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PhD-ing Mamas! Acheiving and Believing in 2009! - Page 6

post #101 of 252
Can I join the party too?

I'm just finishing my first year in a neuroscience PhD program, my DD was born during winter break and I was able to start classes more or less with everyone else this semester. I still have some makeup work to do from the fall semester (having pregnancy brain and ADD is quite an experience!) but my department let me take the spring off from lab work so classes haven't been too overwhelming.

Congrats/good luck to all of you who are defending soon! I should get back to studying for exams.. just wanted to introduce myself!
post #102 of 252
Welcome - wow - good luck! great that your lab was flexible. I had the worst pregnancy and PP ADD - I still have it - hence why i am posting here now instead of writing! I worked in computational neurobiology for a while for my undergrad and Master's theses, and it was really interesting. I sometimes think about going back, but I know its just the dissertation fatigue talking LOL
post #103 of 252
Hey folks - how is the end of the semester wrapping up???

I was wondering if anyone else is in the same boat as me.

I come into work - surf the net, sort of look at what I have to do, prepare myself. Chat, etc. lunch comes around, I have lunch, check e-mail one last time, then from 2 to 4:30 I am like a madwoman. I just don't know how to start out that way. It like I know I haven't done my to-do list, so I hurry up and just do all of it, in one fell swoop of brillance. If I could do that at least a couple hours in the morning too, I'd be a lot further ahead. Anyone?
post #104 of 252
Originally Posted by Carita View Post
Hey folks - how is the end of the semester wrapping up???

I was wondering if anyone else is in the same boat as me.

I come into work - surf the net, sort of look at what I have to do, prepare myself. Chat, etc. lunch comes around, I have lunch, check e-mail one last time, then from 2 to 4:30 I am like a madwoman. I just don't know how to start out that way. It like I know I haven't done my to-do list, so I hurry up and just do all of it, in one fell swoop of brillance. If I could do that at least a couple hours in the morning too, I'd be a lot further ahead. Anyone?
yep, count me in. i tried to tell myself that it was because i was at home writing but really when i look at the time i was on campus i would do the same thing. i have a hard time getting into the groove or whatever it is...hence my new plan is to have a schedule with goals that is more condensed in terms of time to write. the more time i *think* i have the more i waste it, i am hoping the less time i *think* i have daily will force me to use it more effectively. we'll see if that works.

this week though was a bust, we all were sick on/off during the week & today is the first day i am really getting work done.
post #105 of 252
Carita & Much Peace - that's totally me.

I think I actually work best early, early in the morning (like 5:00 AM) but I just don't get up that early!

I'm thinking more and more seriously about leaving my program. Maybe it's just the end of another LONG semester (I haven't gotten used to the US 15 weeks, I much prefer the Canadian 12 week semesters).

But I think I'm fundamentally unhappy with the odds of finding a job I want when I finish my PhD, the odds of being broke the last two years after my funding runs out, and the odds that I'll hate whatever job I get.

I think I'll eventually finish my PhD. My goal is to be ABD in two years when my funding runs out.

Anyone else thinking seriously of leaving academia?
post #106 of 252
Can you just get your MA FTMPapa? Would that help you in the job market. If you want to leave academia - do it NOW before you waste precious years. I am a bit jaded. After several years with my DH and I in grad school, we are now looking at jobs back home that we could have had with our training 5 years ago, and will never pay much. Becuase our priorities after having children are so much different. Now I could care less about traveling and presenting at conferences and getting major funding, and all I want is summers off, snuggles, and spending time with my sisters and parents.

Sooo somehow I managed to sign myself up for way too much this summer - this summer was supposed to be different, but I did it again - ugh! So wish me luck. Right now I am writing a paper - its the first peer-reviewed research one I've done myself. Its taking so much longer than I anticipated. I had most everything written, but now I've decided to re-do all graphs to make things more coherent and tied together. I hope all of this work will pay off!

Hope everyone else's summers are well!
post #107 of 252
Can I join you?

I am ABD in sociology (and have been since 2006) :. I need to defend by December 20th or risk termination from my department. Yikes!

I can use all the support I can get!
post #108 of 252
yup!!! join the party!!!
post #109 of 252
Hi Alana! I'm in soc, too! Welcome!

