Competitiveness in Academia

posted
07-Jan-19, 13:18
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
Every day, I am figuring out that competitiveness in academia is so high. Of course, there are thousands of academician, but little who really made the impact through their outstanding research. My goal is to be prominent in my research as this was my goal since I was a young girl, I got a position as assistant lecturer at my home university which is not up to the standards and I worked with not competent professors. I travelled later, and then I found that I am not good at all and figured out that this goal is far beyond after being forced to leave my PhD by one year which is regarded as a black point in my portfolio.

I know maybe this quite off-topic, but I am now going to complete 28, and I didn't achieve what I was looking for, I am quite disappointed as when looking to female role-models' path were straight; I had some bumps in my life that made the delay. I wish I can know how to find a good lab, I wish to work with a really good professor.

The question is: How one could survive in academia beyond publications because there are thousands of crappy research and little who made a serious impact. I really passionate about learning, and exploring, I feel I am in a cage and I want to find the place where I belong, but I didn't yet, and I am afraid it is too late.
posted
08-Jan-19, 13:11
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 months ago
Hi monkia. I fully support you and wish you the best. Here comes the "but". I think you need a bit of personal development. You should accept your defeat in your last PhD. Thinking too much that you were brilliant and the supervisor was evil won't help anymore even if this is the truth. After a failure, we usually think it is not fair. Yes it can be unfair. But what is more important is what comes next. One important quality of strong persons, and I think you are one of them, is to know how to move on. Do not cry too much over the spilt milk. It is gone.
Going to the point of being 28. Oh my God, too old. Is this what you wanna hear? I knew persons finished their PhDs when they were 26. friends got their first child when they were 24. Everybody is different. I have crossed fourty and work in a job with people ten years younger and do the same job or even more senior roles. 28 is young. Actually very young. If you graduate at 23 and retire at 63, then you have passed 1/8 of your professional life. Forget about bullshit posts in social mdeia which say "Things you must do before 30" and role model stuff. You know what is worse than being 28 and not accomplishing what you "think you should have done"? Worst is wasting 20 years and being 48 and stands in the same position.
Now coming back to the PhD problem. If I were you, I would still apply but also I look for jobs that is related to lab or research. If you dream of a PhD, try not to end up jobless because you did not accept to lower your ambition. If you got a job, it adds to you financially and professionally and yu still can do a PhD later. All the best.
posted
08-Jan-19, 13:59
edited about 10 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
You reckon it's too late to make a meaningful impact at 28 ???
I'm sorry but that is quite frankly absolutely ridiculous.
You also seem to be intent on hammering yourself for every error you make.

People who don't understand the roles time and making mistakes plays in our lives are setting themselves up for a lifetime of failure and misery.

From looking at your history of posts, it is clear to me that the biggest obstacle you face isn't your circumstances, your age or mistakes you have made. It's your attitude to all of this. I don't mean this to sound like I'm having a go at you. It's a genuine attempt to try to help.

If you continue like this you are either going to have a complete breakdown or you are going to end up in your 40s with the same issues.
posted
08-Jan-19, 14:05
edited about 26 minutes later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
@pm133, I totally agree with you, and I dont know how to get out of this, yes I think my attitude is a bad, I am thinking I am cursed although I am very ambitious. What is the solution?
posted
08-Jan-19, 14:14
edited about 56 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From monkia:
@pm133, I totally agree with you, and I dont know how to get out of this, yes I think my attitude is a bad, I am thinking I am cursed although I am very ambitious.


You are not cursed and this isn't a problem of your level of ambition. You are simply being unreasonable with your expectations. You want everything to be perfect every day and you want everything to happen for you today.
You are assuming your career has to follow a path A-B-C and you are internally refusing to accept any deviation from that, with no experience or evidence to suggest your thoughts are correct. This is making your life miserable.

You should be asking your inner voice exactly why it is insisting that you should have had an impact at 28. Insist on an answer to this question. Almost nobody has an impact at that age. Why are you convinced then that you MUST have done so?

Same goes for the linear career path you talked about. Why does it need to be linear? Who is telling you this?

Both of these ideas are nonsense. If you can see that, you'll be a lot less stressed out.
posted
10-Jan-19, 20:41
edited about 3 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
@pm133, thanks so much for your advice! Actually, I think one of the problems I had is bipolar disorder and OCD, and getting bad-tempered because of that mental health. Sometimes, I feel so much energetic and ambitious, I think the only solution after settling down my situation is looking for a psychiatric counsellor.
posted
11-Jan-19, 16:59
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From monkia:
@pm133, thanks so much for your advice! Actually, I think one of the problems I had is bipolar disorder and OCD, and getting bad-tempered because of that mental health. Sometimes, I feel so much energetic and ambitious, I think the only solution after settling down my situation is looking for a psychiatric counsellor.


Have you been medically diagnosed for either of those conditions?
If so, have you been prescribed medication?
posted
11-Jan-19, 23:55
edited about 3 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
Yes, I had, but I didn't get a prescription, I just went to a psychoanalyst, and because I left the country because of my ex-PI, I stopped. Actually, this is because unpleasant events in our family I have witnessed when I was young and it affected me occasionally. I hope things getting better and for sure, I will go to psychiatric again.
posted
12-Jan-19, 17:40
Avatar for AlphaOmega
posted about 2 months ago
Hi Monkia how are you? Fellow bipolar here (hence my name).

I have been following your posts with recognition, not at the practical circumstances but at the way you respond to what life throws you.that obsessive circular though... well hello twin! :)

Gosh that could have been me at 28. Not so much the circumstances, as I said, but the circularity the feeling of being on the wrong path, being no-one, being trapped!

I started a PhD with a top prof in top institution in my field and just could not cope with it.

