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just venting


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#1 toejam

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:06 AM

hey people,

i love this place, i can always rant as much as i want and i definitely need to do it now before i completely lose my mind. if possible. besides, it's not like i can talk about it with many people because most of them are part of the problem, at least the ones i've thought of, and the rest i don't really want to talk to about it.

i feel annoyed, i'm in that part of the thesis writing where it seems an impossible task, not only because of me, but also with my supervisor, i know it's in her best intentions that i finish this thing and she wants it as much as i do, but oh man! it's always the problem of "there is not nearly enough detail in this" to "this is too much detailed", or "you have a different way of thinking consistently" or even worse "we should publish this!" but there are never concise comments or recommendations other than "you're doing this wrong, you should do it all over again" or "change the thickness of the error bars" or "put the symbols on the right rather than on the left, you don't go with conventionalisms".

it doesn't help much that a labmate comes in every morning and says "WE SUBMITTED ANOTHER PAPER!!" like i need to hear that. or that other labmate saying "I SPENT SO MUCH MONEY ON EBAY" gah! no wonder people become so antisocial!

anyway, now taking a deep breath. counting to 10. and getting back to read more papers to finish the literature review. which brings me back to the ranting! i'm on fire! :D i don't consider myself the best student but i don't think i'm that bad either. when i read papers that have the same paragraph repeated twice i wonder, how the hell does this get published? and i mean, i can't be that bad, why is it so difficult for me to get anything approved by my supervisor? taking another deep breath...

thanks guys. i feel better now.
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#2 pito

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:06 AM

Stupid question: but do you "speak" with your supervisor about her comments?
By this I mean: do you have a chat with her about how the adress the problems or do you just read the comments, take note of them, change your paper and send it back to her with the changes done, or?
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#3 toejam

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:12 AM

hey pito, it's not a stupid question. we normally speak about how things should be done and i take notes on the meetings. just now got a document with actual comments on it. i find that easier to follow rather than having my own interpretation about the words she says.

many times it's been a matter of style and even though we're saying the same thing there is no understading. i was just having a moment because like i said, a lab mate comes every week in the office saying they got another paper submitted or accepted. and i mean, i feel happy for them (my lab mate who is with another supervisor btw) don't get me wrong, but it makes me feel frustrated you know?

anyway, things should be better soon. take it easy dude.
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#4 vetticus3

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:13 AM

I know exactly what you're going through.

I was handing in one chapter at a time to my supervisor. One day he called me into his office to discuss the latest chapter, and he said, "you obviously weren't very good at english in high school." Posted Image , I wasn't the best, but i did finish in the top 10% of the class. At the time, I was told that my writing was so bad I needed to make an appointment with the science-writer-dude because my supervisor "can't look at my work anymore". Science-writer-dude looked at it and thought it was really good. The problem was, I don't write like my supervisor writes. That's it. I write simply, my supervisor likes to use latin (I say "by itself", he says "per se").
At the time, I started to loathe my supervisor and hate my thesis with a passion. I did learn something - I repeat myself a lot. In one chapter I discussed the same topic in 3 different paragraphs, right after each other. I thought they were all different. They did have different words in there. I come from the redundant school of redundancy. I was also told that I alternate between too much and too little detail. If I had my way, I would repeat and repeat and repeat.

Luckily, I had a chapter where every experiment went wrong - it was a hilarious tale of misfortune. I was told by my supervisor and thesis advisers that I don't need to include it... but it was the most fun to write. How many thesis include the sentence "the pups were subsequently cannibalized by their mother"? My pear shaped mice, that had gigantic fatty breasts, ate their pups, and attacked their mates... Posted Image Most of my insanity can be traced back to them. That was the only chapter where my supervisor didn't bang his head on the desk when reading it. Miraculously, it had the right amount of detail and no repetition. So, I rewrote most of my other chapters based on that. On a tangent, my final reviewers felt really sorry for me after reading that last chapter, and I think sympathy is underused when getting a PhD approved.

