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Everything posted by Hope.for.the.best

  1. There is nothing wrong to date someone in your PhD cohort. It happens more often than you think. I have already seen a few couples along the way. As you said both of you can manage the relationship with your studies, then it should not be a problem. That said, make sure you remain professional at the office, i.e. nobody wants to see you get heated or argue with each other. Unless you two have conflict of interest, I doubt you need to inform the department. However, please check your department's policy to be sure.
  2. First of all, you can never be in a project that is 100% aligned to your interest. What you do right now does not dictate what you do in future. Something you learn in nanoengineering will be applicable to bioengineering. Even if you go to that professor who is in bioengineering, there would be bits of his project that you don't like. That said, if your PI is so tight on money that she may not be able to support your PhD, then you should indeed consider switching lab. Resources are important for timely completion. I agree with you that you should not reveal your thoughts to your PI
  3. I am nearly 2 years into my postdoc and hope I may be of help. I would say 6 months is a very short time in research. I am also in life sciences and I haven't produced any great results until very recently. It would be ideal to get some publications before you quit. Your CV would look much better. It's still helpful to have publications when you apply for jobs in industry. They would most likely want to hear about both your PhD and postdoc. It would also be easier to navigate the reference letter issue with your PI. PIs can be very upset if you leave without producing anything, as t
  4. I think "personal reasons" would suffice on an application form. You would only get them concerned whether you can finish the program if you mention anything about mental health. If they bring the withdrawal up in an interview, you could say you didn't do enough research on the school, programs etc. and found that it was not a right fit. Then, you could add that you learnt the lesson and did thorough research before applying to PhD programs. You could then elaborate on why you choose the programs you are applying. So long as you demonstrate to them that you have thought carefully before
  5. I am not sure how advisors from your school allocate preference to students. My school tends to be first come, first served, as advisors prefer to work with students they already know a fair bit. That said, it doesn't mean their most preferred student will work well with them. It all depends on whether both are willing to get along with each other. I am quoting my own example. If you read my previous posts, you would know I struggled immensely with 2 toxic advisors, *Andy and *Cecilia. I was their first choice student. (Well, they actually wanted to accept another student who did well at
  6. This must be a very stressful time for you, but you are getting there! I have been through the PhD defense stage and can totally relate. First of all, given you have done well in conferences, and your committee and supervisor also think you do well, please believe that you will do well! Prepare your oral defense as you did for your conference presentations. Go through your talk with your supervisor. Schedule for some practice, preferably in front of your supervisor and colleagues. Think of potential questions that you may get asked and prepare for them. Then you are ready to go! Now
  7. The fact that your supervisor has no funding and is affected by personal issues is a big red flag. You could end up in a helpless situation if you proceed to do a PhD with them. If at all possible, I would apply elsewhere to someone who is in your field of your interest and has the resources and capacity to support you. I second AP's advice on approaching the subject. (1) Office politics do exist in academia. Although your supervisor and the professor you suggest may appear to get along well, they may not want to work with each other for various reasons. You don't wish to get involved in
  8. From what you described, I would say you have done more than enough to get ready for grad school. The only thing I can think of is getting the paperwork ready for your studies, especially the ones where you need to recruit participants (if your advisor hasn't done so). If the paperwork is there, it would be good to start recruiting, as it takes time to get the numbers. Otherwise, please spend more of your free time to do something you enjoy, e.g. plan a good trip, as life gets busy and stressful once you start. It's rare to have a 2-month break! Take it easy. You will get there.
  9. Well, every supervisor is busy. No supervisors have the time to sit there and wait for you to get to them. That said, I agree that your supervisor has accepted too many students than she can comfortably manage. I don't know why your university doesn't step in to ensure the welfare of students, given they have a policy in place. A PhD student or postdoc can give you technical guidance (e.g. how an experiment is done), but they can't replace your supervisor for academic guidance. Anyway, I bet you have got all your data to get to the write-up stage. That's a big milestone. I would say finish you
  10. It is really hard to comment as I don't know your field. I would say your strategy is wise, i.e. applying to both. If you get accepted into a PhD program, then you are competitive enough. If not, then you can get there after completing MA. Please be reassured that if you are prepared for a MA, then you are also prepared for a PhD. In most cases, PhD is just an extended version of MA. FYI, I did my PhD straight after undergrad and I am doing fine. Good luck!
  11. I am sorry to hear what you are going through. Having problems with supervisor at grad school is more often than you think. So you are not alone, even though you feel that way. I too had a difficult time with my PhD supervisors. Feel free to read my previous posts. It sounds like your supervisor does not listen to students' concerns and offer them appropriate support. It is also bad for her to keep shaming her students for not knowing something. Nobody knows everything. If it is something essential for a student to know but he/she doesn't know, she can simply ask him/her to look that u
  12. Same here. I did not write mine in that order, but rather going to and forth between chapters. It is common to come up with new ideas and ways to organise your paragraphs as you go. I would not leave the intro till the very end, as you need a good background to justify your research. Have a framework and get the chapter done. Then when you finish other chapters, have a quick search and include newly published studies where applicable.
