Accepted a PhD for next year, but am i good enough?

posted
21-Jan-15, 12:55
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for academicadam47
posted about 4 years ago
I applied for a PhD studentship at Cardiff University just before Xmas, got through the application stage and went for an interview in early Jan. I thought it went okay, but was really surprised when i got a reply saying that i had been accepted. Pursuing a PhD is something that i always have wanted to do so i'm over the moon!!

However, despite getting a First Class Honours at my undergraduate degree, averaging about 75% I'm really struggling with the my current MA course. Espeically in one module which is worth 40 credits, and is a key module for undertaking research, and thus is essential for my PhD. I think i may have presumed that i should get a Distinction because of what i achieved in my BA degree, and i'm really worrying that i may not be able to achieve a good grade towards the end of this course that will make me suitable for my PhD for next year.

It's making me feeling extremely low and depressed and i have this feeling of being inadequate, constantly worrying over my work, stress out too much. I had to take a year out during my undegrad because i was so burned out with the course. I don't want my marks define me, but i don't want to start this PhD programme and then for my (to-be) supervise to find out that i only achieved, for example a Merit or a Pass.

Does anyone feel this way?

I might be putting pressure on myself to produce 'perfect' work; this is only because i want a career in academia!! Or should i just focus on getting the work done, doing what i can and not obsessing over the marks. I really want to achieve a Distinction, but don't think that will happen :/

Maybe in my mindset i feel that a PhD requires a 1st, and a Distinction at undegrad and posgrad level.
posted
21-Jan-15, 13:32
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 4 years ago
hi adam congratulations on your phd studentship! please do not torture yourself with worry, worry will not bring you any good.

I have seen successful phd applicants with much lesser results, not even a distinction at undergrad or postgrad. The important part is what you learn from your undergrad and MA that will help you in your PhD, which should give you an advantage and an impetus to carry on with your PhD -- however worrying about whether you are good enough or even entertaining thoughts about whether you are good enough, it is a complete waste of time and energy.

Don't worry about your supervisor finding out that you only got a merit or a pass, that won't matter, you already won the studentship! Just get on with it.

I am sorry to hear that you had to take a year out during your undergrad, people do suffer from burn out, please please move on, don't bring this emotional baggage with you to your phd.

Look at your phD as a new START, a new beginning. Just move forward.

You need to appreciate yourself, instead of demeaning yourself by thinking you're not good enough. Be kind to yourself, surround yourself with positive thoughts, positive people, do something nice for yourself! Love yourself

best of luck and wishing you well
love satchi
posted
21-Jan-15, 21:07
edited about 1 hour later
by Pjlu
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 4 years ago
Great advice from Satchi, which will be incredibly helpful to you throughout the PhD.

Mine will take a different tack based on my own experiences going from Undergrad, to Masters to PhD.. The research aspect is going to be challenging for most people no matter how well you have done in undergrad studies. Many of us have achieved high results in undergrad subjects and post grad course work subjects, only to be stymied by the different nature of research and writing for a thesis or dissertation.

This then leads to doubt and sometimes a lowered sense of self esteem or identity-should I really be doing this? Maybe only the smart people who don't seem to struggle should be the ones doing this. It is all just our own self doubt and defence mechanisms kicking in. (I'm not a psychologist by the way-so I'm talking from experience and the 'layman' angle here-my terminology may be a little inaccurate but hopefully you will get what I mean by this).

Impostor syndrome seems to strike most people in this game. But really the PhD is a matter of hard work, organisation, attention to detail (about your topic that is), more hard work and endless graft when it comes to writing and thinking and learning how to express your thoughts about what it is you have observed, critiqued or are hypothesising.

If you were accepted to do a PhD, then your interviewers and the people who looked at your application clearly thought you were up to it. Who are you to doubt them :) ? No really, it will have challenges, but you take them one step at a time and just keep on believing that you can do it. And you obviously can. And to go back to Satchi's advice-remember to work on the 'self-care' aspect. Doing a PhD is hard work and you need to be gentle on yourself at times as well. Good luck and congratulations! :)
posted
22-Jan-15, 07:51
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 years ago
If you've already been accepted for your PhD, then you've been accepted on the basis of the qualifications, skills and qualities you already have. My final result for my Masters came in after I'd been accepted for my PhD, and to my knowledge no-one connected with my PhD has ever seen or asked for my Masters results! As others have said, uncertainty and self-doubt are very common feelings connected with starting a PhD, and in no way indicate that you're not a strong enough student.
posted
22-Jan-15, 09:58
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
There's already been some good advice given, so all I'll add is most people will find sometime in their lives they come across a stumbling block they struggle to get past. In your case, you already have a 1st class degree, on the basis of which they've accepted you outright. You're struggling with one unit of your Masters and that's not the end of the world. Do the best you can, get your pass mark and move on.

If a Desmond like me (albeit backed up later with Masters) can obtain a PhD with minor corrections, you'll have nothing to worry about.

Ian
posted
25-Feb-15, 23:40
by chen
Avatar for chen
posted about 4 years ago
Congratulation! You much have a good Phd proposal already. I have all modules with distinction so far but I don't have a good topic for the proposal. I am still struggling with it! Can you share your experience of how you prepare your proposal? I am NOT asking about your topic, but just the experience you have. Thanks :)
posted
26-Feb-15, 16:59
edited about 9 minutes later
Avatar for verdimusicfan60
posted about 4 years ago
In reference to the proposal topic, make sure you're passionate about the area of study. You will be spending years with it, researching articles for the literature review, and even with today's databases, it's a lot of work.
posted
26-Feb-15, 17:06
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for verdimusicfan60
posted about 4 years ago
In reference to the proposal topic, make sure you're passionate about the area of study. You will be spending years with it, researching articles for the literature review,.and even with today's databases, it's a lot of work.
posted
26-Feb-15, 17:10
edited about 12 seconds later
by Eds
Avatar for Eds
posted about 4 years ago

Maybe in my mindset i feel that a PhD requires a 1st, and a Distinction at undegrad and posgrad level.


Wrong. That is a mindset encouraged by a system that 'marks'- which you will be leaving.

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