Signup date: 13 Mar 2008 at 10:45am
Last login: 23 Jun 2010 at 1:01pm
Post count: 308
Just thought I'd have a moan - perhaps I'll feel better once I've got it out of my system!
I'm in the third year of my PhD and, mainly because of a lousy supervisor, feel that I'm getting nowhere. I have barely enough work to make up one chapter, and don't really have a set idea of what to do next. I've spoken to my supervisor about this and he gave me some vague ideas, but nothing concrete - basically along the lines of 'go and read lots of papers to see what's already been done'. I agree that I need to do that, but I feel that time is running out, and it takes me so long to read papers, let alone understand what's actually been done. I was also told by another member of staff to stop worrying so much. I have funding for three and a half years, so it's not as if I have a tight deadline looming (as long as we finish in 4 years, we're ok).
I feel like such a fraud - every other student seems to be working away and knows what they're doing. They also seem to know so much - I worry that if I ever get to the viva stage, I'll be totally clueless! It's partly my own fault - I procrastinate too much when I don't know what to do next, and often look at a paper and feel that it's completely beyond me to understand it.
Anyway, rant over. Just thought I would share my woes with you all!
Well I've been having a look at a thesis which was done by someone with the same supervisor as me. At the beginning of his thesis, he points out that 'the work in chapter 3 appears in ...', and references his own paper (co-authored by his supervisor). Chapter 3 is basically the same as the paper with a few extra lines and explanations added. So it seems to be ok as long as you make a reference to your own paper (and presumably don't copy and paste the paper into your thesis word for word).
I know this is a silly question that's probably been asked before...
If I publish a paper (i.e. jointly with my supervisor), I just wanted to double-check that I can still include that in my thesis? Presumably I can include the published paper word for word since it's my own work? What I'm planning to publish will probably make up a big chunk of a chapter in my thesis.
Many thanks for your help!,-)
Well I'm going to dare to be different. I very rarely work from home - although I can understand the attractions (i.e. no noise, distractions from others etc), and on the rare occasions that I do work at home, I can concentrate better than in uni - I would get very isolated if I worked at home every day. My department has very good provisions for pgs (large desk in a shared office, laptops), and it means I can go and see my supervisor for a brief chat whenever I feel like it, rather than having to schedule a meeting. I think I would feel I was missing out if I wasn't in the department - even just on office gossip. I enjoy having a routine of going into the office every day and knowing that when I get home, I can switch off from work. Another reason for not staying at home is that I wouldn't have the house to myself (annoying retired parent!), so I'm sure I would be distracted very easily!
Thanks, bewildered - I'll have a look at the site you mentioned. And I guess a back up plan would be a good idea since postdocs seem few and far between!
Badhaircut - did you manage to find a postdoc quite easily? And how did you go about finding it - did you approach potential supervisors and ask if they'd be willing to take you on, or did you apply for an advertised postdoc?
Cakegirl - I have exactly the same problem. I always find that it takes me days to get back into working mode after a holiday. I guess the only solution would be to try and think about work a little while you're on holiday, but I suppose that defeats the purpose of having the holiday in the first place!
2. Is doing a postdoc as isolating as I think it is? A lot of the postdocs here seem to work work work, and very rarely socialise with either PhD students or staff.
3. Do people do a postdoc and then leave academia afterwards?
I think what attracts me to the academic route are the wrong sorts of things - the fact that there is so much more freedom than in other professions (no 9-5 working hours, no boss watching over your shoulder etc.) What worries me is that I don't feel up to it academically - I often feel incredibly stupid, as if I don't know anything, and the thought of becoming an academic and having to work under my own steam without a supervisor helping me along really scares me. So I guess I've almost talked myself out of it already...
Apologies for the long post, just wanted to get some advice!
I've recently been making a somewhat half-hearted attempt at thinking about my future after the PhD is finally over (which seems a long way off at the moment!). I hadn't really considered going down the academic route and doing a postdoc - I always felt that I'd prefer a 'real' job outside academia with no pressures of finding funding and having to move location frequently etc etc. But I was thinking about the postdoc route recently and have a few niggling queries:
1. Would it be realistic to expect to find a postdoc in (pretty much) the same area as my PhD thesis, or would I have to branch out into a related area that I may not know much about? Even within my research group, the interests of the members varies widely, and I feel that I know very little about work outside my own little 'bubble'.
Have you spoken to someone about this? Maybe your second supervisor or someone else not connected to your work would be able to offer some good advice. I always find that staff are very approachable if you have concerns and want a chat.
Maybe you could also do with a break from work? i.e. a few days where you don't think about work at all and just take time out to enjoy yourself and do what you want. It would also give you time to consider your position and decide whether you really do want to quit. Plus a break might be just what you need - you'd come back refreshed and perhaps more able to tackle your work if you want to continue. But I'd definitely suggest talking to someone first.
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