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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


The nocturnal workers' thread

User: Alpacalover - 14 October 2009 23:04

Thats fantastic Sue, well done on a great days work yesterday! it is really tough to get two consecutive good days, but dont' be harsh on yourself, its good progress!
Thanks Teek, really happy! I think alot of supervisors give 2-3 months for final writing, which dependant on what you have done already is manageable i'm sure, tough though! but does that include times for drafts and supervisor reading time, editing, binding etc etc? Some supervisors just want to see students in the lab 24/7, but if its not going to benefit your PhD any then its time to say stop, or at least choose a deadline date/last experiment and try and stick to it! I think in lab work its so easy to say, i'll just do one more....and then that result leads you to just one can be never ending! (i have a mate in this situation). maybe just a sit down with your sup is what you need and i'm sure you'll get it sorted! but don't stress, you've still got 8 months.

right, really is time for my bed now! wish i wasn't working tomorrow and I would maybe get stuck into some writing, especially with all this company tonight! :p

best of luck

User: BilboBaggins - 14 October 2009 23:09

Sorry for scaring you Teek! I'm a very part-time student, so have very little good time each week to work on the PhD. So a March deadline seems incredibly close, hence my panic.

But if you're full-time then June isn't so bad. You do need to discuss when you're going to focus on writing though, because it will be very time-consuming. Also I agree with Alpacalover that the timetable needs to be realistic to take into account a supervisor reading drafts of chapters etc. I found that much slower than my writing, but if you're up against a deadline your supervisor should turn things around more quickly.

User: Sue2604 - 14 October 2009 23:12


Good luck with lecturing tomorrow - you'll be a star! And be kind to yourself, don't stress about not working on your thesis for a bit. Have a few days off before your new job. It can be hard transitioning from one job to another, so you need a few days break (at least!) to clear the head before it gets filled with new info. Spend some time with your partner and enjoy! Before you know it you'll be lecturing, working, and writing again, so take it easy for a bit.

User: sheena - 14 October 2009 23:26

======= Date Modified 14 Oct 2009 23:27:37 =======
The night train is getting full and I like it when people are around.

AL take it easy, as Sue said once everything settles in you will find a suitable working pattern.

Bilbo, good on you for being very productive on your working days, being part-time that is imp.

Sue & Teek, let all keep on working and no coffee for me thanks, hot water keeps me going.
thought I should changed my hat acc. to the cold weather ;-)

User: teek - 14 October 2009 23:40

Ah I love you guys, you've given me hope and now I'm up two pages of method! (Just have to learn not to then think "oh God that reminds me how many more I need...eeek")

Sheena - Every now and then I try to go back to hot water or at least green tea, but I'm afraid I'm a total chemicals junky, my stomach wishes it had you for an owner! I like it when the night train gets full as well, heartens me.

Bilbo - Oh sorry, don't worry! It's maybe a good kind of scare, I need to get on. And it's the turn-around stuff that's the issue, I have several supervisors and I want as much input as possible to balance their own strengths, so 2-3 months definitely isn't enough to get the feedback I want.

Alpaca - You're so right about the curse of "just one more" I get that simply finishing up what I've started, let alone the sup's bid for new directions in the last few months (I'm his last funded student so he's desperate to get all he can out of me - in the nicest possible sense).

User: Sue2604 - 15 October 2009 00:07

Go Teek!! That's excellent!!

Meanwhile, I've spent 45 minutes on one paragraph - there is an original idea here somewhere, just can't quite seem to grasp it - aarrhggghh!! Will find it tho!!

User: teek - 15 October 2009 01:15

Original ideas are sneaky aren't they Sue, hope this one finally showed itself! Sounds quite exciting at least, all I'm really doing is looking up companies and working out concentrations (something I don't fully trust myself to do at a decent hour of the day so it could all be horribly wrong). Three and a half pages down though (yes, I count half pages) and I'm torn between thinking this is into very diminishing returns, vs the idea that I might just not go to bed at all. Given I have to be in the lab in about 7 hours I can't quite decide.

User: Alpacalover - 17 October 2009 13:09

Hello folks, just a little update from AL!..... :)

Hope you're all ok? well, thats my first lecturing week complete, I have met all my students and most of them are great, didnt mess up I don't think(too much), and didnt end up at the end of the day rocking myself and crying in the back of the lecture theatre, so a success I feel.... :p

start other new job on monday so going to make most of this weekend and try and chill out, partner just found out he got 76% in his masters assessment from last term (PT course), very proud of him, and he's really chuffed and probably wanting to chill out a bit too! perfect! :)

therefore, going to happily chill out, maybe try and plan a bit for next weeks lectures so don't have to worry about it when into new job, and clean house - without feeling guilty for not looking at my chapter work! ah the joys....!

Sorry, don't want to rub in my lack of work, I could easily feel bad for not writing, but like you all said, I need some relaxation time, so i'm going to take your advice....

Hope if you're working you all have productive weekend, (up)

User: BilboBaggins - 17 October 2009 14:59

Hi Alpacalover. Glad to hear that your lecturing week went well. Good luck with the new job on Monday. Definitely chill out before then. And well done your partner on his Masters score. I studied my Masters part-time, so can understand what he's going through with that.