  13. Congrats on passing your viva with minor corrections! As someone who has also gone through the PhD journey, I can say these tips are more than helpful. Looking back, I wish I could have spent more time to relax than working too hard on my PhD. I have nearly burnt myself out in the process, and it took me ages to feel like myself again! One thing I would like to add though, is not to stress too much about career, but keep an eye on all possibilities. I have been told million times that I am screwed if I don't have a job lining up before finishing PhD. That got me quite worried at first. B
  14. I am sorry to hear that your thesis was failed, but I am also glad that you are persisting and working hard to try again. Unfortunately, failure happens all the time in research. I got a paper that was rejected twice before it got published. Guess what? Everyone in my department thought the work was great. I know your advisor is nice to work with and she wants you all the best. However, I am concerned about her lack of guidance and overestimation of your ability to do research, as you indicated. If it is a communication problem, then find ways to improve it. It would be difficult for her
  15. @oqowa I can totally relate to your situation. My 2 advisors in the department where I based my PhD studies in were like yours, i.e. focusing on publishing way more than my thesis. (Read my previous posts and you will know.) They had me to do an impossible-to-do experiment while writing up my thesis. It's an experiment that is indeed technically impossible to do, but they stubbornly insisted on that. In a sense, they wanted me to not graduate so I could continue to work for them for free, as they were running out of money. I was having a hard time, but fortunately I have another advisor in ano
  16. First of all, you are not doing a bad job. Re coursework: It is a big no to compare yourself with others in grad school, as there are many students being more outstanding than you and comparison just makes you feel bad all the time. You are getting As and Bs for your coursework. Yes, there are students who get all As, but from a factual point of view, you are doing well. Research: It is beyond your control and not your fault that you get paired up with an unsupportive advisor. Just because he seems to be likeable does not mean he is a good advisor. It is not uncommon to change field
  17. I am not sure how common it is to require conference participants to be members of the organizing association, but it is not unheard of. It is more common to charge members a lower registration fee than non-members. If the conference fits your thesis topic and you wish to present there, then it's worth getting the membership. The opportunity to present (poster or oral) and network with others is definitely worth the money. You can choose not to renew your membership after a year. In this case, you just pay $ 35 once. Probably have a chat with your advisors and see what they think. It
  18. I am not a relationship expert, nor I am in a relationship currently, so I don't feel qualified to give you specific advice on the subject. However, as someone who has gone through the PhD journey, I reckon family support is very important. A tensed environment at home does take a toll on your studies, and it sounds like your conflict with your wife has got into the way of your studies. Have you ever spoken to your wife your feelings and tried to work things out with her? I don't mean those conversations when you are in a heated argument, but an open and honest one when both of you are calm an
  19. The point of a biography is to get others to know more about your current research background and area. It would be more like "I completed an undergraduate degree in xxx and have an interest in xxx. I am currently working on [your research project] to [your aims]." It is rare to include future plans in a biography, at least I have not seen that. You can mention your future plans when you get to chat with other participants of the conference, e.g. during tea time. However, given that you don't want your current employer to find out that you will quit to attend grad school this fall, it is proba
  20. I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I had a similar experience back in my PhD and I can totally relate. You can figure out from my previous posts. How far along you are in your PhD? If you have started not long ago (less than a year), then I would suggest that you press hard to switch advisors. Since your advisors show no willingness to improve (especially the yelling part), your next step would be bringing that up to the school, as others have pointed out. I know it is not good to burn a bridge, but in situation like this, it may he unavoidable. It is very problematic to have
  21. It really depends on your school. But then since you have been accepted by your program, I have a feeling that it would be more like a casual chat than an interview with faculty members. It would not hurt to prepare for responses for your research interests and project though, as these are often the conversation topics when getting to know each other in an academic setting. Try to take it easy as if you are meeting new friends. Good luck!
  22. That's basically what you need to do - introduce yourself, emphasise your interests and experience, and attach a CV. It's only 2 days, so you should wait a bit longer. I would say a week or two is a good time to follow up. When you do follow up, don't phrase your email in a pushing way. Phrase it in a way like "Thank you for your time reviewing my application. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information." Good luck!
  23. (1) It really depends how long it has passed since you sent the email. If it is just one week, I would suggest that you wait. If it has been like one month and you are sure he has not been away or anything, then it is fine to follow up, but not in a pushing way. Perhaps you can look up one of his recent papers and indicate specifically how his research is of interest to you and align with your work. It is easy for a busy professor to miss out simple emails like "I am interested in your work. Could we meet and discuss?" If you provide some context, then it is more likely to get his attention.
  24. It is common to struggle with learning new techniques at the beginning of your PhD. In fact, I struggled with mastering new techniques too when I first started my postdoc, so learning something new is inevitable for any new projects. I know you have tried explaining to your professor your problem. Did you do it when he was kind of blaming you, e.g. saying that you are not motivated and leave early? It would not be the best timing to get your difficulties across in the heat of the moment, as he was already frustrated with you (probably a bit emotional too). It would be best if you could schedul
  25. That's basically what you need to tell yourself whenever someone discourages you. I can see you have considered very carefully that you want to do a PhD. You have also found a great supervisor. By all means, follow your heart and go ahead! As you identified, that PhD student was likely just letting out her frustration of not seeing a future in academia. I had a similar version of story. I have been warned by supervisors, fellow colleagues etc. that if I don't exactly know what I want to do after PhD and plan ahead, then I am screwed for sure, because it is difficult to find a good lab ev
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