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About Spykeeboy

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Somewhere Far Beyond
  • Interests
    Fingerstyle guitar, film, hiking
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    PhD (STEM)

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  1. Like Hope.for.the.Best has said, you are the expert in the room. Nobody knows your thesis and the work immediately surrounding it as well as you do! And that is all that is required. The objective of the examiners is to determine two things: that you wrote the thesis and understand the underlying work. They will not ask you a question from a different, removed field of study. Also, as my supervisors told me, there are very few (if any) PhD students who can answer every question thrown at them - saying "I don't know" is perfectly fine. Remember that a viva is often just as much a learning experience for the examiners as it is for you. Plus, nobody wants you to fail! Considering this and in tandem with the positive feedback you obtained from your committee, I see absolutely no reason why you should not pass with flying colours. I was very stressed before the viva as well, but walked out of there thinking "was that it?" in the end. Try to ask your supervisor or a colleague for a practice viva a week before - helped me loads and put things in perspective. As for publications, that is a different beast entirely. So much is down to luck! Selecting the right venue, at the right time, getting the right reviewers who are not overly harsh and make constructive comments, submitting outside of the holiday season to avoid long wait times - everything comes into play! Develop a thick skin and go with the flow - you got to the viva stage and will get published, the supervisory team is not supposed to let you submit unless they think you are ready, and the work is publishable in whole or in large part. Best of luck, let us know how you get on!
  2. Hello all! Finding myself at a bit of a crossroads and would really appreciate any and all advice. The situation: Recently completed a geochemistry PhD after a BSc in chemistry (focused on analytical instrumentation and organic synthesis). The former was a 50:50 mix of all-day lab work extracting and analysing samples (as well as maintenance of instrumentation), and writing (papers, thesis etc.). Result: 3 first author publications, 1 other, and 3 more in the pipeline (under review/submitted). Have a chance to work on at least one more with a supervisor. Developed statistical programming skills throughout the project - am convinced there isn't a data processing/visualisation workflow I could not automate. Am 24, approaching 25. Require a visa to work in Europe (despite having two passports... heh), and thus realistically have 8 months left to find a job in the country where the PhD was done. Having been a "student" for 20 straight years, do not want to stay in academia and want a lab-based industry job instead (e.g. working as part of a R&D team). Have a crippling stutter - might take me 15 seconds of huffing and puffing to greet someone when nervous/stressed. Plus, zero industry experience. The question: Would I be shooting myself in the foot by taking ca. a year off before looking for jobs? The dilemma is: Nearly everyone I know (including family) tells me I have got a "golden ticket" and would be an idiot to return to my home country (suffering from economic unrest - even MDs can't always find jobs). Plus, I already feel the post-PhD uselessness and the clock is ticking. However, I have been away from family for 7 years and it's eating me alive. My father is in his 70s - would like to spend some time with him. I can afford a year off financially, and who knows - finding a job in my home country may be possible, albeit with an abysmal salary by EU standards. What would you do? Thank you and apologies for the long post.
  3. Hello all. Having passed my viva (STEM field, minor corrections) last week, I wanted to share my experience to put the mind of fellow PhD students at ease, especially at the last hurdles! I think a PhD requires a general ability to shrug off looming mental (!) and physical ailments by taking care of yourself as well as your research. I have made the mistake of not doing the former. By running away from social anxiety and a stutter, I have reserved myself to a poor social life by worrying and over-thinking my every action throughout the project. Now, nearing 25, I am lonely with zero social skills, lost my sense of humour, and am more proficient in English than my native language. I realize now that my fear of failure was utterly unfounded. So if you suffer from PhD-related stress and are 'stuck' in the final stages, here is what I did prior to/during the viva: 1) Have not looked at my thesis post-submission until 3 weeks before the viva (ca. 2.5 months). When I did read it, it was only twice - you KNOW your research. Focus on the broader context and really understanding the main terminology/concepts of your work instead of having the book definition of those terms you mentioned in passing! 2) Had a practice viva with my supervisor 1 week prior - instrumental! Do not forego this if you can help it, puts things into perspective. 3) Kept my viva answers minimal. If the examiners want more detail, they will ask for it. You might trip yourself by giving away too much. 4) Brought in a list of typos and work done since submission into the viva - shows attention to detail. 5) Left time for fun! Enjoy your hobby(s), go out. Do not strain your mind - it is only so elastic! As long as you submitted a thesis you are proud of, the overwhelming likelihood is that you will pass. Do not compromise your well-being for it as I have. I hope this helps somebody along the way Good luck!
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