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tru
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 at 11:28am
Thursday, 21 February 2019 at 8:39am
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page 1 of 19 recent posts

Thread: Quitting during 2nd year? (UK)

posted
21-Feb-19, 08:39
by tru
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posted about 2 days ago
2ndyearphd,

You mentioned that

- you have hated it really since the beginning
- currently at the stage where you are crying most days and even the thought of it is making you feel sick
- don't really like your supervisor

However, you did not mention anything about your future. Do you want to pursue an academic career? If you don't, that in combination with all the things you mention previously would convince me that the best thing for you is probably to go. Please think carefully before you make a decision.

Thread: Weird Interview, is it common in academia?

posted
18-Feb-19, 05:28
edited about 52 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 5 days ago
Quote From monkia:
@sisyphus, I do agree with you, the professor expressed his interest in the presentation and the work he mentioned it was deep, but in this interview, I was expecting what I do think about X topic and so on. Actually I was anxious as he asked me what made you top student in undergraduate, I mentioned my late Mom and I was about to cry, I was very anxious and I was hearing like nothing, but in the end I answered those trivial questions like I was very stupid and dump, so I think I screwed everything up and he was looking to me in a non-good way.

About the confidence, I have to declare something makes my confidence undermined because of my previous experience, it was horrible and no one can understand the pain I was in and all types of humiliation and racism I have been exposed to. I am afraid to have the same experience, besides I see many stories of other students who had also awful experience. I got my masters, but if was exhausting mentally and physically, yes there a huge sacrifice in research and lose your social life at some point, that's why I wish to find the good place where I can restore also my social life and doing interesting research.


monkia,
I refer to many previous posts and comments. You need to take a break from looking for a PhD. Your mental state is very worrying and you are near breaking point if you are not there already. Take some time off, maybe even a couple of months or more. This should give you time to recover your self confidence and sort out your anxiety and negative emotions. You could also work as a RA instead of a PhD student to build your lab skills again. Rest and try again.

Thread: First months of PhD and already thinking of quitting

posted
18-Feb-19, 05:19
edited about 2 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 5 days ago
Hi, hinderka,

Talk to your supervisor about the main hypothesis and objectives of your project. Then talk about your main time lines and what trainings you need to address them. Maybe even ask to be matched with a lab buddy. Do you have a second supervisor, maybe a postdoc in the group? Yes, a PhD student is supposed to be work independently but that is to be expected maybe in the third year when you have been trained for the first two.

Have you had a look around and see how other PhD students fare in this group? What is the completion rate of previous PhD students? Did they mostly complete or suddenly left? Is your group supportive and do you get to meet your supervisor once a week to discuss ideas and project progress? Or are you basically left to your own devices to swim or sink?

I believe very strongly in gut feelings. If your gut feeling is that this project/supervisor/lab is wrong for you, you may be right. The earlier you decide on this the better. That doesn't mean you should quit your phd. It just means that you should probably consider another project/supervisor/lab. If you still want to pursue a career in academia, you could start looking around for a more suitable one. If you no longer wish to pursue an academic life, hey, it's not the end of the world, just start applying for jobs.

Thread: Do I quit in my third year?

posted
17-Feb-19, 21:42
by tru
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posted about 5 days ago
Perhaps you may consider wrapping up as a master and looking for a job outside of academia? Continuing a PhD when you are so fed up and uninterested and not planning to have a career in academia isn't really helpful to your well-being.

Thread: Can I defer starting?

posted
17-Feb-19, 21:38
edited about 24 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 5 days ago
I think that you may annoy your supervisor and potentially have a pretty unpleasant PhD as a result if you intend to delay your PhD by a year after getting it. Supervisors normally have very limited funding and may be relying on papers generated from your PhD to get the grants for the following year. Hence, delay start = no paper = no grant = unhappy supervisor.

I would suggest being up front about it, even if it means that you may be discriminated against. When you have been offered a verbal offer, tell the supervisor along the lines that you want to check with him if he is ok with you starting later. If he says he can't wait, then that is your answer. Since you are not in a hurry, you can then look at other opportunities during your maternity leave.

