university

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julieocean
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Re: university

Post by julieocean » Thu Mar 29, 2012 23:08

Can't really help I'm afraid as my PhD is funded. I do work my full maximum 6 hours a week on top and I find even that pretty exhausting. I think the thing with doing it full time is that its easy to get sucked into all the other stuff going on on campus, teaching, seminars, study groups, etc, which you don't get with part-time study. It has its up sides - you do get to see other students and share experiences, but there's also a danger you end up drinking coffee and talking about research and not actually doing anything - I'm co-organising 2 symposia at the minute and it seems to be taking up a ridiculous amount of time!

I know a few people who are doing it part time and working and it's more of a commitment than I could cope with, but everyone's different. And if you've done a lot of the work already it might not be so bad. I could put you in touch with my friend Helen who is just finishing and has a 2 year old. She works full time as well (and changed jobs and moved to a different country half way through), so she'd be able to tell you about the reality of juggling all those different demands better than I can.

Lovely to see you on Saturday by the way!

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Re: university

Post by crystalball » Fri Mar 30, 2012 17:08

Thanks Julie. Woah, your friend. I couldn't do all that. I hardly manage as it is at the moment and I'm not at work or anything! I was laughing at myself re-reading my post just now, having just had a ridiculously stressy day on no sleep. And there is popmusic on top of all that... Maybe I should pick it up again when I retire, at the age of 97. It's doing my head in cos I miss studying. In summary, then: *shrugs*

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Re: university

Post by Carys » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:36

I'm also wondering about the logistics of doing a PhD, albeit without any kind of parental responsibility. Obviously I'll apply for funding, but wholly accept that I am unlikely to get it. I can't even comprehend the idea of doing a part-time PhD as it's such a long time to be focussed on one idea, especially as it might have gone out of date by the time you start... So my only option would be to try and work 0.5 of my hours at work and do a full time PhD and part-time work. I couldn't afford to work less.

Would that be totally impossible? I'm imagining that if I could work mornings, I could spend the rest of my days studying and writing. A 50% salary cut would be a terrifying prospect, but I could grit my teeth and (comparatively) struggle for three years, I think.

julieocean
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Re: university

Post by julieocean » Sat Mar 31, 2012 15:44

Most Universities have limits on the number of hours you can work if you're studying full-time, at Leicester it's 15 (it's the AHRC that dictates that I can't work more than 6). I must admit during my undergrad there were periods when I was working anything up to 20, plus overtime, and even during the first year of my PhD, I was doing an extra half a day a week (unpaid) on top of my six hours, so if you're discreet you could probably get away with it. Having said that, the main reason they put the limits in place is because that's the maximum you can work without your studies suffering. It's a lot more flexible of course, but the hours you have to put in are at least equivalent to having a full-time job, so working half-time you'd really be committing yourself to 60 hour weeks. You also need to bear in mind that it is year round and officially you only get University 'closed days' and about 4 weeks off, which doesn't leave much scope to recharge the batteries.

It depends on what kind of research you're doing as well, but mine is mainly archive-based and there's no way I could have juggled working every morning with getting to the various archives and libraries I need to consult during opening hours - my main archive has just moved to Lincoln (a four hour round trip) and Birmingham Central Library is winding down for their move and I can only get to my principal written resource between 10 and 6 on Wed/Thurs/Fri at the minute. On top of which in most departments you'll be actively encouraged to teach, which is a lot of additional prep time, plus you may not be able to chose when that is. These are the kinds of things you don't necessarily think about, but are worth factoring in when making your decision.

Sorry to sound so negative, but I think it helps to have a realistic picture. With regards funding, just apply, they can only say no and even though it is competitive someone has to get the money! I know you may have a definite idea of what you want to research, but it might also be worthwhile looking at projects that come with funding to see if there's something similar to your interests. The three of us who are co-organising these symposia are all AHRC funded, but none of us are doing our 'own' research - two of us are doing collaborative doctorates set up by our departments and the archive we work with and the other one is part of a much bigger project which has a couple of PhDs and several postdocs attached to it. There is often some flexibility in what direction your project takes, so my office mate, who's funding is to study 'telefantasy', has narrowed her focus to to look at children's programmes, although its still some way from her real interest which is in science fiction literature! Once you've got a doctorate, you can always go back to your own research and, although it's no longer the guarantee of employment it once was, it will still open doors that a Masters won't.