Carita - I have my MA.

I have an external grant that will keep paying me for the next two years, on top of $$ for a part-time TA, so part of me is like "GET OUT!" but it actually makes not too bad sense to just hang out for two more years, while gradually progressing to ABD and working half time at a decent wage. We don't have exams in my department, so it's kind of a different thing. We write papers. My goal is to write papers that will help me move toward the job sector I've already identified my interest in.

You're very smart to recognize and point out how your priorities have changed after having children.

I am absolutely anticipating how my priorities will/have shifted. Can you say more about how yours have? I think mine have already shifted in many ways, but I'm wondering how others have changed what they valued after having kids.

I realized I like all the perks of academia - job stability (once you get one of those coveted TT jobs), flexibility, certain ways in which the academy is family friendly, summers off, etc.

BUT if I could have all those perks, and a challenging, motivating career in the public sector, and a much better chance of getting a position, I am no longer interested in conferences, publish, publish, publish, or any of that other stuff. You know?

I'm looking into research positions in the Canadian government, with a goal of spending the next two years getting ready to move that way.
post #110 of 252
Well - FTMPapa - I realized that academia is not as flexible or mama-friendly as I thought it was. There are no such thing as summers off. Its publish or perish. And in teaching only colleges, the load is the same as an instructor, but the pay difference is not very much, plus you are expected to advise students, do committee work, etc. So basically, I work 9-5 anyway, including all summer. Yes, no one is looking over my shoulder if I need to leave for an appt, but I can't get away with a MWF schedule if I want to make any research progress.

Secondly, I live very far from my support system (aside from DH of course). The thought of my child not knowing his grandparents, aunts, uncles is really saddening for me. Now all I can think of is moving back home.

Thirdly, conference presentations, publishing, grant writing (and even teaching sometimes) are all very high stress and they consume me on my off hours. Plus they are so brain intensive, that they are not very compatible with my preganacy and post-partum/breastfeeding hormones :P. Not to mention that all of the travel is already impacting DS - this summer I will have to attend my first conference without him becuase DH just isn't able to take all that time off to come with me to every workshop/conference I need to attend. Having work I can leave at the office seems very attractive now.

All this said, I am not going to leave academia yet - I am much too close to the finish line. There is the possibility that publishing and research and teaching will all become so much easier and second nature to me - I am waiting! But right now I am looking at lower stress jobs that I could have just had with my MA and sort of kicking myself. I know I am a better person for doing this, but it doesn't make me feel any better when I think about DS being in DC all day while I get a degree that may or may not contribute directly to my future dream employment...
post #111 of 252

Yeah, I'm thinking similarly - different parameters, some output. For me, where I live is much more important that I realized - not because of family, but because of my hatred of being completely dependent on an automobile, etc.

Incidentally, I found this blog/website/thing recently: http://www.leavingacademia.com/

I don't think pursuing the PhD - especially when you are SO CLOSE to the finish line - is ridiculous. I'm planning to finish mine - I just don't know when! After I have a job outside academia, for sure, because I'm planning to get out when my funding runs out. I may return. I like to think that it will be an option for us!

(I don't think it gets easier. Of course, I don't know for sure, but talking with and working closely with two women I know who are both well-respected, both full professors, and both mothers, they both make it look easy, but it isn't. I think the idea it will get easier is something we tell ourselves to keep us going.)
post #112 of 252
Thanks for the welcome!

My priorities have definitely shifted. I moved 600 miles away from my program and got a job as an adjunct in 2006. A month later, I got pregnant with daughter, who will be two in a few weeks. I took the following summer off, and then my partner was laid off from his job and I went back to teaching - 3 courses a semester - when DD was a3 months old. I'm lucky that these are courses that meet once per week, but that still means I am spending much more time on teaching and parenting than I am on writing.

Sometimes I think if I hadn't left my academic community, I would have finished by now and gotten an academic job. But my ambivalence about this work has grown and it does seem very isolating to me and NOT the kind of supportive place I had hoped for in terms of being parent-friendly.