The moral of the story is, it isn't as bad as it feels. It is not an impossible task. Take one chapter, and break it down into it's most simple aspects. Then, begin writing as though you're talking to someone completely out of the field (like me), and then slowly begin to be more specific. It's a pyramid that's upside down. It's a tale, and you need to take the reader by the hand and lead them down the path.

My old lab didn't have the pressure to publish everything. It was more "the joy of investigating" rather than "publish publish publish". When we did publish, we ate cake. We were also quite poor. Now, I'm in a lab that publishes everything, and there is no cake. In hind sight, I prefer working without the pressure to publish. I used to be really confident with what I do, I felt like an expert in my field. Now, I was told that I'm an expert in my field and I don't feel like it. "Expert? Posted Image are you talking about someone behind me?"

So, if you'd like someone out of the plant field to read your review, email me. I can at least look for typos etc.

#5 pito

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 06:02 AM

hey pito, it's not a stupid question. we normally speak about how things should be done and i take notes on the meetings. just now got a document with actual comments on it. i find that easier to follow rather than having my own interpretation about the words she says.

many times it's been a matter of style and even though we're saying the same thing there is no understading. i was just having a moment because like i said, a lab mate comes every week in the office saying they got another paper submitted or accepted. and i mean, i feel happy for them (my lab mate who is with another supervisor btw) don't get me wrong, but it makes me feel frustrated you know?

anyway, things should be better soon. take it easy dude.


Dont worry about others publishing more then you.. You dont need to look at others, but you need to look at yourself.

And the reason why I asked is that often people dont communicate enough.
And yes, its always easier to follow and give them what they want, esp if you are depending on them. But you can "feel" it yourself a bit, whether you can give arguments in favor of what you did or rahter: tell them why you did it like that in stead of how they do it. Never "attack" their opinion, just defend yours.
A lot depends of course on your relationship with the supervisor.
And if its just a matter of "style" , then dont worry at all.. Thats all very subjective and often people have developed their own style and they find it hard to adapt. Even if they are wrong...
But reading your comments, it seems that the arguments are more about final details, finishing stuff up, rather then the fundamentels.. so no need to worry there.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#6 toejam

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:17 AM

thanks guys, the relationship with my supervisor is good i would say, as you point out pito, it's more of a communication problem. i've always tried to be polite in the meetings and any time we talk, there is no point and definitely no need in being confrontational.

i might actually take you up on that v ;) now back on track, reading and writing more...
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#7 casandra

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 06:47 PM

hola tjcito....it seems like only yesterday when you were still doing your masters and we were teasing you about all the pain you have to suffer through first Posted Image....and then, bioforum went through THE crash and its resurrection followed by 2 makeovers and now, my gosh, you're already finishing up your PhD? Think of what you have survived (esp your crazy friends from here).... so muévelo hombre...you're almost there and you've got some pretty good advice in this thread....and just remember, the next time you encounter the writer's block, Les 3 Brasseurs is just a 7 hour non-stop plane hop from there...now go and finish that dang thing...Posted Image

Edited by casandra, 11 June 2012 - 06:55 PM.

"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#8 gebirgsziege

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:47 AM

words of wisdom from casandra - again!

tj, it will be over soon and you will think back in joy - to the big party you will have on the day when you hand in your thesis (although probably not on the next day) ;)

But I agree with the part of getting antisocial - in my new lab I either have people who seem to have a speaking or hearing disorder (you can shout at them and they will ignore you), are busy on ebay and amazon (or facebook or whatever) or seem to publish every single PCR reaction they were doing and think that this is great science......is this a culture thing Posted Image ?
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#9 Ameya P

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:36 AM

My old lab didn't have the pressure to publish everything. It was more "the joy of investigating" rather than "publish publish publish". When we did publish, we ate cake. We were also quite poor. Now, I'm in a lab that publishes everything, and there is no cake.


