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Advice required (PhD/Research Assistant Position)

  1. Oct 1, 2009 #1

    Eventhough this post is kindda long... please read and suggest :)

    I probably thought about asking advice in a Psych forum but i think it has to do more about how a Professor thinks. I think this is the best place to get advice on that...

    I submitted my Master thesis a month ago, usually the evaluation is over within 2 weeks but I am still waiting for the results of the evaluation of my thesis. My supervisor told me it was very difficult to understand meaning too little text and too much equations unfortunately my deadline was up so I couldnt change much.

    Now after quite some time (last week) I wrote to the prof 'X' of the same department where I did my thesis (He just has a vague idea of what my thesis is about) and asked him if I can get a position as a Research assistant at the institute, well he emailed me back saying that he definitely would and that we ought to discuss on what i would work on...

    past history: One of my friends who did his thesis elsewhere approached prof X for a position in june, and that time my prof X said yes but after listening to his thesis presentation (Coz he did it at another university) he said all the places are filled up and he would offer him a position 'probably' next year. My friend was very angry about all this dillydallying. But fortunately he already had 2 positions at hand so it was kindda okay.

    Now, I met my prof X yesterday and even before I fully step into his office he tells me 'Shall we meet on monday, I am very busy tomorrow, thursday and friday'. That was when I started worrying...

    On suggestion I had previously applied to other professors in other universities and all of them are interested in my application [Academically I have a GPA of Math based(7 specialized subjects) = 4.0 and Mechanics based(5 specialized subjects)=3.0] now they want me to make a presentation of my Master thesis just to find out whether I am capable of research and stuff.

    Am in a dilemma, I cant present my thesis as the evaluation is not yet over, havent got the grades of my Master thesis yet and My thesis supervisor is on leave for a month, hez the guy i shud ask if the grading was over.

    I was always among the top 3 of the class academically. As far as my Master Thesis goes am not totally satisfied as I had just 5 months to write it and I felt it needed 8 months or more.

    I am strapped for cash and I desperately need to earn as soon as possible...

    Do you think my prof X would give me a position ???

    Did I make a bad choice in selecting the Master Thesis ???

    Am I screwed big time ???

    should i continue applying for positions in other departments ?? (Havent got my thesis results yet)

    I am depressed!!! and I didnt plan my finances as I expected to have settled down in a research assistant position by now...

    and I forgot to mention that Prof X is world reknown and one of the best in the world. Students with a "sucessful" PhD from this guy end up working for one of the top research centres in the US.

    from one science guy to another... help!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2009 #2
    Im not 100% able to help you on the science side of things. But in my opinion, this looks to be more of an employment issue rather than a science perspective. Same as applying for any other job. In my opinion, you're doing what i do, overthink. Go into it with the same mindset as you would going for a job, and if you really want it, don't give up. If you're one of the top 3 of the class of proclaimed world reknowned professor why wouldn't he give you the position? Academically you have demonstrated ability and initiative from an employers point of view. You do not neccessarily need to be the "best," having a cocky SOB who can do research but has no work ethic or people skill is useless. In terms of financial planning.. (i myself will probably head down the commerce path) you should learn, never put your cart ahead of the horse. Don't rely on other people to cover you. You must have a plan B, if you don't then you better be willing to do everything to get that job. Don't take no for an answer, be committed to meeting with him, don't get discouraged. Most people stop 1 step short from success. Prof X as godly as he may be, is still a person, with emotions, desires, wants and compassions. And you should treat him as so. Show initiative, you have a strong academic background, a masters thesis may not break you. Everyone makes mistakes. But remember, anyone could go and ask for a job, it's the people who don't let up that stick out.


    I am not qualified for a cash control position with TD bank. I went through three months of hell with the TD recruiter to get what i wanted. I wouldn't stop trying, i handed out 46 resumes to 46 different branches. Even though i dont (on paper) have qualifications for the position, i eventually got it.

    I suggest you read the famed book "Think and grow rich" its avaliable on the web for free with a simple google search. And it applies to everything you want in life, not just money.

    Best of luck,
  4. Oct 1, 2009 #3
    Learning to write coherently with decent grammar would definitely help your chances. And why does your thesis need to be approved before you can present it? There is no reason you can't present the work you have already done just because you don't have a grade for it.

    As for money, try applying for a part time job somewhere. You may have to work at some place flipping burgers but money is money.
  5. Oct 1, 2009 #4


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    Education Advisor

    Some advice:

    (1) Until you have a signed contract, don't assume you have any job. Treat yourself as a "free agent" with the ability to go anywhere to market your skill set until you have a signed agreement.

    (2) You don't need "approval" of a thesis to present a talk on it. A presentation for an academic position should be designed not necessarily to present the research itself (although that is a big part of it), rather, to highlight the candidate's skills as a researcher.

    (3) It's rare that someone is completely satisfied with the final product of a thesis. There will always be loose ends that you could have tied up more tightly, interesting tangents that you could have investigated, better ways of presenting the data, etc. At some point you need to close the project an move on.

    (4) I agree with all of Topher925's points.
  6. Oct 2, 2009 #5
    Senjai, Topher925 and Choppy thanx a lot for your suggestions. I have taken note of everything. Senjai thanks for your optimism,found the book and have already started reading it... Today I will start looking for a restaurant job and almost everyone tells me I cant write coherently... Am I suffering from one of those syndromes and stuff :( , and will immediatly make an appointment with the other professor for the presentation.

    I hope it all works out just fine.
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