I think, at the end of the day, my personal AND professional priorities have changed...
post #113 of 252
: alana! welcome to the group.

priorities...yes & no on them changing. i always knew family was going to come first & affect work, but i did underestimate or not properly account for how to mesh work/family. while i do think it's been easier in the academy for me than if i had been in a different institutional setting, there are unique challenges to it in general because of the type of setting it is that i don't know if i really understood before.
post #114 of 252
Hi PhD mamas -

I'm working on my 2nd draft of my dissertation prospectus. My advisor says it's great but needs just a bit of tweaking. I'm SO happy that he thinks the project is good. I need to defend it in June. I just need a lil' support and this thread is perfect for that. So, my goal is to finish this revision by Friday. I just need DS's naps to be long enough to do that.

I'm finishing my 5th year, and just completed exams last semester. DS is 11 mo. DH is finishing his PhD this month, he submitted a completed draft last week. Yay. He doesn't have a job yet, though, it was a rough year on the job market. And, b/c of the economy I might not have funding next year. BUT, I'm trying not to worry about that and just type instead.

Okay, back to work.
post #115 of 252
keep the good work up!!!! can your DH find an adjunct/visiting prof position - I've seen a lot advertised right now... or even a postdoc
post #116 of 252
Originally Posted by Carita View Post
can your DH find an adjunct/visiting prof position - or even a postdoc
yes, he could... but, it's funny(ish), after 6 years of grad school he's disenchanted w/ academia and is jumping ship - he's quite happy about it. he'll probably get an MBA, so he needs some business experience. we're hoping he can get a temporary job for this coming year at a local business or even in the university's investment office or something. he applied to business schools this year, but was wait-listed - i think not having any "real job" experience hurt his applications. i'm sure he'll find something interesting to do this year, even if the pay is low. i'm just hoping it will be local so that i can be close to the library and, more importantly, my awesome playgroup.
post #117 of 252
hehe - i know how he feels!! some days I think about jumping ship as well.

Oh yes, and to update on me - still working to try to get myself together for a confernce in 2.5 weeks. Then after that I am going to a teaching workshop (I know, but I couldn't resist the chance to get away and commune with link-minded people!).

Anyway, DH has a job interview back home - in guess what?? - academia!! Crazy! I guess this particular university will hire MS w/experience, and DH is interviewing for a lesser job as a lab manager, but his predecessor was promoted to asst. professor - hence the job vacancy. I am going nuts now that all of a sudden my future is unknown. Can I do it from afar? I don't know!!! I am really frigtened. I put the feelers out for jobs back home, and two institutions are doing searches next year in my speciality. One within driving distance of this job and one not. So we will see.

We will starve on noodle ramon for a year until I finish my dissertation if we have to I guess. If I settle for an instructorship or the like once I'm done, then together the two of us will make what DH makes alone now... It makes me wonder if being back home is worth that, but I guess we will see. His interview is next week.
post #118 of 252
so, it's 1:27 am. i just sent a revised draft of my dissertation prospectus to my advisor. it's about a week after i'd hoped to, but still in time to meet my next deadline. i don't like staying up after DS and DH go to bed. i really don't, but i guess that's what it takes. so now, advisor will read it and then i send it to the rest of the committee, then, the scary part - i have to send it to ALL the professors in the department this coming tuesday. i wish i had time to totally rewrite it. DH says i shouldn't worry b/c no one will read it as closely as i'm reading it now. but, that doesn't make me cringe at it less.
okay, back to my bibliography now, then sleep.
post #119 of 252
debra--welcome & on getting the prospectus out. i am also impressed that you are able to work at night, i tried just doing 8-10 pm & couldn't really function. i use to be able to do night writing (before kids) but now by the end of the day i am too wiped out too focus.

carita--did your Dh do his interview yet?

as for me...i am nearing the finish line, but feeling the pressure of the deadline looming. i was waiting on some revising comments, just got them & so next week will be busy. i feel like i still have so much writing to complete & it needs to get done this summer or i am toast.
post #120 of 252
muchpeace - interview was Tuesday, and now we are just waiting. yuck... i am with you on not being able to function at night... I don't know what i would do if I couldn't find a good preschool for DS - I would never graduate!

well I worked clear through lunch, so I am going to go grab a late lunch... Working on so many things right now... ugh - got my conference next week, and still haven't started the presentation... trying to get some figures together for my last project, and also trying to finish my article for submission. I need a good abstract and an even better title.
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