Very true V. I quite miss "the joy of investigating" in this industrial set up. Although, there is no publication pressure, its all about TAT all the time. Even newer projects that need standardization have a TAT tag to them. Its very irritating Posted Image

In my new lab I either have people who seem to have a speaking or hearing disorder


I think I am one of them :P

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#10 hobglobin

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:25 AM



In my new lab I either have people who seem to have a speaking or hearing disorder


I think I am one of them Posted Image

Earbuds or earphones should be prohibited in labs....Posted Image
One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#11 gebirgsziege

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:45 AM

yes, but these guys do not wear any, they just seem to be afraid of talking to people..........Posted Image
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#12 pito

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:01 PM

yes, but these guys do not wear any, they just seem to be afraid of talking to people..........Posted Image


Afraid of talking to people or afraid talking to you? :P
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#13 science noob

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:14 PM

When working in an environment that involves so many other people (different PhD students, researchers, lab heads, technicians etc) around you, you will meet the occasional anti-social ones. But we can't judge them straightaway as you would know what PhD does to you. I know people who are so stressed that they turn anti-social and start slaving in the lab. Some students were under so much pressure that they just had no time to talk.

Doing research is more than doing good science, it is learning to work within a team setting or office area. It trains us in ways to tolerate, understand, communicate with others. Which I reckon is an important skill for the future.

#14 gebirgsziege

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 12:01 AM


yes, but these guys do not wear any, they just seem to be afraid of talking to people..........Posted Image


Afraid of talking to people or afraid talking to you? Posted Image


hmmm pito, we have never met in person have we? You would remember, me the big green monster with the sharp teeth and the crazy look that makes you think I am just waiting for you to blink to bite your head off Posted Image

but serious now - I do not want to hear peoples live story, do not expect them to make small talk, but when I enter a room I say hello - what is the problem of saying hello as well, especially if you are the only other person in this room Posted Image
and it is not the occasional one who is antisocial or the occasional being stressed out type of antisocial I would not even mention these here, it seems as if the majority of the 200 or so people working in my institute are inpolite or not able to speak and/or hear. Before I moved to the UK I really belived the storys about the English being very polite.......now I start to doubt this Posted Image

Edited by gebirgsziege, 18 June 2012 - 12:02 AM.

A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#15 pito

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 05:01 AM



yes, but these guys do not wear any, they just seem to be afraid of talking to people..........Posted Image


Afraid of talking to people or afraid talking to you? Posted Image


hmmm pito, we have never met in person have we? You would remember, me the big green monster with the sharp teeth and the crazy look that makes you think I am just waiting for you to blink to bite your head off Posted Image

but serious now - I do not want to hear peoples live story, do not expect them to make small talk, but when I enter a room I say hello - what is the problem of saying hello as well, especially if you are the only other person in this room Posted Image
and it is not the occasional one who is antisocial or the occasional being stressed out type of antisocial I would not even mention these here, it seems as if the majority of the 200 or so people working in my institute are inpolite or not able to speak and/or hear. Before I moved to the UK I really belived the storys about the English being very polite.......now I start to doubt this Posted Image


If we would have met in person, would I still be able to tell it....? Posted Image


And about the "saying hallo".
True. And I think that even if they dont need to talk about their life stories.. I think you should be able to chitchat a bit with people you see every day..
You can like all of them... but still...

But in general: isnt this a typical phenomena/behaviour in this time and age?
You see it on the streets too and in general: people are less "social". People hardly say "hi" to people they meet in the street (ok, I can get the idea you dont want to say hi to total strangers.. but often people dont even say "hi" anymore to their neighbours or people they often see eg at the train station..)

One more thing: its your "new" lab.. but whats new? I can imagine that if you are the new kid on the block.. people are less likely to say hi.. but this should change normally. But not sure how new you are.. so if you allready passed this "being new phase" its horrible to work in such place.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.




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