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Thread: Anyone else going through PhD thesis hell?

  1. #1

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    Default Anyone else going through PhD thesis hell?

    Or am I the only crazy one?
    In March I hit the dreaded FOUR YEAR MARK for my PhD in Microbiology... I'm going to be asking for an extension in candidature for sure, but am *hoping* to be nearly done in April.. ish.. (gosh could I sound more vague?).

    I'm writing up at the moment but GOD it is SOOOOOO tedious. hating it big time. Also I'm working part time, 3 days a week, awesome job that I've been at for about 5 months, and I'm really looking forward to going full time as soon as thesis is done, so I've started telling people at work that I want to go full time in April, so that this will motivate me.

    But I'm severely lacking motivation, I just can't do more than 10 minutes work without being distracted... Plus I'm becoming more and more obsessed with babies - or the lack there-of (see sig). This PhD is pretty much the sole reason for my lack of AF (stress!) so I hate it even more...

    Anyone else out there to whine with me??


  2. #2

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    Hi Mrs P,
    Well I am not up to where you are but was about 3 months into my PhD when I deferred (too much on my plate with bub as well) and probably wont resume until March. But I feel stressed just thinking about going back. And judging from how I felt when I was doing my honours thesis I know the write up will be evil. So I totally hear your pain on this one and I am not even where you are.
    Keep on at it. Just think of how amazing it will feel when it is done.

    ps. You can whine with me anytime. lol

  3. #3

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    Ah thanks Krysalyss Yes honours was hell, wasn't it? I thought a PhD would not be as bad as it's spread over a longer time frame. I found the first couple of years were ok, even though my project had a million things go wrong! Now I think I'm more stressed because I just want to be done, so I can stop being stressed and hopefully start TTC.
    I admire you doing a PhD with a bub already! I think as long as you have a great support network (partner, fam, friends, supervisor) you'll get through it. I've set myself deadlines for my chapters - but today is a deadline and I'm not going to meet it . But I've got the next couple of weeks off work so will be writing heaps (will be, thinking positive!).

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    I think I am not very happy with my choice of topic. It sounded great at the time but then the more I looked the more worried I became. Will rethink it over the break. What is your topic? Is it pathology?
    My field is wildlife biol. I like microbiology but have only glanced at it really at uni and work.

  5. #5

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    My topic was an extension of what I did in honours, and in the year after honours while I was a research assistant (so I've been doing it for - nearly 6 years!) - to sum it up it's looking at bacterial resistance and non-antibiotic antimicrobials (sounds way more fancy than it is, but you'll have to excuse me as I don't want to go into more detail on the web as it's a small field of research and you never know who could stumble across this forum and discover my fertility issues!).
    Is your topic completely new to you or do you have some background in it? You'd be surprised how many things you come up with during the process. Also, the important thing to remember is that you don't have to have a complete story - I always worried about that - and as one of my supervisors says, "No result is still a result" ha ha.

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    Sounds interesting. My previous career was as a vet nurse and I still do some of it for friends so am always interested in that kind of thing. But totally understand about the shush factor. My topic is something I have been in the vicinity of but more to the left and more in depth. It is true what you say about the complete story. I sometimes feel I will be doing a lit review for three years before I even understand enough to do some research. lol.
    Anyway good luck with it. You will get through it and then will forget all about how you feel now.

  7. #7

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    How's your motivation going Mrs P? Sorry I don't share your pain ATM and have no real advice to offer. I'm on the opposite side of the fence: Have been a SAHM for over 4 years and am desperate for some mental stimulation. I graduated from my BA in 2002 and am really looking forward to returning to study. How soon we forget the anguish though... I remember being in a similar flat state of mind toward the end of my course... couldn't wait for it to be over... hating hating hating deadlines etc. But here I am, glutton for punishment wanting to go back!

    All i can suggest is to maybe try inspiring yourself by talking to someone who is working in the field you'd love to be ultimately working in....maybe online. I ultimately hope to be an art teacher/therapist and it's when i talk to people already in these industries that I feel the most motivated.

    Is your job related to your field of study? Also I understand about privacy... you don't have to reveal too much.

    *sending inspirational vibes your way*

  8. #8

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    Hi Bathsheba,
    Thanks so much for your post - you've no idea how much it means to get some encouragement
    The last week has been a bit of a write-off, with preparations for xmas and then the aftermath, not to mention it's been so HOT here in Perth that it makes it hard to study! We've got aircon but it doesn't really reach my study!
    But my next chapter target is Jan 12th, and I'm NOT going to let myself miss this one (I missed my first target, but it was a bit unreachable!).

    Also I'm starting on a new healthy eating plan, which is also related to my fertility issues - so no caffeine for me, amongst other things Plus DH and I are starting the 'Couch to 5K' program in Jan too. So hopefully that will help me feel less stressed, by actually doing some exercise! I find that my weekly acupuncture is great for stress too, I just WISH it would do what I want it to, which is make AF return for me! I'm waiting on some saliva hormone results from my naturopath, I think my appt is jan 18, so hopefully I'll have more info on my situation then.

    I sounded so secretive about my thesis, it was more because the actual stuff I work with could easily come up in a google search - so if I posted it in here, someone might find the thread! But basically it's an essential oil that has antimicrobial activity - you probably have a bottle of it at home! But my job that I have is pretty much not related - I'm an environmental scientist I work on management of contaminated land sites, and also do stuff like human health and enviro health risk assessments and also some toxicology stuff. So quite varied! I'm really enjoying it, and the company is AWESOME (good pay, great conditions, regular pay reviews AND bonuses!) plus the people are great too - so I'm really looking forward to being full time - so yep, that should be my motivation right there

    I think my problem is that I'm scared about not being able to have kids.. just because I'm having so many issues right now with no AF.. you know how the mind wanders and thinks the worst. So since all my friends / every person on the planet that I know is preggers (ha maybe slight exaggeration!) it's just on my mind ALL the time. SO it's all I think about, plus I'm always trawling the forums - I may need to go on a BB ban!

