Major corrections and no financial support! :-(

posted
31-Dec-17, 18:21
edited about 2 minutes later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hello,

I am facing extreme financial difficulties since having the outcome of Major corrections in October. My thesis was submitted in early July, at the time my funding ran out, with my viva in October. I've since survived on savings which are now depleted.

I originally planned to start a new, challenging position straight after my viva. This would've combined my Chemistry background and distributed computing research with Machine Learning, which is a signicant but totally new area for me. However, when I had recieved major corrections, I was not able to cope with the workload -- in particular learning a new field whilst doing my corrections at the same time. The stress was too much to do both, and also look after an ill mother. I have since done a substantial part of my corrections but I face financial ruin. I was unable to postpone the start of the position with the university until January, but only by 3 weeks which didn't fix the situation.

My university and department, despite having ample financial resources, haven't at all been understanding of the situaton, and although I requested work, for instance in marking, or programming related projects, before Christmas, nothing has turned up.

It's totally shocking to have ended up in this situation, if I had known this would happen I may have not embarked on a PhD as I am unable to get financial support from family. I emailed the Leverhulme trust, as I completed a Pharmacy degree in 2011, but they flat out refused to help me.

I have slightly more work to do on my corrections and I would like to start actively looking for work shortly.
In the meantime I am panicking because I have little money for daily living.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

J
posted
31-Dec-17, 19:16
edited about 26 minutes later
by helebon
Avatar for helebon
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi J,

Have you done a search on the Alternative Guide to postgraduate funding? https://www.postgraduate-funding.com/

Charity and foundation funding. You would need to register to do a search, but as you are already connected to a university this shouldn't be a problem to do.

You might be able to claim Carer's Allowance for looking after your mother.

You might be able to claim JSA, when doing the corrections. As long as you are job hunting, which you have been by what you mentioned.

If your status with the university is no longer a full-time student you might be able to claim council tax benefit due to low income (or no income) and no savings. But this depends on your situation and who else you live with.

Good luck.
posted
31-Dec-17, 19:49
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 weeks ago
Thanks Helebon, I'll look into those things.

Best wishes,
J
posted
31-Dec-17, 22:08
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 3 weeks ago
Don't want to be rude but get a job? Lots of students have to juggle writing up without financial help.
posted
01-Jan-18, 05:26
edited about 7 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 weeks ago
If you have run out of money, the priority must be to start looking for work right now and attempt to get registered for Job Seekers Allowance.
That needs to be done right now because JSA might take some weeks to come through (6 weeks?)
For a quick job turnaround, I would advise you start phoning call centres today. You should be able to pick up something.
You will then need to fit your writeup around any job you get.
This isn't a great situation to be in but I can't see an alternative.

You need to cover bills and food in the meantime. The DWP should be able to help advise you. As far as I know there is help available for emergencies.

It's a real shame you weren't able to take up that job you were describing which was presumably a postdoc. It appears our backgrounds are very similar and this is an area I am also interested in. Hope you get things sorted out.
posted
01-Jan-18, 14:05
edited about 53 minutes later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 weeks ago
I'm currently looking for work and finishing corrections simoultaneously. I guess I will have to apply for JSA in the meantime, although I've always tried to avoid using such services.

At the end of the day, there is a culture of of people saying oh, so what you're writing up, but this should not be the case that funding ceases, especially when candidates have come so far, and especially after making such financial sacrifices. In my department, practically all of the PhD students have their write-up funded, but this doesn't extend to corrections, even if just 2-3 months more of funding would avoid the problem,
posted
01-Jan-18, 15:55
by helebon
Avatar for helebon
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi J,
If I was in your shoes I would apply for JSA for the time being and housing benefit if I needed it, that's what it's there for.

