(VERY) Close to submitting - amount of work?

posted
19-Nov-12, 09:56
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for spiderpig
posted about 8 years ago
I'm going to be submitting within the next few weeks (sounds scary writing it!) and I'm delighted at where I've got to, given that 18 months ago I was panicking about having no clear goals and a lack of focus.

I've almost got a thesis that's about the length expected for my type of PhD (needs a dozen or so more pages/couple of thousand words to bring it firmly into the camp) but I've got a slight niggle at the back of my mind - I don't feel I've put in nearly the amount of work that's needed, especially at this late stage.

Other people who have submitted recently were spending long days and weekends working on their thesis, but I've been able to do it by coming in 9-5(-ish) and balance it with other bits and pieces of admin/writing/non-PhD stuff that have been sent my way (as well as some procrastination...).

My supervisor thinks the story so far makes sense, my completed chapters are good, needing only a handful of relatively minor changes each. External people have also said they think my work is interesting and that I've "really got something", so the substance is obviously there.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same - having a thesis there almost ready to submit, but thinking that there's been nowhere near enough work in the final stretch compared to what others have put in?
posted
19-Nov-12, 10:12
Avatar for Batfink27
posted about 8 years ago
======= Date Modified 19 Nov 2012 10:13:21 =======
Oops, duplicate post, not sure how that happened!
posted
19-Nov-12, 10:12
Avatar for Batfink27
posted about 8 years ago
Hi Spiderpig

I'm in a very similar position - I'm hoping to submit in December, and while I am worried about getting it all done in time (I'm not quite as far forward as you, from the sounds of it) I have been having the same doubts about whether I've been putting enough hours in. I hear people talk about not having a life for months, and barely sleeping for weeks, but it hasn't been like that for me at all. Like you say, I have worked - but I've also done other stuff, like writing another paper and preparing for several job interviews, and I've also wasted more time than I should have on Facebook and other websites, and I've taken time off and gone to drink beer with my mates.

On the whole, though, I just think - well, I do work hard, and maybe what I've done is just worked steadily throughout, and it's a good thing that I'm not cracking up under the pressure of stupidly long hours. But that guilt niggles away. I wonder if it will all come back to haunt me in the viva, when the external's questions reveal the gaping holes in my knowledge. But it probably won't be like that. So, thanks for your post, because I'm really glad someone else feels the same way!
posted
19-Nov-12, 14:40
Avatar for Smoobles
posted about 8 years ago
Hi Spiderpig and Batfink,

I just wanted to say that I felt exactly how you feel before I handed in my thesis. Everyone had warned me about how stressful the writing process is, and how I might as well put my entire life on hold for the next 6 months, but it wasn't like that for me at all. That's not to say I didn't get stressed out by it, of course I did, but I managed to contain it pretty much Mon-Fri 9-5 without it having too much impact on my social life, hobbies, etc. I constantly worried I wasn't doing enough work, but I figured that if my supervisors were unhappy with my writing then they would have said so, so I just had to trust them and keep ploughing on. Even the day I submitted I was convinced I hadn't done enough and was sure my work would be ripped to shreds in the viva. But hey, I survived, and passed earlier this year with minor corrections, so turned out I was wrong and my supervisors were right!

If your supervisors are telling you the work is good enough for submission, then you have to believe them. Yes, some people find the writing up process really hard, but others (like me) find it a relatively smooth and easy process (I found actually doing the work was the hardest bit for me, and so the writing part came as a relief that it was almost all over!). I think it's difficult to compare yourself to others in the PhD process, as everyone's experience is very different, so don't worry if others seem to be 'working harder'. Just be grateful you're finding this bit fairly easy and be glad you're almost at the finishing line :-)
posted
19-Nov-12, 17:39
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 8 years ago
In the last few years of my part-time PhD, when I was doing the writing, I was on no more than 5 hours total study time a week. Those hours took the form of 1 hour bursts spread throughout the week. I had to work this way because of my severely disabling progressive neurological disease.

My supervisor always said to me what's important isn't the quantity of time you put in but the quality of the work you do. And to be honest if you've been doing it as a 9-5 job, even alongside some other admin/non-PhD things, that should be more than ample.

Trust your supervisor. And good luck for the final push (you are so nearly there!), and the viva afterwards.
posted
20-Nov-12, 08:57
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for screamingaddabs
posted about 8 years ago
So far in my PhD (just over 2 years in) I have not once worked at home. I work 9-5 as if it's a "normal" job. It kind of is for me as I'm an RA doing a PhD at the same time (the work is valid for both though so there isn't much extra on top of the RA stuff). Alright I'm not writing up, but my PhD is on track, my prof is happy with my work and I'm not that stressed about it. Obviously this works for some people like me and clearly you too. Others find that they would hate to work in this manner.

In general I would guess that you and I are in the minority - most PhDers seem to work at weekends/in the evening - some have to with experiments and such. Overall, I wouldn't worry. You shouldn't really ever compare your PhD to others as they are all so different. So long as the works good it doesn't matter how long it takes you.
posted
20-Nov-12, 10:20
by Kamtil
Avatar for Kamtil
posted about 8 years ago
Hi! I've been having nightmares about the time just before submitting (still a bit off for me) and wondering how I would fit it in with my childcare commitments etc. . So it's a great relief to hear that it doesn't have to be like the stories other people hear, it's all down to good organisation (up) I hope! Enjoy it and I'm sure it'll be fine if your supervisors are happy with your work!
posted
20-Nov-12, 11:35
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 8 years ago
Depends really, I am involved in a labour-intense project, and I work most evenings and weekends. Now that the fieldwork is over it is so much better. However, I always try to make time for exercise, my mates and holidays.

Good luck with your viva!
posted
12-Dec-12, 19:18
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for spiderpig
posted about 8 years ago
I thought I'd bump this up again to say that I finally submitted yesterday. A little over 50,000 words (computer science) and mostly done via normal working days.

I've already spotted a couple of things wrong, though - a typo and a word that's completely wrong (I'd renamed a concept to avoid ambiguity, but one instance got through the search+replace net) and now I'm thinking that if I'd worked longer, I could have spent more time weeding these out.

But on the other hand, they're not the sort of things a thesis is failed on (I hope!) so it's probably not worth me worrying!
posted
13-Dec-12, 19:54
edited about 23 seconds later
by mhmd
Avatar for mhmd
posted about 8 years ago
I shouldn't be reading this, because I didn't even settle on a topic. So I really don't belong here. But I don't think that a typo disvalues a thesis. Common, I've found typos in HBR articles (Harvard Business Review is the most well known management journal out there). And if it does, then I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I'm good in English but not a native speaker. I even make typos in my own language.
posted
13-Dec-12, 19:59
edited about 35 seconds later
by mhmd
Avatar for mhmd
posted about 8 years ago
Would be great if you kept us up to date about what happened to your thesis.

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