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Pointless masters


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4 replies to this topic

#1 jen_23

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 01:24 PM

Hey everyone - suppose I just need to vent really though any advice is appreciated.

I started a masters pretty much 3 years ago.
When I started I was told there was maybe 6-8 weeks worth of travel which ended up being a year.
I didn't mind as the project was interesting. My supervisor went on leave during this time and sent out notifications to all her students for meeting requests except me.. and did the same on return from leave. I'm not sure what I did to offend this supervisor but it was very obvious I wasn't liked.
I was supposed to do a pHD but as this behavior bothered me and the guidance was almost nil I decided i'd stop at a masters so 2 years in I began to write up.
I did not get any guidance from my supervisor so I used other students thesis as guides on how to write it up. (which later my supervisor requested I return as other students needed to use it.. which is fair enough ... if there wasn't about 200+ thesis in the library!).
Anyway - each time I sent a draft in via email I would get a response basically saying it wasn't up to scratch and to rewrite... usually I would just be told to rewrite it.. there was no guidance as which direction to go.. what to change.. what papers might give me an idea of what to do...

I initially handed in my first draft last christmas... my supervisor took until March to get back to me.
I changed what was wanted and sent back within a week or two and again it took my supervisor about 8 weeks to get back to me. Usually when my thesis was returned with corrections there was usually very little explanation of why she didn't like what I had written..

I sent what was my last draft in around June - my second supervisor wanted it submmitted so this time it was returned a few days before the submittal date in late August to which I was told it's fine - soft copy bind it and send it in. I was also told to write an abstrace and it wasn't going to be reviewed..

I did that... and gave it into my second supervisor who passed it onto my internal and external examiners in late August.

I got an email last Friday evening which I didn't see until Saturday from my second supervisor asking me to contact him urgently about my thesis.
I rang this morning to be told that it had come back and that I could hard copy bind it .. I asked "oh there are no corrections then?" to which my reply was "well.. there are so many corrections and the examiners were late handing it back so there's no point.. were going to put it through as it is... as far as thesis go the overall standard is appalling".

Now I was so upset by this considering I had put in so much work between self managing my project due to lack of supervision and guidance from any supervisor. I don't understand how if the quality had been so bad how It was allowed to be sent for submission. I am so discouraged and feel that the last 3 years were a big fat waste of my time.
I really wish I had never done this as it definitely was not worth all the hard work. Especially in the first year when I got up at 6am to commute and usually wouldn't arrive home until 9-10pm at night and writing my thesis for up to 12/13 hours a day. I would have been so much better off working and earning money than wasting my time.

I just don't understand how I could have been allowed to submit it with the standard being that bad.

#2 Adrian K

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 07:23 PM

Hi jen_23,

Sorry to hear abut that.

You had just "intimidate" me... I'm really afraid that my boss would do such to me because I'm not the favourite student and I quite often makes her angry but of course is not in any wrongdoing. She used to not telling me when she was off for vacation and caused my progress report to submit late (I need her to sign), and hopefully wasn't penalized.
I'm also doing my master now, almost 3 years (include 1 year as research assistant), just like you: without guidance at all: do all the lab work, paperwork, writing... etc.

One thing for sure (this is what I do) I chase her daily for my correction for my papers and posters (that makes her angry).

I'm not sure whether your supervisor understand this: if you submitted a thesis which is not up to standard, this implies that he/she is not up to standard as well.

I just wish you all the best.
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

..."best of our knowledge, as far as we know this had never been reported before, though I can't possible read all the published journals on earth, but by perform thorough search in google, the keywords did not match any documents"...

"what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"---Goddess Casandra reminds me to be strong

"It's all just DNA. Do it."---phage434

#3 Piersgb

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 06:01 AM

At whichever institution you're at, is there any code of conduct document/rules that you could refer to when it comes to unfair treatment? Maybe try talking to higher powers at your institution. Explain the situation, ask for witnesses to confirm what you've seen/felt.

Sometimes people aren't meant to teach because they act like your supervisor, and it's so unfair on the students. It does sounds like there have been so many internal failings for them to allow you to go all the way through to submission and then quote the quality as 'appalling'. That is awful.

What is your secondary supervisor like? Are you on good terms with them? Maybe explain the situation to them fully?

#4 jen_23

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 06:52 AM

Thanks for the replies,

I'm not sure of the code of conduct. I can't seem to find any information on it but I will look into it.

I have email documentation on every time I sent drafts of my thesis chapters and again replies of when I received corrections back (usually about 8 weeks every time..)
As for witnesses there isn't really any - even though other students have had bad treatment as well they would never say anything as they still have to work under this person.

Though for some unknown reason I seem to be the person my supervisor had it most out for as when went on leave - every other student had meetings on leave and return to give updates and guidance except for me!.

The secondary supervisor is the one who who told me my overall standard was appalling.. that there were so many corrections there was no point in me doing them so they were just going to put it through without being corrected.
The thesis as far as I know came back on Friday and the board meeting was today.

I sent an email this morning saying how disappointed I was and how I had been given the okay to put it through by my other supervisor so I don't understand how I was allowed to submit such an appalling thesis. As of yet I have not received a reply...

I am so frustrated by it all!

#5 pito

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 01:40 AM

from what country are you? And do you need a master to do a phd?

I cant get rid ot the feeling that in most countries the system is completely different from here in belgium.

And in the end: if you pass.. who cares ?


Its always a risk when doing a thesis or work like that: you never know how the people are and too bad, there is still a lot of subjectivity going on

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.





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