    OK so now I've written a novel, but if you got this far, then thanks for reading!!

  9. #9

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    Ooh sounds interesting. I keep a lot of essential oils for their antiseptic properties: tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus to name a few. It would be so fascinating to research the chemical properties of essential oils. There's got to be something scientific about all those natural remedies. I also have a friend who works for the EPA here in Melbourne, she also really enjoys her work, it sounds similar to yours. Good on you for looking after your health. The body can react in the strangest ways when you become stressed and lack full nutrition. You could try InLiven... many girls rave about it in here. I've taken it for a while too and for me it curbs my sugar cravings.

    Yes BB can become addictive! I've got no advice for that! But I look forward to hearing of your progress. Sometimes it helps to be accountable to people (even if it's just online strangers) so that a bit of guilt comes into the equation. Hehe. Anyhow, set yourself an achievable goal and get stuck into it... now! C'mon, you can meet that chapter target!

  10. #10

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    Ok am now turning BB OFF for the day and hitting the thesis!! Thanks!!!!!

  11. #11

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    Time to update - it's been about a week and I don't feel like I've gotten much done *sigh*.
    I just really really hate it. A lot. But I'm trying to kick that negative attitude and get some positivity going.

    I CAN finish,
    I WILL finish,
    I am not a quitter.
    There is LIFE beyond the thesis

  12. #12

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    OK. I am giving you a big virtual slap!

    It is just a thesis. You have done all of the actual research work you just need to write it up.
    Stop thinking about the end of the thesis. Stop thinking about life after the thesis. Just think about the chapter you are doing and your next deadline.

    And if you are reading this......what are you doing on BB?!?!

    (plus big hugs)

  13. #13

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    OMG THANK YOU Krysalyss - that was perfect
    Just what a needed - a big slap!!! Am off to work on my current chapter for the rest of the day!

  14. #14

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    Can I join in this "I hate my PhD" chat too?!?!? I'm nearing the end of my 4th year (shh!) and really ready to chuck the whole thing in - not really but it's such a good thought!! I've finished my second complete draft but my supervisor has gone and moved overseas leaving me high and dry and with a 10 month old who has chosen to be really erratic with her day sleeps!
    Mrs P please do yourself a huge favour and finish it before you have a little one. Our angel joined us through adoption so we had no idea what time-frame we were dealing with; I effectively had an 8 week pregnancy and just couldn't get it all done whilst preparing for an international trip and getting the house ready etc. The pre-baby time is precious PhD time that is distraction free in comparison to having a beautiful but screaming baby clinging to your legs while you're at a crucial point in your chapter!!!! It is possible to complete with a youngin in tow (I say that because it has to be, I refuse to accept I've made it this far but won't submit!) but it's sooooo much easier before being a parent. I wish I had put in a bit more effort at the start and had completed earlier.

    Now get back to it!!!!

  15. #15

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    You keep going. Not sure if you want to here my story but I'm one who walked away. I'd started on the thesis. I actually had one paper published and another submitted, so there was the bones of it, but alas. I guess my problem was that I started at uni in a surveying degree, then picked up an engineering degree because they (the uni) suggested I do. After finishing them, I found myself doing a PhD in Engineering looking at - wait for it - statistcal modelling of cast iron waterpipe failures. How could you ever walk away from that I here you ask? Well, I think the pull of surveying got to strong. It's what I've always wanted to do, and now I've been doing it for a number of years and I'm so glad I'm at where I'm at. Still, I'm always thinking about what it might have been like with all the extras letters around my name. Especially with the drought getting so bad and so much emphasis (compared to before) being placed on water being wasted by leaking pipes! I could have been "THE MAN".
    On a lighter note I actually had that second paper published last year, about four years after submitting it! Getting published again brought all the questions re: finishing/not finishing back. My case is kinda special in that I got distracted by the subject I was researching. In that I mean, I went to uni to be a surveyor before being distracted by an engineering degree and then engineering research before finally finding myself in surveying.
    So start running hard and writing hard. The relief and joy experienced by holding a bound copy of your thesis ready for submission may be what AF requires for a visit.

    Good luck and keep writing, Dr P

  16. #16
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    Ah, a surveyor. A dying breed. The old man is one, and I was a chainman back in the day. Great job. Better than cast iron pipes

  17. #17

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    Much, much better.

  18. #18

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    Bushmanpat - thank you for your words of wisdom.
    I think you make a very good point, in that maybe what AF wants is that thesis, all bound and done.
    I am making progress, the 2nd of my 4 results chapters is almost ready to give to my supervisors for feedback. I've just had a paper accepted which will be a chuck of the third results chapter, so things are getting there.

    I'm just trying to stay positive and take it one day at a time

    Angelgirl - I could not imagine how I'd get any work done right now with a baby - my cats and the fridge are enough of a distraction! So I'm in awe of you, and I'm telling you not to give up either - you are so close and this is such an achievement, both career wise and personal wise. Even if you never 'use' the PhD, you will have finished it and have that satisfaction!!
    Last edited by Mrs P; January 13th, 2008 at 08:56 PM.

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