I know of a funded PhD.student who had the 3-year stipend but was advised (by other students) to make the money last for at least four years. They claimed JSA, so it's not uncommon.
posted
01-Jan-18, 19:15
Avatar for chantedsnicker
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi there, please don't be too proud to apply for JSA - That's what it's there for.
I found myself out of work for the summer before starting my PhD and quite honestly JSA really helped while I was sorting myself out with some part-time shop work as a stop gap.

If you don't want to find a career type job while you're writing up, there are certainly other avenues to explore that you could do temporarily. Personally, I was looking for retail, bar work or something animal care related. The shop work came up and it felt like a very nice career break!
posted
01-Jan-18, 19:57
edited about 22 seconds later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 weeks ago
Thank you so much everyone, your kind and supportive messages have really lifted my spirits. I guess I shouldn't be so proud and make use of any resources I can during this difficult time.

Thanks again and Happy New Year :-)
posted
02-Jan-18, 12:15
Avatar for mblack977
posted about 3 weeks ago
Currently doing my PhD with no financial support. I work full time and write at night and the weekend. I have a two year old also. It is pain for a short period of time and then you can go and get that job you want.
posted
02-Jan-18, 13:36
edited about 19 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi Jamie_Wizard, happy new year and sorry to hear of your woes but chin up - you'll get through it! Best advice I can think of is get a job that isn't at all mentally taxing - even if its minimum wage - data entry, shop work, call centre, production line, cleaning... work enough hours to cover your expenses and spend the rest of the time (evenings, weekends - more if you can afford it/live on less money) working on your corrections.

Personally I find that when engaging in work that isn't mentally demanding my mind can work on other things - and when I return to my work I have actually made progress somehow even without directly working on it. You may even find that you are actually MORE productive this way than if you had funding to support you in these months and were focused entirely on the corrections.

If your optimal working hours are in the morning, then you may be able to find something on a zero hours contract that allows you do later shifts. I used to do 2pm till 10pm and spend mornings studying. I was highly productive back then!

Keep us posted on how it all goes,

Best
Tudor
posted
02-Jan-18, 13:40
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 weeks ago
Also - if you are doing something like a zero hours contract/agency work it will easy to drop it when something else comes along - something's bound to pop up in your department in the new year. And yes - defo agree - JSA will help ends meet in the meantime (and I think you can have it backdated it too, marvellously).

Best of luck
Tudor
posted
03-Jan-18, 07:07
edited about 13 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi Jamie_Wizard, I'm really sorry to learn about your difficulties and hope you can find some reasonable work while you go through the corrections stage. Other posters have offered some very supportive and helpful advice. I'm actually in Bournemouth right at this moment tapping this message on my phone in my sister's spare bedroom so please excuse typos and punctuation. I'm visiting the UK not living here so my practical advice would be pretty limited i think. However , I do hope you can find suitable work and those corrections are less onerous in practice than they first appear.

When i first read my second examiners corrections they seemed significant and disheartening , but after a few days distance from them , well they are not as overwhelming they first seem. I'm wondering if this is how it will be with you. Once you have some work and are settled financially it might not take as long as you think to do them? Anyway best of luck with the financial situation and hope the new year is a happy and prosperous one which results in a great Phd. P.
posted
03-Jan-18, 11:05
Avatar for timefortea
posted about 2 weeks ago
I don't think it is particularly beneficial NOT to have a job while doing the corrections. I worked during writing up and doing corrections (and have three small children). Yes, it was hard sometimes but it also kept me focussed. If the job you had was too stressful then maybe look for something easy for these next few months. Good luck!
posted
11-Jan-18, 17:40
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 1 week ago
Thanks for the suggestions. An update: My university won't issue me a letter stating I'm no longer a student -- even though my enrolment ended late September (viva in October), and this was only extended for me to use the library and my office. This is problematic because my funding ended in Summer. I'm currently actively seeking work, and have finished the bulk of my corrections. The difficulty is juggling the remaining part (which is quite tedious and complex), looking after my mother (who has now been hospitalised temporarily), and finding work :-( Trying to remain positive and focused, though it is hard.

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