research and b) if he turns out to be a poor sup, at least you have the other students to moan to!!
You can save a Latex document as a Pdf file, which you could then send to your supervisor - instead of clicking the 'Latex' button, you click 'PdF Latex'. A really good reference is tobi.oetiker.ch/lshort/lshort.pdf It's long, but you don't need to read everything - the info at the beginning will help you get started, and you can then dip into the rest when you need help with specific things. Latex might seem hard at first, but once you get used to it, it's simple!!
Hi Amanita, it's perfectly normal to feel lost during a PhD - I still feel lost and I'm in third year! Remember that you've only been doing this for a few months, so it's going to take you a while to get up to speed and find out what's been done already etc. They don't give you 3+ years to finish for nothing!
As for not having direction, remember that it's your right to see your supervisor - don't feel guilty or embarassed about asking for a meeting, or asking for more information on what to do and where your work is going. Yes, a PhD is an individual project, but it requires input and advice from someone much more experienced and knowledgable, ie your supervisor. Explain your worries to him/her clearly - maybe it would be easier to send an email first outlining your concerns, and then you can discuss it in a meeting? You could maybe ask for some sort of written research plan that could be modified/added to as you go along?
All the best! :-)
I'm sorry to hear that you're finding things so tough just now. It sounds like you've been through a lot. I can understand why you feel like quitting, but maybe you should try and stick with it a bit longer to see if things improve? I'm sure it's very common to feel bewildered by the whole experience at the beginning of a PhD - I often wondered if I'd done the right thing, and the thought of my classmates out in the 'real world' with a proper pay packet was depressing.
Have you talked things over with your supervisor? Or if you don't feel comfortable speaking to her, could you explain your concerns in an email? Maybe there's someone else in your department (a second supervisor, another lecturer that you know) that you could speak to as well? I'm sure that your supervisor would be very understanding given what you've been through recently. You could ask her if it would be possible to have a few weeks/months off to recharge your batteries and consider your position - you might find that taking some time away from the Phd environment will help you to focus. I would hope that bringing this up with your supervisor wouldn't ruin your relationship - I'm sure she would admire you for being honest about your problems.
Don't worry about not having any experience in your research area - many students are in the same position, and if you keep at it, you'll soon be up to speed with what you need to know.
Best of luck! ;-)
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