Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_TopicIcon
graduate school
October 2, 2006
12:54 am
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Anyone on here trying to get through (and survive) graduate school?

October 2, 2006
12:56 am
Avatar
southgoingzax
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 79
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I just graduated last year with my MA. Anything I can help you with?

October 2, 2006
1:05 am
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I am preparing myself for writing a dissertation and sometimes I am sick and tired of my topic. I also need to finish writing a grant to fund my predoctoral studies. I have been working on it for a year and it is due at the end of this month.

My classes are mostly tutorials...but I have two this semester that are didactics (classroom stuff). Most of us come from quite a distance in order to do this...and I am the only one that does not work a full time paying job (though I work ALL of the time).

I have no social life anymore...and I am a social butterfly by nature. I have also gained 10-15 pounds (about a stone for you Brits out there).

Sometimes I just feel like dropping out.

October 2, 2006
1:15 am
Avatar
southgoingzax
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 79
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oh yes.

It all sounds very familiar. My thesis was 378 pages long, and I was entirely sick of it by the time I had written the first three chapters. It was a very long lesson in perseverence, for me. I also gained weight, and it was hard for me to fit in the grant-writing that I needed to do. Sometimes I would spend a week without getting out of my pajamas.

If there is anything I could tell you, it is to set clear deadlines and schedules for yourself, even day to day. Make sure you get some time, even 1/2 hour, for exercise. And maybe a free weekend night every other week or so.

I don't blame you for feeling like you want to drop out - an advanced degree requires a level of commitment most people never experience in their working lives. What are you studying, if I may ask?

I know it is really hard to do sit down and write and stay excited about your topic - but hopefully it is something you enjoy and can see the value of. My last bit of advice, the faster you get it done, the faster you get done with it. Remember that it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be written - it is always easier for me to edit drafts than create perfect paragraphs. Also, do you have any reference books about how to write a dissertation and survive? I found handbooks like that pretty helpful, at least in telling me how I should have done things.

Good luck,

zax

October 2, 2006
1:26 am
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks Zax!

My MS thesis was 84 pages long...! It was about dignity at the end of life in the intensive care unit.

My doctoral dissertation is about the role of circadian rhythms in intensive care.

I wish I could spend a week in my pajamas. I just finished a shift in the ER. I supplement at the local hospital.

What was your thesis about, Zax?

You are right about the level of commitment. Only crazy folks do this. Normal folks have a life.

I am not really this bad. I am just tired, I suppose. And lonely. The new 21st century educational venues do not leave a lot of room for socializing. We are busy multitasking and too busy for a coffee after class...and some of our classes are online, so we rarely see each other.

October 2, 2006
1:46 am
Avatar
southgoingzax
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 79
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Devon,

wow, so are you in medical school? That would be a lot more work than your average crazy academic. Your dissertation topic sounds very interesting. Feel free to discuss it here, or on the liberation brew threads anytime, I'd love to read some of it.

I would spend a week in my pjs because I had gone over my limit of credits the federal government would pay for, so I couldn't take anymore classes and I HAD to finish my thesis - it took me three years, but I had some serious health issues in the middle of grad school that slowed me down a good bit.

My thesis was on the transition from traditional methods of consumption to "consumerism" that occured following the industrial revolution. Historical archaeology. Now, if you want to think about pointless thesis/dissertation topics, see, you could be way worse off. At least your subject can have an impact on actual living people.

I'm sure you are feeling pretty isolated - I know I did. I've said this before, but just make sure to make time for yourself - even if you feel like you can't afford it - you need some time away from school and your dissertation.

And yes, you are crazy 🙂 Normal people would never put themselves through a PhD program, it's too much work. So pat yourself on the back for even wanting this! You have taken on a huge chunk of stress, financial obligation, time commitment, and everything else that goes with an advanced degree, that most people will never have to encounter. So it's okay to feel like it's not worth it sometimes - that's totally "normal". But you will get through this. Be proud of yourself for even trying, that is great!

zax

October 2, 2006
1:54 am
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I am in nursing school.