Thread: PhD dilemma

posted
06-Feb-19, 09:51
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Do the masters but maybe considering reporting the fraud data to the university and the journal that they have submitted the data too. Make sure you have all the evidence to back up your claims. Otherwise, just let go and move on with your life.

Thread: Not sure if I should transfer?

posted
06-Feb-19, 09:48
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From koopa_beach:
Hi. I formed a project with a supervisor in order to get funding. However, funding went to someone who performed better in interview. Because I liked the project, though, I applied for funding from elsewhere and received a full grant. However, I'm not sure if I made the right choice as I perhaps could've used that funding at a higher-ranked institution with more of a research culture. I'm at an ex-poly (top 50).
I was keen to get onto the project, though, and really liked the supervisor's previous work. They had written extensively about my very niche topic and they know all the top names in the field. They are also doing research now that is related to this area and want to include me in it.
However, I can't get over the feeling I could be at a more prestigious place - I received top marks for BA and MA. A contact said she 'wouldn't do her PhD there'. I do like the supervisor and we get on well, though, and I like the person who got the initial studentship. Should I see if I can transfer to a bigger institution using my grant (perhaps there are one or two people who could supervise) or just carry on and make the most of my funding here? I can't seem to get over the fact I (possibly) could've used grant money for pretty much anywhere, depending on if I got a PhD place.

Thanks


Quality supervisor triumphs university reputation. Ask your contact why she won't do her PhD there. Get more info. Is it the management style? Or that the supervisor has a really horrible attitude? Get more info. If there is something wrong with the supervisor, change to a different one. You hold the cards with your grant and can go anywhere.

Thread: Please help - considering formal complaint against University.

posted
06-Feb-19, 09:36
edited a moment later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hello, Gemma,

I am completely confused as to what you want to get out of this complaint? A new PhD scholarship? A sense of justice?

Also, you were lightly challenged on your tweet and your immediate response was to admit defeat, apologise, delete the tweet and say you do not want to cause trouble. Without knowing you, are you sure that you have the persistence to go through a formal complain with the university which would take months and many meetings of you talking to various people of various uni departments who will fob you to another person all the time? What if you need to present your case to the graduate school head, can you do that? Would you stand up and have the guts to continue to knock on doors if the uni goes silent on your complaint? Do think properly.

Blog: Are PhDs meant to be this stressful?

posted
06-Feb-19, 09:22
edited about 29 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
No, PhDs are NOT meant to be this stressful and Yes you have overcommitted yourself.

So you need to prioritise. These are my suggestions. The decision is ultimately yours.

1) Conference committee - Use your position as chair to whip your committee into shape. Delegate work and set deadline. Get new people on board to replace those who do not perform. No one can mention this on CV if they just piggy back and did not contribute. You may not be well-liked when everything is over, but hey, at least the job is done.

2) Lab equipment - Yup, this sounds like a MAJOR priority. Get your data generated ASAP. Is this an equipment that belongs to the supervisor who is moving? Then yes, get your sh!t done now. Everything else is secondary.

3) Paper for supervisor - Talk to your supervisor about the lab equipment issue and write "manuscript in preparation" rather than "submitted/accepted" on the grant application. You have your PhD to complete. You don't even know if the funding will be successful (Most aren't anyway, sad reality). So to plan and say that this is for your postdoc, when you are not certain you will get the funding but in the process put aside your own PhD which you have higher probability of getting is unwise. If you are delayed in your PhD and the supposed funding for the supposed postdoc position comes through, will your supervisor wait for you or hire another postdoc? Go figure. Her priority is for her paper to save her own career, not you.

4) Supervisor leaving - Not sure which supervisor this is, but I assume this is the secondary one on paper. But, is she your primary one when it actually comes to getting experienced supervisory input, trouble shooting, and gaining methods and lab equipment. If yes, I would consider moving with her if possible. To lose one year is better than to lose an entire PhD due to lack of supervisor's guidance. Unless of course that your remaining supervisor is awesome.

Thread: Weird Interview, is it common in academia?

posted
06-Feb-19, 08:51
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
I see it as a massive red flag. It hints at the role (I am assuming this is a new PhD studentship) will include doing PA(personal assistant) sorta work like arranging schedules and organising classes. So basically, you will be doing other things BUT your PhD. Not a good sign. I had a friend who when interviewed for a postdoc position was asked how good she was at proofreading manuscripts. Why? Because she was a native English speaker and the potential supervisor's massive group of students and postdocs weren't fluent in English and were having problems when submitting articles. She saw it as a red flag that THAT was all that she would be doing instead of leading her own project and did not take the job. I think her decision was right.

