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Six weeks until hand in

Hi Sam.

How's it going? Much progress on the writing front?

I've been slightly distracted by the unprecedented pandemic. I've been told I can hand in electronically and do my viva via skype.

I have one finished chapter. I'm working on the discussion chapter at the moment, then have three more chapters that need minor edits / updates. I have two weeks til hand in and next week off work get through the formatting / references.

Six weeks until hand in

Fortunately it's raining today so work is slow, which means I can do some cheeky PhD stuff. I've noticed that I have a habit of flitting through comments and not necessarily addressing them at the time if they seem to challenging. It is good in some ways, at least I make some progress on the easy stuff but also bad as I never quite finish anything.

Six weeks until hand in

I genuinely never thought I'd get to this point. One major thing I've learnt about this process is you have to be stubborn and determined.

I work full time and round my Monday to Friday job I've been doing my PhD. I thought I'd start a thread to hold myself accountable. I'm due to hand in 6th April 2020 and feel like I have an awful lot to do still!! I have one fully finished and referenced chapter, three awaiting final review, one requiring updates and then once all these are done the introduction and conclusions.

Maybe others are handing in soon and we can encourage each other or I will just use this space to try and keep myself on track.

First major thing I need to do is update my discussion chapter following my supervisors comments. I'm aiming to have this done on 8th March. I booked a few days away in Turkey before I had my hand in date so am away from 1st to 5th March, not sure if I should take my laptop or have an actual break from both work and studying.

Good luck to everyone whatever stage you are at xx

Not moving forward is causing me great distress

Hi Dodo

I am a part-time, self funding PhD student. I can fully understand how you feel. It sounds like imposter syndrome, which I'm pretty sure everyone feels at some point both as a researcher and in life in general.

My best advice would be to write something, anything. It doesn't have to be amazing, you can always go back and edit it but a blank page can be very intimidating.

I also know that sometimes you need a break. From work, from your studies, and sometimes from both. Maybe take a few days to not worry about study or work. I've taken some long breaks in studies, which might not work for you but I found took some of the pressure off and allowed me to move forward.

Most of all it is a marathon not a sprint so pace yourself.

Supervision issues (or lack of)

Hi Tester.

Thanks for the reply. I am in the sciences.

My post grad tutor is aware of the situation and has contacted my supervisor directly but I still haven't had any feedback.

Supervision issues (or lack of)

Hi All

I hope everyone had a good Christmas break. I need a place to have a bit of a rant as none of my friends have undertaken the journey that is a PhD. I get asked 'are you STILL doing that...?', which is a fair point as I'm about 7 years in (bit more with various breaks in studies) but am part-time and self funded. One once said 'don't they take about 18 months?', to which I thought why don't you do one and find out!!

My main issue at the moment is my supervisor is AWOL and I've not heard from her in months. I've been sending emails since June 2019 and still haven't had any response. I really want to hand in early this year but can't get them to review my chapters. She left the university I'm at this time last year but promised to remain as my supervisor. I've copied in my second supervisor on various emails but they have always been more of a silent partner so that I can use some of their data. The only thing keeping me going is that one of the former post docs is reviewing my work, he isn't even affiliated with the university anymore but is a good friend fortunately and very clever.

I have had many times since I started that I have read posts on this forum about quitting and thought about it but now I have five decent chapters and my discussion chapter well underway. So while I don't want to quit now I want to finish, I can't help thinking I will fall at the last hurdle without some supervisor input. I had my upgrade meeting in August 2019 (only about five years late!) and we discussed the possibility of getting my viva booked in for April 2020. This is exciting and terrifying in equal measure. I just don't want to hand in work that I know isn't up to standard.

Thanks for reading.

What's the point in going to conferences as a PhD student?

Hi sciencephd

I am a part-time self funding PhD student. Part of the criteria for me to pass is to do a poster and presentation at conferences. I was lucky as my supervisor funded both conferences that I attended. Have you asked your supervisor for any financial support to go? My experience is they have pots of money around.

I find conferences are useful to see what is going on in my wider subject area and to learn about new techniques or analysis that could be useful for my project. I personally don't want a job in academia (I have a full time job already) so don't need or really want to network but conferences are one of the places to do it. At my last conference was one of the top academics for my subject area and he was very approachable. Perhaps you need to be a bit bolder and just go and start a conversation with people. Then in the future if you could email them to say 'we met at the XXX conference and I'd like to ask more about...'.

Part time and funding - advice needed

Hi as222.

I can't answer all your questions but I am a part-time self funding PhD student. I did my masters part time on day release from my job and it was a completely different experience to my PhD. Although I am officially distance learning I did have to go to the lab a lot in the earlier years due to the nature of my research.

I know a few people who have completed their PhD part-time and / or self funded, it has taken them around 10 years. I started in 2011 but am officially in my 7th year having taken some time off of studying.

Your time on campus will depend upon your area of research and the set up of the university. If it is a distance learning uni chances are you can have skype meetings with your supervisor. Some universities are more open than others to part-time and self funded study.

In the earlier years I tried to apply for alternative funding as being a part-time student often rules you out of lots of funding opportunities, this may be different in education, but in the end I gave up. I have occasionally considered how much it cost me financially, given the fees, loss of earnings (I was working part-time at the beginning), train travel, etc, it is a horrendous figure.

Looking back I don't think I would do this again if I knew what I know now. This experience has been incredibly isolating, difficult for my friends / colleagues to understand and an uphill emotional battle. We all have the best intentions at the start, I had an epic five year plan, but I'm hoping to submit early next year (9 years since I started). I'm not saying don't do it, I'm saying think about it carefully.

PhD issues of absolute supervisor neglect

Hi Jay.

Thanks for your post. I am a part-time phd student in my 5th year. I work 4 days a week and have been feeling very overwhelmed recently. I only have one active supervisor and she is amazing. I am officially on a break in studies due to some ongoing mental health and financial issues but am still working without the pressure of a timescale.

How did you stay motivated? I tend to have some weeks when I can't look at my uni work and other times when I enjoy it.

Mental Health Concerns

Hi Glossy.

I think mental heath affects us all at one time or another.

I was diagnosed with depression in 2009 in the middle of doing my masters part-time. I am now doing my phd part-time and am on medication for anxiety. I have one main supervisor and told her that I struggle with my mental health. She is incredibly supportive and understanding, especially when it interferes with my ability to get work done.

I have had counselling in the past and found it really helpful for giving me a better perspective on life. I was very close to quitting my phd at one point (this time last year actually) but managed to stick with it and am glad I did. I tend to take a few weeks off here and there when it all gets too much and try to remind myself there is life outside phd and work.

Starting 3rd year

Hi Guys. How is it going?

I have very nearly finished one chapter, just needs a couple of small edits according to my supervisor. I have submitted my lit review chapter and am now wading through my data and results chapter.

I am trying to ignore my fear that all my data is complete rubbish at the moment and am trying to focus on working towards my upgrade (we do it late at my uni).

Hope you're all doing well :)

Starting 3rd year

Hi Everybody. I am going to tag along with this post even though I am actually going into my 5th year! Sounds scary but I am part-time, self funding and am aiming to finish around Christmas 2016. I am struggling with the volume of work I still have left to do. I am also testing how long you can stay in Costa for only buying one drink!!