Hope that helps and hasn't dampened your enthusiasm too much!

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university

Post by Carys » Sat Mar 31, 2012 21:19

No, not at all - it's actually really good to know what to expect regards working. As for 60 hour weeks: well, been there done that, but it's certainly far from ideal.

I'll definitely apply for funding, and am quite prepared to keep an open mind about what to do for my PhD if it'll get me funded - there will (hopefully) be time later in my career to do my own research.

I just feel that a long break from university has convinced me that I would like to pursue a career in academia, and it feels like the biggest obstacle is the money.

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Re: university

Post by julieocean » Sat Mar 31, 2012 21:39

Going back to University had convinced me I really don't want a career in academia! I've found teaching very stressful, I'm terrible at organising my time and being disciplined when it comes to research and I find the politics really distressing. Having said that I think I'm quite unusual and most of my friends and colleagues love it and are all looking for academic jobs. Getting work is hard at the moment though, particularly in the arts and humanities and I only know one other person who's either recently graduated or about to graduate who's found a full-time permanent lectureship. Plus it looks as though I'm going to have to do a Masters to make any progress in my chosen field (libraries/archiving), so all in all the PhD's been a bit of a waste of time and effort.

That's not to say, however, that everyone's experience is as negative as mine!

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Re: university

Post by Carys » Sat Mar 31, 2012 21:49

Sorry to hear you're not enjoying it. I also know lots of people who have hated academia once they get into it.

I used to be a teacher (hence 60 hour working weeks) so would feel pretty confident about that aspect of it if I was more qualified. I think I just need something that's brain-challenging as opposed to the emotionally-challenging work I do at the moment. That said, I do have "But what's the point?" moments when studying that I don't have with work, so it's not all greener on the other side.

My partner's a librarian and yeah, it's near impossible to get decent library work without a professional qualification in librarianship. Certainly you can't get jobs in academic libraries without an MA in it; I do know one or two librarians in public libraries without MAs though.

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university

Post by Carys » Wed May 02, 2012 11:54

Okay, so in terms of PhD (funding) applications - is there anything (aside from studying) that I can be doing now to improve my application? It's less than a year before I start making applications and I want to do everything I can to give myself the best possible shot.

To be honest, applying for funding feels like buying a lottery ticket - entirely unlikely it will come to anything - but I can't afford to do one without funding. Any advice, however obvious, much appreciated.

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Re: university

Post by MattH » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:49

Did any of you clever swines go to uni in London? I might give it a shot if the rap game doesn't work out for me.

Is it worth the cost that everyone talks about?

(Will probably wait until we have a free education system though)
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Re: university

Post by Carys » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:26

MattH wrote:Did any of you clever swines go to uni in London? I might give it a shot if the rap game doesn't work out for me.

Is it worth the cost that everyone talks about?

(Will probably wait until we have a free education system though)
Yeah, I went to Goldsmiths, back in the days when fees were £1500 a year.

I seem to remember that you were allowed a bigger loan for studying in London. I found it hard to manage and worked all the way through - I had three jobs at one point! I have masses of student debt, which I don't really expect to ever pay off - I pay a little each month but it hardly covers the interest.

Would I do it any differently? No way! I am still in London now, ten years after I moved down, only a mile away from where I started. Having jobs throughout Uni meant I was pretty employable when I finished, and I doubt I'd have the job I've got now without my degree. The debt's a huge thing, but in the same way, it isn't. It's not like anyone's going to break your legs for not paying it. It's sort of like background noise for me.

Good luck!

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Re: university

Post by MattH » Tue Mar 05, 2013 15:22

Carys wrote:
MattH wrote:Did any of you clever swines go to uni in London? I might give it a shot if the rap game doesn't work out for me.

Is it worth the cost that everyone talks about?

(Will probably wait until we have a free education system though)
Yeah, I went to Goldsmiths, back in the days when fees were £1500 a year.