Thread: I am pondering whether to Tell the truth that I was a first year PhD student for future interviews

posted
23-Jan-19, 21:05
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
If PIs have good PhD projects with good funding and expected great outcome, they will want to get the best PhD student they can find. In other words, they are very unlikely to take a chance on someone with a history of giving up their PhD midway, especially if they have other candidates with similar qualifications to choose from. Try seeing from their perspective.

Your decision to reveal your past is yours alone to make. Just understand that there might be some prejudice if you reveal it and so deal with it. They will of course want to talk to your past supervisor about you and who can blame them for wanting to know about why the last PhD didn't work out? Also, your reference may have also been put on a hard spot when asked if they knew of any reason you may stop a PhD.

My suggestion on a best way forward is to get a job, as an RA in a suitable lab group and then work hard to show your worth before applying for a PhD in that group. This way, they know you and will not ask about your past or reference. You will also know the supervisor and will unlikely make the past mistake of choosing a bad supervisor.

Thread: PhD topic not as expected

posted
21-Jan-19, 21:59
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
You are highlighting all the hallmarks of a potential bad PhD. Lack of PhD structure, no direction, complete dependence on another project, no supervisory or lab support and no materials.

I prefer to tell PhD students to trust their gut feeling. You felt that this was a bad decision. You may be right in this case. You are early in your PhD and it is easy for you to change to another project with another supervisor. Perhaps it may be time for you to start talking to other PhD students and supervisors to identify a new project and direction for yourself.

I don't believe in waiting because in all the cases I have seen and from what I experience, bad projects never change to become a good or excellent one. At best, a bad project just becomes an "ok-can-somewhat-be-considered-as-PhD-material" and at worst, the poor student fails the PhD at the end despite all the efforts to rescue it.

Thread: Quitting a PhD - How to do it?

posted
21-Jan-19, 21:49
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
How to quit? Just tell your current supervisor that this PhD is not for you and that you quit. Apologize and thank her for her time and wish her the best for the future. There are more students than PhD positions so she should be able to get another very quickly.

You do not need to tell her where you are going. Some grudgeful profs contact the new employer or PhD supervisor to badmouth their former student. You don't want that. Quiting is usually pretty immediate after you inform verbally and then send an email to your uni. Maybe you need to tidy up your desk and lab feezer, but all in all, you should leave the place in a few days tops. Meanwhile, you can get a temp job till you start your new PhD.

Thread: Motivational advice

posted
20-Jan-19, 12:10
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From orchid11:
Hi! I've just started my phd 3 months ago in a different field from my masters, moved to another country and feeling already low and overwhelmed perhaps by the culture differences. I've finished my project outline and has kind of a plan of what to do. But the problem is, I'm not sure how to approach it, because the techniques are totally new to me. I try to read up a lot but when I seen other people starting on their project although they started the same time as me, I feel like I'm stuck. There is this constant feeling that I'm not as smart as others although I should not feeling that way. I used to be really cheerful and happy but after starting this phd I feel like I'm not myself. I'm not sure if this is a common situation or do others feel the same way as me too?


Starting a PhD itself is hard, let alone in a new country. Give yourself some time to adjust. On learning the techniques, could you ask an experienced technician or postdoc to show you the ropes? Reading and practical are two different things and you can learn so much quicker in person. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Thread: Major Corrections questions! Contacting old supervisor?

posted
20-Jan-19, 12:05
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
In my uni, minor = 3months, major = 6 months. So you are alright.

If you are unclear about any comment from your external, then you can contact them. But you are not allowed to ask back and forth on your answers to their questions and comments.

Ask you current supervisory team before you contact your old supervisor, just to be sure that they are happy with it.

Most people with major corrections do get through. Revise and resubmit is a more tricky position to be in. I have only heard of one student whose correction got rejected and she ended up with a master but I do not know the details at all as it was way before my time. Not in the UK by the way.
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