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MHarry

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  1. @Hope.for.the.best Excellent to hear....everyone has their formula to cope with stress, and it is amazing how easy it is to get in a "rut" and stop doing the things that help cope with stress, and put every hour possible into work. For example, during my MSc degree, I discovered that in periods of HIGH stress I needed to do three things 1) spend time with my girlfriend, 2) exercise (running, mountain biking etc.), and 3) make more efforts to hangout with friends. Every single part of me tells me NOT to do those things and just focus on work. Howvever, over time I have improved on making an effort to keep those things as part of my routine no matter how difficult or how much work is on your plate...doing things that you enjoy and make you happy does take time away from work...BUT it will put you in a better mood and I guarantee that you will work better/more efficiently overall. Stress is OK, but a PhD (no matter how amazing you are) is not worth anxiety and depression....remember that. Graduate students sometimes forget that its important to have fun as well... This is not to gloat, but I'm just using myself as an example. I am half way through my PhD, I go into my lab ~2-3 days a week (or more if we are collecting data etc.). Usually work from home on the other days, I take ~3-4 months off for vacation a year (some of this time I'll put in 1-2 hours a day to get the urgent things done though), exercise and do activities as I please, and I have already completed all my thesis projects and I have 30 publications...will likely have ~50-60 when I'm done. This is because I'm in a good mindset, have fun, enjoy myself, but when I work I work my ass off, I'm efficient, and on-point. It is amazing how efficient someone works when they are in a good mindset. During my MSc I was trying to put all hours of the day into my projects, which I now know it was a mistake. Yes, I was putting a ton of hours in, but I was in-efficient and sluggish. Something to think about ;).
  2. Stress is a good thing in my opinion, but only if it is under control and not debilitating. As crude as this sounds, I think that you should not go on disability, and try to find some coping mechanisms. Maybe leave the thesis for a week or two and try to incorporate some activities (e.g. running, biking, go away for a weekend etc.) that will help you cope with the stress. It's important to push yourself when you are stressed so you get more used to it and learn how to cope with it. After your thesis, things don't become less stressful....of course, after you are finished you will feel relief, but in future jobs and life in general you will encounter periods of high-stress and work volume that you will need to deal with and will not have the luxury of going on stress leave (e.g. having a child). I'm not trying to be inconsiderate, my entire family suffers from depression and anxiety, and so far, I am the only one in my entire family that is not on anti-anxiety or depression meds. I attribute this to learning how to cope during times of stress...and over time, you will be able to handle more and more work without feeling stressed.
  3. I think that this will largely depend on how your school wants your thesis formatted. Every university is different, for instance, at my University they wanted a large document and then the accepted published manuscript at the end of the thesis as an appendix.
  4. Sorry OP, your post is kind of difficult to follow. Does your thesis consist of one paper that you are currently trying to publish? It sounds like you are doing a PhD right now since you mentioned a post-doc position, however, I am unsure since most PhD's thesis consist of multiple research projects. Please clarify? Based on the above info, all I can say is that there is a home for everything. I have been surprised both by papers that have gotten accepted vs papers that have gotten rejected. for instance, recently I had a paper published that I thought there was NO chance that it was going to get into that journal, whereas earlier this year I had a paper that I thought would FOR SURE at least go to review in a specific journal and it got triaged within 24 hours. Moral of the story is that its always a bit of a crapshoot, and as long as the science isn't completely fundamentally flawed, it will find a home....hell, I've had one paper that got rejected 7-8 times prior to getting accepted! This paper I probably put the most hours into it, but it is in the lowest impact journal out of my publications....however, I view it as a (painful) learning experience. Persistence is key my friend. Keep your chin up and good luck!
  5. ^I haven't read one post from that person that has made any sense what so ever, please don't boot him out though, very entertaining....
  6. ^who is this guy lol Imagine reading a thesis of incoherent bullet points....good lord.
  7. MHarry