Don't get me wrong, I was good, but I realised that it was truly damaging for my mental health.

At 28 I said "EFF YOU" to academia :) . So, I was lucky enough to find a job I liked and move out of academia. I even met somebody and we are happy ever after (well... within reason)

Now, fast forward a decade or two, and with a family and I went back to PhD studies. Not the same topic as by then I had developed a research interest in another field.

And, boy, wasn't it hard. Again, not the work per se but the effect it has on my mental health. This time I was better at controlling it, and I managed not to be sectioned and finish my PhD in 3 yrs on the dot. I passed with a handful of typos only and I am now working at my first monograph and a collection of essays and I have an interesting research-related industry job whilst applying for a grant with a top institution in my field.

I am almost the stereotypical bipolar, I have so many ideas and have highly functional mania so I can just get on and do it... I have published five articles whilst writing my thesis plus shorter news type pieces, blogs, the flipping lot. You sound like you are like me, incredibly talented in some ways but a complete IDIOT in other ways (TBC)
posted
12-Jan-19, 17:52
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for AlphaOmega
posted about 2 months ago
I am telling you my story as an older human being to let you know that 28 is just the beginning.

What is really important is to get well mentally - I would not have been able to go through the PhD without the support of my family, my o/h and the kids.

They helped me the most by making me STOP writing STOP obsessing STOP sitting in front of the screen with diminishing returns (I can do 18 hours days for quite a bit before sleeping for a week). STOP STOP STOP.

I just want to say something else about medications and being diagnosed.

I spent a good part of my early 20s on meds and dozed off my face thanks to cheap psychiatry. I had to interrupt my degree course because of that.

As soon as I to better I had the luck to be referred to an excellent psych who got me out of the meds and helped me with a combination of talking therapy and exercise. I know it's a bit of a cliche but it really helps. You need to get to a point where you are semi-well to be able to do it though. When I am in the deep depression I cannot do it.

These days I hardly need to medicate and my suggestion would be, try to get the best care you can and be somehow wary of medication: if you are highly functional, like me, medications take the "edge" away but take also away something that makes you you.

I wish you all the best of luck. Bon courage!
posted
15-Jan-19, 13:30
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
Dear @AlpaOmega, I read your answer with passion and indeed we seem to be twins! Of course, finding a good psychiatric is important and avoiding medication as some people recommend me this! But I will not hide bipolar and OCD is spoiling my life sometimes and steal a huge amount of time even in learning or repeating many times something I knew for many years! I know it sounds horrible, but I am fighting as much as I can.


According to your decision to stop and start while you have a family! I don't know as I am still single and caring my family remotely! However, I do think recently, the most important thing is finding another good professor where I can restore my passion! I do like the voluntary works so much! I feel happy! However, I am stuck to the current meaningless position to afford money for my living in the recent moment!


I think the best thing is training our mind to be positive! But as I mentioned having some mental diseases and some events in the past sometimes do attacks, but indeed really to find the right track again.

I am so happy for you that you have the life you want! I am wishing for you the peace of mind and happiness as well. Thanks so much for your advice indeed it made cheer up.
posted
17-Jan-19, 10:19
edited a moment later
Avatar for Keziapuvvula
posted about 2 months ago
Hi Monika,
I just saw your post. 60% of the women around you have failed in some or the other kind, but not all have given up.
My case, I was a brilliant student, always used to dream high. I studied well and coped up for the best university. But did not get placed there, the most depressing situation. I did not give up. Tried, tried and tried and got placed on the last day of my university, not in a big MNC but a small startup. they offered me very less pay. I wanted to fly for further studies, my parents said no. I stopped there, took up my job as the profession God wanted me in. I shined there, got the first promotion. My manage was a women hater. He used to make me work till night 11pm. My parents started worrying and I have to resign. Still, attended interviews, got a job in a little big firm, very happy with pay and life. Then there came recession. my team was 70, was reduced to 7. I was not laid off. It was my marriage, I had to leave the job, mean while I got one as a Plant engineer in a central Government firm, but my husband lives in USA, worked for 6 months and left to US as dependent. No work permit, a break of 2.6 years. Joined back in the same field, but things are different now. I had a kid who is 1.6 yrs old. Could not manage work pressure and take care of my baby. Took long leave, by Gods will and my husbands encouragement, took Master' and excelled it, received a Gold Medal. Got offers from colleges, took up one, started teaching and found myself passionate about research, university encouraged too. I did a bit research, (drop in an ocean). Published my work in reputed journals.My husband has shifted to UK. Again Break, (PhD) my passion, not easy. So, freelancing, research assistance, PhD trials, this way I am struggling now.
Don't give up dear!
Where there is a will, there is a way!! Good luck!!! Trust in God, he shows you the way. I believe this!! Your efforts and confidence in yourselves are more than necessary. Dont bother about people!! all five fingers are not of same length!!
posted
19-Jan-19, 10:33
edited about 5 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
Hi @Keziapuvvula, your story is absolutely inspiring and I can imagine how is your character after going through the challenge, I am happy that in the end figured out your goal in the life and finding the right people to support you.


In the end, I think it isn't about gender, it is more about mentality, however, I think the most important is having the right people and environment that could recorrect you in your path. Currently, I am still perceiving and discovering myself, although I am teaching at the university, I think I can do more than that, I am still missing this piece of passion, so I wish every man or woman can find the right people, opportunities.

Wishing for you all the good luck.
posted
21-Jan-19, 20:57
Avatar for Keziapuvvula
posted about 2 months ago
True Monika!! Am very happy that you are recovering!! Any help you can always mail me!!

Most of the times, we cope up with courage and after few days, drop back again!! Dont do that!!
Inspite, enhance your will power more and more!!
Wish you a good luck mate!!

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