Showing posts with the label being an academic

The end of the PhD

My PhD has been printed off, handed in, examined, corrected, printed off again in hardbound form, signed off, handed back in and I have graduated. AT LAST!!! This is my last post about the PhD (I think!) and goes through some coping mechanisms I developed at the end when I was juggling finishing off with a full time job... Me and my younger sister at my graduation The end of the PhD was hard work. It's a long, time consuming process that I have mentioned previously . I'm currently working as a project officer in public engagement with research, my job involves evenings, weekends and general odd hours. Juggling both the job and the PhD was a bit tricky at times, but just about manageable. I had to allocate work, PhD and free time effectively and stop doing a number of things that I enjoy. I haven't spoken to friends or family as much as I wanted to. Finding time to write blogs that required research was tricky as I just didn't have the time. There were a numb

What makes a PhD Thesis?

*warning* this is a self-indulgent blog post. I am suffering from a large bout of PhD thesis 'tunnel vision'. All I can think about at the moment is the massive amount of work I have to do in such a short space of time. When you have three years of work, a computer full of data and a head full of thoughts and ideas... where do you start? The worry of unemployment also likes to creep in... I don't have a job lined up for when I finish (yet, but there are some things in the pipeline). My aim is to be mostly finished by October. My last payment from my PhD will be in August. My brain starts panicking about all of these things at random times throughout the day, and then I can't get anything done. It took me ages to get writing. I had a plan, but I still found it completely overwhelming.  I'm usually someone that forms a plan quickly and then gets going and I wasn't. So I started getting stressed about that. The hard work has been done already. I know I h

Happy Scientists

It's Friday and although I will be working over the weekend, I am feeling pretty cheerful. Lab life can get you down sometimes, a never ending stream of failed experiments, things to do, late nights, early mornings and a lack of appreciation. Personality clashes, politics and unwanted work are themes from any work life. But, sometimes, labs can be the most fun place to be, a source of comedy, fun and practical jokes.  Here are some things that have made me SMILE and kept me HAPPY over the past 2.5 years. The people you work with can keep you going.  Please share your sad times and good times (practical joke tales encouraged) and keep laughing. When it all goes horribly wrong (does it get any worse than boiling western blots with students?!).......   Someone might give you a special gift   Look away!   You might win a prize   Supervisors can make or break you....   Someone always has cake   You never know when

How many papers should academics publish per year?

Post-doctoral researchers in Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen were told this week that they need to be publishing, on average, 3.25 papers per year in order to have a competitive chance of getting a research fellowship. I always get worried when I hear exact numbers being quoted as 'what you NEED to have'. The number, apparently was determined by asking research councils that give fellowship grants what they look for. A good idea in theory, the ones that answered the request said they want (on average) 3.25 papers per year. But do the people that receive fellowships really have that record? That isn't clear. With a decrease in research council funding is more research being funded by industry? I don't know, as I don't have the numbers. I'm just speculating, but, if you are industry funded my experience has been so far that you are likely to publish less as your results will go towards things like patents and be kept internally for the company.

Things I wish I had known when I started my PhD

I am entering the final stretch of my PhD and here is a list of things that I wish I had known (or things I wish someone would have told me) when I started my PhD...