October 2, 2006
12:38 pm
Avatar
gracenotes
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I just remember being so sick and tired of graduate school. I went part time and thus it took three years instead of two. I am glad for the experience, though, and I ended up landing a great job because of it.

Right now I am back in school pursuing a different field and its different for me this time because I am learning about what I am passionate about. I am in mid life and have rethought a lot of things. The other degree was more about getting a degree in something practical that I could make money in. I am pursuing another degree in a creative field and I sure am grateful that I have my current career in an educational area that I can always work in and fall back on. I don't dislke it at all, I just want to spent my time doing something else.

October 2, 2006
8:09 pm
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks folks! I am not tired of it today! I have made a decent pass through my proposal and am taking a break from it for a few minutes.

I know what you mean about creative and practical, gracenotes. I get the best of both worlds in my project. I have actually and gladly taken a pay cut to do this full time. I have my moments where things are droll, but for the most part I just need a place to chatter personally for a few minutes between project phases...with people who do not know me and can't bribe me! haha!

I know that probably many people may not realize that nursing has a tenure track doctoral education level and it can have some interesting creative angles to it.

October 2, 2006
8:24 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Devon

I wrote a dissertation and made Full Professor. I have supervised numerous dissertations and run a doc program.

I don't want to disclose my field or topic, because I am well known.

I am happy to give you support about how to survive.

One thing for sure, despite what anyone tells you, you gotta love your topic or you cannot face it enough to finish it. I will say this until the day I die. Have a vision/purpose and stay true to it. No one can take that away from you. It will make the whole thing easier. Then, plan the entire thing out from beginning to end and write an outline on the computer. Write whatever parts you can when you can. U don't have to write it in order.

Every time you read an article to go in your lit review, summarize it by typing into a file on your computer right away (starting with the reference and then understanding the methods and drawing your own conclusions, then determine if the author's conclusions were warranted and tied to the literature review). You will find this is most efficient and you won't get in the bad habit of rereading articles over and over! You can take all those references and then just put them in your reference list by blocking and copying. You can take what you need from each file for your literature review and save the rest for future research.

Don't take on a new methodology for which you have no training. The dissertation should be a culmination of your training. Now is not the time to try to learn new skills. Keep it manageable. Most students make the mistake of doing way too much. DOn't bite off more than you can chew. I constantly tell students to do less, not more. Keep it focused. You can save the rest for a future study or let someone else do a bigger project who has a big grant. The goal is to finish with a piece of work you are proud of, that you completely understand and can justify and defend, and is of publishable quality.

If your committee is not giving you helpful feedback and you don't look at them as if they all want you to succeed, get new members. No one cares that much about being replaced, contrary to what most students fear. It happens all the time. Professors already got their doctorates, and now it is your turn. Do what is best for you.

Working and going to school at the same time is very difficult. Anyone who does is going to be exhausted. If possible, try to find some time to focus solely on finishing. If that is not possible, well my hats off to you for doing this. You have a lot more energy than I do. Yes, you might not have much of a life right now, but it only you can decide if it will be worth it later. When I was a student I lamented that I would be in my early 30s when I finished, and someone remarked, "well, you could be that age WITHOUT a PhD." Whenever I hear people saying that they will be a certain age or time is passing or they have no life right now, I think of that and ask them what is their dream and what is their vision. If you have the goal and the dream, you will find the fortitude.

I am glad to respond if I can be of help. Good luck and hope all your dreams come true whatever they are...remember, as I tell my beloved students, your scholarship can never define you the way your kindness and ethics will. There are just some things in life that are so much more important than a PhD.

P&L

October 2, 2006
8:44 pm
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks P&L! This is my 6th degree...my first doctorate. I have no problems with my age...though I have heard some of my colleagues talk about this. I hope to finish before I am 50...which will only be a little sooner if I finish on schedule in 2 years.

I have printed your response to me to read on my wall. It is awesome!