I'm still working away on thesis edits, but generally around 8-9pm in the evening, or a bit later. Though I managed to do 3 hours last night which was really good, filling in a substantial gap which needed to be filled. Find that a time of day I can manage, and it leaves me nearer to normal sleeping times.

So I'll still be nocturnally working for some time yet, but not as extremely nocturnal as before.

User: Sue2604 - 17 October 2009 22:11

Hey Bilbo, 3 hours is really good! You're powering ahead!! Well done!!

And that's great AL, knew you'd be a star lecturing! That's a great achievement. Enjoy you're nice w'end with your partner, you deserve it. Good luck for Monday, that's very exciting. If you find you get a bit anxious about the new job, just remember, little by little - you can't know everything all at once. Enjoy the world of paid work!

User: Alpacalover - 01 November 2009 22:33

Hello folks, hope you're all doing well, I saw lots of you have been working this weekend, very proud of you all, I am doing rubbish - in fact i've done nothing for weeks really :(

new jobs are going well though, lecturing is good but very tiring actually and so much prep time involved! My other new job (the permanent one) is going great, I love it and can't wait to go full time when my lecturing is over at end of november.

I am trying not to feel guilty about no thesis writing as my poor little brain could not handle doing it while learning two new jobs but as soon as i'm down to one job the thesis work is going to be my new evening and weekend pursuit! :p

Just wanted to say hello and let you all know i'm still around and following the threads! strangely I seem to be missing doing my thesis work, keep looking at all my work in the corner of lounge and my mind map on the wall and worrying that when I do come back to it i'm going to really struggle to remember everything and all the things that I just kinda kept in my head (ideas etc)! Hopefully it will all come flying back when I sit down to it though.

Anyway, thinking of you all and hoping your work is going well and all very productive. Sue, I hope the article is done or close to and you're getting some sleep!

User: Sue2604 - 02 November 2009 00:38


Nice to hear from you! Glad to hear things are going well. Am not surprised that lecturing takes lots of prep - I found prep for tutoring took me hours and hours, so am sure lecturing would be a big effort. And excellent that you're enjoying your new job! Don't worry about getting back to your thesis, you'll get there. Once you start back into it am sure you won't remember missing it! Will become that millstone around the neck again!

Article drags on and on. Got the latest version done, thought it was pretty good, sup has suggested lots of changes again...she keeps talking about how I need to improve my style, but doesn't actually say how, so I'm a bit as sea really. Her changes make my work better, of course, but I still don't see what's really wrong with my going to have to talk to her about this.

And are you still around Bilbo? Are you OK? Haven't heard from you for ages...

Keep well and happy everyone.

User: BilboBaggins - 02 November 2009 09:58

Quote From Sue2604:

she keeps talking about how I need to improve my style, but doesn't actually say how, so I'm a bit as sea really. Her changes make my work better, of course, but I still don't see what's really wrong with my going to have to talk to her about this.[/quote]

Definitely talk to her about this. My supervisor criticised my thesis writing style hugely a few years ago (I'm part-time), but gave me very constructive criticism to improve things. Without that you're just floundering around.

[quote]And are you still around Bilbo? Are you OK? Haven't heard from you for ages...
I'm pottering along slowly but have been taking a break over the last week or so - very knocked out due to the long-term illness. Also had a slight freak-out moment yesterday when I realised it was the start of another month, so 1 month less to my absolute and final deadline. But it didn't last very long.

If I can manage it I'm generally working for an hour between 8 and 10pm GMT (can be 8-9, or 9-10, or something else) in the week. So not middle-of-the-night hours so much, but slowly getting there. Have drawn up another massive to-do list of things to be done, and slowly working through it.

Nice to hear from you Alpacalover.

User: Sue2604 - 02 November 2009 10:19

Sorry to hear you haven't been the best lately - hope you're as well as can be at the moment. Yes, I know re freak out! Still, not much we can do about it.

I'm not going to make my March deadline, but my new motto is 'it takes as long as it takes', so am trying not to stress. We'll all keep pushing on!

User: teek - 03 November 2009 10:41

I thought this thread had gone rather quiet, nice to hear from everyone.

Sorry you've been unwell Bilbo, but well done for keeping to a work schedule in spite of it, I need a little of thet consistent discipline I think. Glad you're enjoying the work Alpaca, always a ray of light to hear from someone enjoying life outside of the PhD :) And thank you Sue for that statement of calm, I see the months ticking by and the dread creeps into my chest again - yet at the same time, it's easier now that the deadline feels real, the end is in sight!

I haven't written in at least a week, but I've tried to tell myself I need a minimum of 10,000 words by Christmas. I've been keeping an ad-hoc science blog on my live journal too, it's definitely helped me to just get writing and thinking about the work more broadly. And I have cracked on with some gruesomely repetitive lab work, I feel like I'm getting towards the end of the major experiments which is awesome.

Ah, feeling more positive already!

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