Signup date: 22 Oct 2006 at 4:43pm
Last login: 15 Jan 2012 at 11:29pm
Post count: 1602
Ah, *hugs* Emaa, it's 4.30am here and I'm only just considering giving up myself. Hope you can switch off and get some sleep soon, I find self hypnosis or meditation CDs very good for letting go of the day's PhD struggle, happy to recommend some if that's your thing.
Fear not lovely Algae, I am here again to keep you company. Right now I seem to be on a mission to keep the wierdest hours possible, today's tally for example;
Quit Friday's work at about 1am Saturday morning.
Woke randomly in the dark so re-started and worked from 5-7am.
Pissed about all day, so re-started again at about midnight, now into Sunday morning technically.
I mean really, WTF am I doing? It's like I'm trying to find some magic territory in which I'm too tired to be distracted, yet somehow still have the ability to work on my thesis (yes, I suspect that this is a mythical land, in fact I probably have a better chance of finding Narnia behind the winter labcoats). But still, desperation does what it will. So back to eating coffee beans and trying to care about chapter five.......
Dianerose, I'd be surprised if there was anyone on here who hadn't been through that! I think it takes time to get comfortable with your topic, after six months I think I was actually getting less confident, as it was becoming apparent just how vast the area was, and just how little I knew relative to that. The best cure is experience, go to as many seminars and networking events as possible; you'll then meet people who know less than you, yet survive perfectly well! Also, you'll experience the double edged sword of vindication and frustration as you hear people asking questions you've been sitting on through shyness, thus realising your thoughts did make sense. And really, practice is the only way, once you've stuck your head above the parapet or fielded a few questions of your own you'll naturally gain confidence, but don't worry about being a little shy at first, it'll come.
CB, I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling :-( it's great that you have insight into it though, and I agree with Dowhatnow, get help asap! The earlier these things are tackled the better your chances of dealing with them successfully, the more ingrained they become the harder it is.
If you've managed to alter the behaviour a bit on your own I'm sure you'd do very well with a therapist's help (there are also some medications that can help with these urges or the anxiety behind them, but that's a personal choice). CBT can be very good for this stuff, there are various online programs and workbooks, but if you can get a therapist I'd really reccommend it, makes a difference. Your GP can refer you, although this might take a while depending on your area, other options are the uni counselling service (usually much quicker) or private treatment. Also, check out online resources and support groups, other people who've been there can be a huge help.
Feel free to keep posting here as well, this stuff hits a lot of us at some point and the forumites were a massive support to me a few months back when I wasn't well :-)
Haha, genius list Napoleon!
Who could I have, hmm...
#1 Richard Dawkins
Typical supervision: There is none. He's far too busy spreading the word of science to the masses, and periodically harassing religious groups whilst getting excited about cukoos.
Most likely to say: You have to let go of this childish need for approval from a deity. After all, I'm really rather busy.
#2 Tim Minchin
Typical supervision: Reporting experiments in perfect rhyme, preferably while offending your spouse.
Most likely to say: Sorry, I would have made that tutorial but I was too busy with my infallible, inflatable lab tech.
Al, that does not sound good :s, I know you have work lined up but could you take a bit of a break between viva and that? Sounds like your poor body really needs some TLC right now and is telling you in no uncertain terms. Glad your GP is looking into it anyway, even if it is "just" stress, it's good to have covered the basics. Feel like I want to send you a care package now!
Poor Sue, it sounds like you're in a similar boat, I'm sorry you had to go through unpleasant tests, really hope they come through ok. I don't know how you work at the rate you do, these days I seem to flake out on fairly average hours. Both of you please take care of yourselves! What jobs are you applying for now, are any of them the kind you were hoping for rather than civil service? I take it you passed on the one that was in a location your partner didn't like?
And yes Al, I am indeed taking the bizarre step of finishing the phd in order to start a masters! Not because I feel I have the will or motivation just now (slightly worrying but deposits are all paid so hey-ho) but just because I want to go into a clinical role and this two year masters is required for me to do that. Even though it's the same discipline (albeit research applied rather than clinical) my PhD was actually a hindrance in getting accepted, so finishing up seems even harder now that I know the doctorate will be basically irrelevant in my future. Still, life does love to wave these little ironies under our noses, doesn't it?
I suggest printing out copies of this comic http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=47 and handing them out as informative fliers for people who look tempted to ask such questions. Perhaps with a line saying "Yes, Really. Your inane questions will be taken AT LEAST this badly".
All I can say is thank God my last conversation with my mother was by phone, though that said, I'm sure she could sense the dagger looks and rolled eyes even across the mobile phone network. Apparently it's worth it because;
"You'll be a doctor!" - and this matters why? Ok, admittedly even I once considered this bit of status-slutting a perk. That time has long since passed.
"It'll be useful" - no, no it won't. I am going into a field in which it's barely relevant, and in which using even my title would confuse people. Unless I have a some sort of amnesia-inducing seizure and forget the horror that is academia, I can't see any circumstances under which I'd actually make use of this.
"Once it's written you'll have your PhD" - oh, the simplest of lies. Once it's done I get to; do endless corrections, have it torn to shreds by people who know more than I can ever hope to, if I'm lucky then do more corrections, and if I'm really lucky, pay for the privelege of having the final item gather dust on university shelves.
I think the only vaguely convincing reasons I've been given for continuing were offered by one of the postdocs I work with. He came up with;
Once it's done, you never have to do it again
Once it's done, you never have to look at it again
Once it's done, you can forget the torment and have some sort of life
These reasons I can stomach, even if they are a bit pathetic in terms of motivation.
Wow, busy times but you're all so close, well done!!! Hope all the medical stuff works out for you Al and Sue, not to mention the applications, vivas...... I agree with Sue as well, Al, unless there are concrete things you need to do (or health issues that shouldn't be pressured) then I'd get the viva over and done with, the thesis will be as fresh in your mind now as ever.
I'm writing up my last experimental chapter just now, everything's in first draft but at least the pages are starting to accumulate. But then I only have 3 weeks 'til I move across country to start the bloody masters, so I spend most of my time trying to find a home for my cat, chasing the CRB (without who's approval I can't do my required placements next month) and generally getting in a tis.
Hmmmm. Is it me or does anyone else feel the urge to just put their life completely on hold after this and become a bum for a little while?
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