I seem to remember that you were allowed a bigger loan for studying in London. I found it hard to manage and worked all the way through - I had three jobs at one point! I have masses of student debt, which I don't really expect to ever pay off - I pay a little each month but it hardly covers the interest.

Would I do it any differently? No way! I am still in London now, ten years after I moved down, only a mile away from where I started. Having jobs throughout Uni meant I was pretty employable when I finished, and I doubt I'd have the job I've got now without my degree. The debt's a huge thing, but in the same way, it isn't. It's not like anyone's going to break your legs for not paying it. It's sort of like background noise for me.

Good luck!
Thanks Carys! What did you study at Goldsmiths? What's Graham Coxon like? Is there any hope for my generation?

I like the analogy of debt being like background noise. That's cool. In 2013 though, £9K is really fucking loud background noise. A dubstep remix of Ed Sheeran's lasted banger. On repeat. Forever.

Well I'm gonna wait until 2020 for sure. Who knows? We may have a free education system by then?! Or we may have all woken up to the fact that you don't need some poxy little uni to educate and inspire people.

Thoughts anyone?
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Re: university

Post by Carys » Tue Mar 05, 2013 17:13

MattH wrote:Thanks Carys! What did you study at Goldsmiths? What's Graham Coxon like? Is there any hope for my generation?

I like the analogy of debt being like background noise. That's cool. In 2013 though, £9K is really fucking loud background noise. A dubstep remix of Ed Sheeran's lasted banger. On repeat. Forever.

Well I'm gonna wait until 2020 for sure. Who knows? We may have a free education system by then?! Or we may have all woken up to the fact that you don't need some poxy little uni to educate and inspire people.

Thoughts anyone?
I studied English. Apparently Graham Coxon presented some awards at my graduation or something, but I didn't go. I was alone with him in a bar once, while Sleater Kinney played in the next room. I casually raised my glass and gave him a nod - he did the same.

I know what you're saying about the £9K, and I can't lie and say I'm not relieved I missed out on that. But an insurmountable amount of money is an insurmountable amount of money - after a while, it becomes meaningless. All in all I owe around £24K - these days it'd be £46K, but my repayments would be the same and I'd still never be able to pay it off, which in the end means that the extra debt is just extra money I'll never pay back... So in a way, I think student debt's pretty meaningless. Maybe easy for me to say, but I'd hate it to put someone going to university if that's what they wanted to do.

I can't see us waking up in 2020 to free education. In fact, I think it will be even more expensive. So why delay?

What is it you hope to study, Matt?

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Re: university

Post by MattH » Tue Mar 05, 2013 19:25

Carys wrote:
MattH wrote:Thanks Carys! What did you study at Goldsmiths? What's Graham Coxon like? Is there any hope for my generation?

I like the analogy of debt being like background noise. That's cool. In 2013 though, £9K is really fucking loud background noise. A dubstep remix of Ed Sheeran's lasted banger. On repeat. Forever.

Well I'm gonna wait until 2020 for sure. Who knows? We may have a free education system by then?! Or we may have all woken up to the fact that you don't need some poxy little uni to educate and inspire people.

Thoughts anyone?
I studied English. Apparently Graham Coxon presented some awards at my graduation or something, but I didn't go. I was alone with him in a bar once, while Sleater Kinney played in the next room. I casually raised my glass and gave him a nod - he did the same.

I know what you're saying about the £9K, and I can't lie and say I'm not relieved I missed out on that. But an insurmountable amount of money is an insurmountable amount of money - after a while, it becomes meaningless. All in all I owe around £24K - these days it'd be £46K, but my repayments would be the same and I'd still never be able to pay it off, which in the end means that the extra debt is just extra money I'll never pay back... So in a way, I think student debt's pretty meaningless. Maybe easy for me to say, but I'd hate it to put someone going to university if that's what they wanted to do.

I can't see us waking up in 2020 to free education. In fact, I think it will be even more expensive. So why delay?

