Interview No.2 Feedback, Masters Thesis, and PhD funding.

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Hey all! Since my last post things have become more certain on the PhD front. I attended the interview at Newcastle and had a great time. The city and local area was nice and the building was fantastic. Everyone was so friendly and the supervisor on the project asked his post-doc to show me the facilities. I had a great time looking around and seeing the birds. I also had a lot of time to ask him questions about the people and wider university. On the whole, a great experience. Coming to the interview itself I was nervous as you would expect. The panel were 4 people which in itself is quite scary. My nerves were settled quickly as the interview was far more akin to a semi-casual chat about my interests and thoughts on the project than anything. The interviewers were really nice and seemed to be genuinely interested in my opinions on the topic. Overall, a great experience and I would have been happy to have done my PhD there. A week later I received their decision and it was a no 😦 This made me sad at first but it has made things more straight forward as I now know for sure where I’m going next year (St Andrews!). I emailed the supervisor straight away to thank him for the opportunity to apply and visit and for some constructive criticism regarding my application. His feedback was wonderful and greatly settled my esteem which had been knocked after the past few applications. Overall, it seemed that they had 5 very good candidates and they just needed to find something to distinguish us. He emphasised that he believed I would go on to PhD and do well. All is good πŸ™‚

My masters project is continuing to progress which is nice! I’ve gathered some nice data showing that the labelling on the cells will work and will be soon testing the main hypothesis! It is a tad stressful as I’m balancing data collection with write up (which sometimes means taking images from the lab and putting them straight into the thesis) but it’s all part of the experience πŸ™‚ I be continuing the project past submission so even if the thesis is lacking in the final results I will still get to test them πŸ™‚ Nothing else to report on my project bar receiving written feedback on my oral presentation (β€œStudent Seminar” a few weeks ago. The three markers all provided strong and constructive feedback on my presentation which is going to help for the future! (I have two more presentations to give this year).

Now. St Andrews. I have been in search of funding for my PhD. The past week I have emailed a number of relevant societies to see if they offer funding and I have 4 good options so far πŸ™‚ in an idea situation I’d be granted full funding such that I could start full-time but I am also pursuing part-time options such as looking for P/T technician and research associate jobs as well as bar work. The former options would be preferred as I would be gaining relevant and valuable experience but an income is an income to some extent. Hopefully this goes well. I’m moving to the St Andrews area either way as my partner has a fully funded place for PhD in the same school :).

Things are generally positive at the moment and plans for now are to get this thesis submitted and continue looking for funding and housing in the St Andrews area πŸ™‚

Thank you for reading.

BCT

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Interview feedback, interview invitation, and the general stress of this time of year!

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Apologies for the large gap between my previous post and this one. Things have been…hectic lets just say that. The masters year is a very good one but at times a few things can creep up upon you at once (in particular if you’re also making post-graduate applications!) but this is what’s been happening.

I received a response from St Andrews regarding my recent Skype interview: I’ve been accepted to PhD! But without the studentship :(. This is fine as the competition was fierce and there are of course limited places. At least I and my project have been accepted πŸ™‚ I’ve been communicating with my supervisor-to-be about potential funding options and it seems I have a few realistic options. Firstly, large funding bodies nowadays tend to fund departments/schools and not individuals so the chances of obtaining funding from one of them are slim. I am currently looking for charities, foundations, and smaller funding bodies for those interested in funding behavioural physiology and cognitive psychology so if you have any ideas do not hesitate to send them my way! If I’m unsuccessful in obtaining funding then doing the PhD part-time is a realistic option. The head of postgrad admissions has already declared they’d be more than happy for me to do it that way and that many people often don’t take much longer part-time which is nice! This still leaves me with the issue of money to live! I’m currently looking for part-time and flexible jobs in the area which could support me during my time. I’m really hoping for a technician or research associate position as I would be gaining relevant experience whilst working but if it comes to it I will take anything! So St Andrews is good but stressful at the moment.

On another positive note, I received an invitation for interview at Newcastle! I’ve spent bits of the last week doing background reading to the project and generally preparing for the day (Thursday 28th). As this interview is in person, I really wanted to see the facilities and meet the people I would be working with. I contacted the PI on the project who has wonderfully arranged for a member of his lab to show me around on the day! It’s going to be a good, long (~6h of journeys) but good day!

My research project is still running slowly. A number of logistically and experimental issues keep popping up and though I continue to bat them down they send their friends back afterwards! I am determined to get a result so will continue! I had my project presentation last tuesday which I felt went well which was nice.

Plans from now are to continue with the project, a few pieces of in-course assessment, and this upcoming interview!

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

BCT