You are right about the PhD not being the end-all/be-all. I only applied for it because I need it to lead a project and get funding for my research, and to teach the topics I like to teach, like my special area of methods and statistics. I blend my work with musical concepts...and play in a local orchestra when I have a moment over the holidays. Also, tenure is not a bad place for me to go as I get older and have to adjust my lifestyle to my changing needs. It expands my choices and lets me continue to play in my science.

Thanks so much everyone!!!!

October 2, 2006
8:45 pm
Avatar
cpt1212
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 27, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

i am also trying to survive grad school and work full time. i wish i had some advice or some positive pick-me-up words of wisdom, but at the moment i am all out. today school is a struggle, but i guess we can struggle together and know that it will be worth it or at least over 🙂

October 2, 2006
8:59 pm
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

OOOoh! I really like this group!!!

I feel like a teenager again...and that was over a third of my life ago!

It is so worth it for me! I get to present at international conferences and play with scientists from all over the world. I often mix with professions other than my primary profession. Sometimes I am the only person there from my profession. This is OK. I am breaking new ground for my profession.

I want to still be doing this but at the senior researcher level when I am 90....

October 3, 2006
12:06 am
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Devon

I hear some more enthusiasm in your writing! Remember your true love for your topic when you get discouraged! Yes, it is wonderful to be inspired by your colleagues at conferences all over the world! How exciting for you! Contributing to new knowledge is such a great feeling, but such work takes dedication. As I say, "it is a lonely place to be when you are on the cutting edge!" You almost feel like a martyr sometimes locked up in your lab or at your computer working, but where would society be without dedicated scientists like you? We need great minds. Be inspired to do make your dreams come true.

If I can cheer you on or be of assistance, just catch my attention on AAC. I am here, because I had some trauma in my life the past year and a half, but seem to be coming out of it now thanks to a lot of hard work and supportive people.

I made it in academia and so have many of my students. I am glad to share my secrets. Would I do it over? I suppose I would! I love my topic and the lifestyle, but I would leave the worry out of it. Worry is a useless emotion.

Wishing you all good things,
P&L

October 3, 2006
2:01 pm
Avatar
Devon
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks so much P&L!

Today is another adventure. My advisor hates my specific aims. Right now, I am obediently going through the motions. I have to get done. I take comfort in knowing that right now I am just learning the game. Later, I can take things to higher levels.

I am actually obsessed by my math methods and my advisor hates that too. So I keep a file of crazy notes and scribble stuff on papers and put them in that file for later. I think I may have created a new and better method for doing my analysis...one she admits that she doesn't understand. The ideas fly with statisticians, though, so I am not completely nuts...I think. I just need to write it up next winter over the holiday and publish it...! (It would be exhillerating if I published a new statistical method for my area of research before my dissertation defense...!)

Because I want to write this paper and play with the data from other studies, I hate my proposal.

I don't really hate it, actually...I am just wanting to do something else instead.

Plus, my advisor has a set of instructions about how to do the proposal that are different than the ones I got from the office last year when I started the program. So some of the things I have slaved away at have to be done over again. UGH!!!

Fortunately, we are both very direct and to the point with each other. I never have to play games. We can both come off as being rude when we are just being direct...but we save hours just doing what needs doing and moving on.

Thanks!
D

Forum Timezone: UTC -8
Most Users Ever Online: 349
Currently Online:
22
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Top Posters:
onedaythiswillpass: 1134
zarathustra: 562
StronginHim77: 453
free: 433
2013ways: 431
curious64: 408
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 49
Members: 110977
Moderators: 5
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 8
Forums: 74
Topics: 38561
Posts: 714261
Newest Members:
swright, nina1985, February, lisabaker, robertwalker, Why..
Moderators: arochaIB: 1, devadmin: 9, Tincho: 0, Donn Gruta: 0, Germain Palacios: 0
Administrators: admin: 21, ShiningLight: 572, emily430: 29

Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Health Disclaimer | Do Not Sell My Personal Information