What is it you hope to study, Matt?
This is very interesting and enlightening. I'm delaying for a number of reasons. I had a desire to be a musician before I had a desire to be a Doctor of Psychology. I want to stay true to that. And I also genuinely believe £9K a year ain't gonna last. I still live in hope that Britain will have a free education system at some point. Maybe not in my lifetime, but at some point in history.

I agree that money is meaningless by the way. And it's good to know that Graham Coxon isn't a dick. He's a Derby County fan after all...
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Re: university

Post by Carys » Tue Mar 05, 2013 19:35

Is doing a degree and doing music mutually exclusive? Most people I know do their bands alongside full-time work or college, or in some cases, both.

I do hope you're right about the fees thing though, and personally, I don't think there's any sense of rushing into uni anyway. For me, going to uni was just a good way to get to London and away from my shitty home town.

And I never said Graham Coxon wasn't a dick! I just said he wasn't a shit to me.

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Re: university

Post by Gordon » Tue Mar 05, 2013 19:52

Move to Scotland for reasons outside of education. Maybe live there for a year. Study for free (tuition-fee-wise).
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Re: university

Post by MattH » Tue Mar 05, 2013 19:59

Carys wrote:Is doing a degree and doing music mutually exclusive? Most people I know do their bands alongside full-time work or college, or in some cases, both.

I do hope you're right about the fees thing though, and personally, I don't think there's any sense of rushing into uni anyway. For me, going to uni was just a good way to get to London and away from my shitty home town.

And I never said Graham Coxon wasn't a dick! I just said he wasn't a shit to me.
You're making me think about things here Carys. Is this what uni is like? I don't like it...

And I stand by the fact that Graham Coxon is Not A Dick. God bless him, the little sheep shagger.
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Re: university

Post by MattH » Tue Mar 05, 2013 22:32

And Gordon, I like your suggestion there but I don't think a move to Scotland is ever on the cards.

Hmmm decisions...

Let's see where we are in 2020 as was suggested earlier.
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Re: university

Post by MattH » Thu Apr 11, 2013 04:14

Just realised guys. We have a free education system. It's called going to lectures for free...

Just turn up at any university. At any time. Hang around the lecture hall. Go in.

Then you sit down. Listen to some boring bastard talk about himself. If it's a woman. Well. Then you just objectify her. Everyone does. EVen though she's a fucking doctor. Even the girls do it. Make notes. You'll need them. FOR BURNING.

Steve Jobs mate. That's me. With better jeans.

I'm thinking Nottingham. University Of that is. Who's up for it?
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Re: university

Post by Silver Girl » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:26

MattH wrote:Just realised guys. We have a free education system. It's called going to lectures for free...

Just turn up at any university. At any time. Hang around the lecture hall. Go in.

Then you sit down. Listen to some boring bastard talk about himself. If it's a woman. Well. Then you just objectify her. Everyone does. EVen though she's a fucking doctor. Even the girls do it. Make notes. You'll need them. FOR BURNING.

Steve Jobs mate. That's me. With better jeans.

I'm thinking Nottingham. University Of that is. Who's up for it?
D'you reckon that''ll work for my fantasy plan of going back to study medicine? It'll save me about 45k but I'm not sure the GMC'll go for it....heh heh...
"I don't know who you're talking about..."

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Re: university

Post by MattH » Fri Apr 12, 2013 21:11

Silver Girl wrote:
MattH wrote:Just realised guys. We have a free education system. It's called going to lectures for free...

Just turn up at any university. At any time. Hang around the lecture hall. Go in.

Then you sit down. Listen to some boring bastard talk about himself. If it's a woman. Well. Then you just objectify her. Everyone does. EVen though she's a fucking doctor. Even the girls do it. Make notes. You'll need them. FOR BURNING.

Steve Jobs mate. That's me. With better jeans.

I'm thinking Nottingham. University Of that is. Who's up for it?
D'you reckon that''ll work for my fantasy plan of going back to study medicine? It'll save me about 45k but I'm not sure the GMC'll go for it....heh heh...
I don't know Silver Girl but Good Luck!

£45K

What do you get for that? Do they want it all in like one go? Christ alive.

A free education system. Will this happen in our lifetime?
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