    job vs PhD after MSc

    All depends on your end goal....a PhD in no way guarantees you a better job...or even a job at all! But, it does open more doors for you and it will provide you with a more advanced skill set. For me, I didn't think twice about doing a PhD after my MSc (with a significant student debt), since I wanted to pursue a teaching/research career. Additionally, through winning several unexpected scholarships and grants I have been able to pay off my entire student debt (2 years into my PhD), so yes, the PhD salary is low, but you can't forget about the pots of small scholarship $$ that you will be able to hit. View the PhD as an OK paying job...while you are getting an education....how many people have opportunities to get an advanced degree WHILE getting paid to do it!? But again, it all depends on what your end goal is.
  8. Hi OP, Congratulations on being accepted! I have experience working with a few different labmates that have anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, I would like to share with you a story to help outline my advice. I had a friend that used to be a PhD student in our laboratory, but recently she went on medical leave in order to sort out her mental health. She came from a lab where she was considered the "go to" person, but when she came to our lab, she was bottom of the totem pole for several reasons: 1) she was new to our area of research, and 2) we have several strong graduate students in our lab so she was no longer the "go to" person. As a person, she was usually really nice, but over the course of a year she developed insecurities, lashed out at people, essentially she created problems out of nothing. I have had several chats with her since her leave of absence, and what it all came down to was that she was stressed out since she thought she was under performing compared to the other students, and this was exacerbated with her mental illness. She is doing better now, but the chances are very slim that she will be returning to our lab to continue her PhD. I guess my advice is that depending on your mental illness, you will need to determine ways to cope with the new stresses of graduate school. Perhaps its taking a couple of days off, leaving for some fresh air etc. when times get frustrating/tough....grad school is a fantastic time, but there will most definitely be periods where you are stressed to your limits, and if not, your probably not working hard enough ;). Finding ways to remove yourself from situations that may cause conflict with your supervisor or labmates is crucial...and taking care of yourself first is the most important thing. Do what you need to do to stay mentally healthy and enjoy :). As far as you being a "slow learner", it sounds to me like you are selling yourself short. You got into grad school...that is proof that you are capable of learning at a high level! In my opinion, you shouldn't ask for accommodation or special circumstances from your lab mates and supervisor...you are one of them now, you are a grad student. Mental illness or not, everyone learns at a different pace....every time you step into a different room at school, tell yourself that you are going to be the hardest worker in the room and you'll do great.
  9. Good point. I am unaware of the impact of the dissertation in other fields, but in applied and health sciences (human and animal physiology, medicine etc.) I doubt that hiring university hiring committees are even going to read the title of your thesis, rather, they will look at your list of publications. If this field, if your publications are limited to the work that is in your thesis, the chances of you getting a job in academia are slim to none...and slim just left the building.
  10. Interesting post... I think that putting too much time and effort into the actual Thesis document is a complete waste of time. Very few people will read your dissertation. I haven't even looked at my Master's thesis since its completion two years ago, however, the two published manuscripts that were in my dissertation are well cited. I had the pleasure to have lunch with one of the key researchers that discovered the mechanism of action of Dopamine...this guy is top notch, has several hundred published manuscripts and has been the CEO of a couple of multi-million dollar companies. He actually quit research because he thought it was too easy and wanted another challenge. His advice on my PhD degree was to spend as little time as possible on my Thesis document. His view was it was a complete waste of time and it is just a "check box" in order to complete my degree. Although you don't want to hand in something atrocious, I 100% agree with him. I expect my Thesis will be ~200-300 pages long, but I don't want to spend more than 6-8 weeks to write up my Thesis.
  11. Well I guess different labs have different methods for authorship. I have worked in labs where the PI makes the overall decision for authorship, where the first author makes the final decision, and usually where both PI and first author makes that decision. Most labs I have collaborated and/or work for involved a mutual decision between first author and PI, but again, every lab is different.
  12. I'm going to have to disagree with you to a certain extent. Yes, there are standard guidelines for authorship, but this is under the discretion of the PI. For example, if a student comes in and participates in data collection for half of a research project, one PI might think that this warrants co-authorship, another might think that this warrants an acknowledgment, while another might think that this does not warrant authorship since they were absent for half of the project. Some PI's hand out co-authorships a bit more lenient than others. At the end of the day, it's the first author and PI's responsibility to determine what warrants authorship...and this will likely vary from project to project. Everything isn't black and white when it comes to authorship.
  13. Above post is right to a certain extent. However, there are far fewer "soft money" positions in Canada compared to the United States. They do exist, but most positions are "hard money" tenure tracked positions. Additionally, I am sure that this is very different amongst research areas, but from my personal experience of visiting many different physiology/biology labs across both Canada and the United States, and atmosphere (on average) is quite a bit different. The US system seems to be a bit more cut-throat and worrisome of getting grant money...making the work environments a bit more strict and less flexible. I also noticed that there was a bit of a "pecking order" in the US labs, where the Undergraduate and MSc students don't talk directly to the supervisor, but can only have their information relayed to the principal supervisor through post-doctoral students....something that was just completely bizarre to me. It's starting to catch on now (I think Canada is a bit ahead compared to the US in this regard), that having a healthy lifestyle and working flexible hours is more productive. In the lab I work in, we don't need to come into work if we don't want to, and we can take as much vacation time as needed (i.e. 3-4 months a year if you want), as long as you get the work done. For example, one of our post-docs is probably gone not doing work for 6+ months a year, but still has managed to have 50+ publications in his career so far....it's all about efficiency. Happier students = harder working students even though their work schedule is up to them....our lab still pumps out 30+ papers a year.
  14. From an outsider, it sounds like a frustrating/annoying situation. What I'm going to say, sucks, but in the end its the truth. Even though you were the one that collected the data and made the program and coding etc. All of that property does not belong to you, it belongs to the lab supervisor that you worked in. Your supervisor can do whatever he/she wants to do with it, whether its giving it to a different student, or use your program (unless you patented it independently) as they wish. Now, you most definitely have an argument that you should have been included as a co-author if your data and figures have been published. However, some supervisors have different standards for co-author inclusion...its sounds like you MIGHT have a case for being a co-author, but its hard to determine this with so little information. Some supervisors are very lenient with authorship inclusion, while others are more strict. From everything I said above, that student has every right to use your entire code that you used for your thesis, but you might be able to use this to your advantage and talk to your old supervisor and question if this now means inclusion on the forthcoming publication. Also, I didn't see whether or not you are pursuing a PhD or any career where it helps to have publications. If you are not in need of publications, its likely not worth your time to fight with your old supervisor. If this is the case I would just send the coding over to your old lab supervisor and call it a day, don't put in any hours (unless compensated for) helping them out beyond this. Just my 2cents!
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