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Possibly starting PhD

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by Joel I, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Joel I

    Joel I Well-Known Member

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    I've been very busy this year while doing an Honours research project at Griffith University. I was encouraged to submit an application to start a PhD next year. My research has been in conservation biology, which I'm extremely passionate about. The application I put in was to continue the work I began this year in the Honours and the idea of continuing to help out species that are disadvantaged is appealing. However, giving presentations and reading and writing a lot is a challenge for me. I'm now thinking this will be too much for me. While doing Honours this year has stretched me and had a big melt down a month ago. That was more a result of not being able to communicate well with my partner but the extra stress of the Honours study and PhD application was too much.

    Overall, I should be proud of completing the Thesis everyone is telling me. But I'm now worrying about having to give a presentation about the thesis in a fortnight. I was told after I did the proposal presentation that I was not "engaging", I have never done public speaking well as I'm an Aspie, antisocial and struggle with communication. Thankfully I'll be talking about something I love - animal photos, conservation and BATS!
     
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  2. Rayner

    Rayner Well-Known Member

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    good for man, I tried I'm still working on my undergradute. I'm going to the university of Wyoming.




     
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  3. Joel I

    Joel I Well-Known Member

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    Well Rayner, if I can do it I’m sure you can too. I started university straight after school but that didn’t work well. After learning more about myself including that I have Aspergers Syndrome I started at a different university with good support and I graduated a bachelor of science with double majors in wildlife biology and marine biology last year. The bachelor took the usual 3 years and during it a professor suggested I do Honours with her. So I have a good amount of support that has helped.
     
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  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Extremely impressive. When l think of engaging- tone of voice, some emotion as smiling. A little bit of hand gesture. Maybe a power stance held for 30 seconds. And a pause in your delivery of speech for where you want your audience to think or you wish to stress a point. But this is off the top of my head. There probably is some good things to watch on YouTube. Also- the people you admire, watch them and how they deliver info dumps, and try following that format.
     
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  5. Exbrewer

    Exbrewer New Member

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    You don't need to be aspie to have thoughts like these. I remember wanting to run away when facing a similar situation over 40 years ago. However, I also remember the huge sense of relief, satisfaction & achievement afterwards. My tips would be:
    - do your preparation well so you can be as confident as possible of your subject
    - learn your first sentence off by heart to make sure you start as you intend to
    - practice speaking slowly and clearly as nerves tend to make you speed up
    - have a glass of water to hand to stop your mouth from becoming dry and give you a way of pausing to gather your thoughts should you need to.
     
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  6. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    Congratulations on the invite to start your Ph.D. If that is a goal, then go for it!

    Regarding public speaking, I am not good at it. However, I did successfully defend a doctoral dissertation in 2014, so you can get through the presentation. I sort of looked through the people in attendance without making eye contact with anyone. That help me in presenting. When I was asked by questions I responded to the best of my knowledge. If I was not able to answer, I commented on that the topic was not noted in the research data collected. At the end, remember to thant those in attendance. At that point you are done.
     
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    I like this. You can stare at the spot between their eyerows. This is less intimadating.
     
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  8. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I got my Phd proposal accepted, but I unfortunately didn't have time to work on it as I started a new complex job at the same time. Presenting is a learning curve, don't be put off, because you will get better with familiarity and practice, we are often a bit rubbish at that kind of thing at first, but we are also unusually good at learning from our mistakes, as long as we persevere. Make your slides good and informative, without too much info on each one, and then just do your best. If everyone was perfect at the start we wouldn't need education!
     
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  9. Stella lange

    Stella lange New Member

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    Congratulations on your honours, the fact you have been encouraged to go straight from honours to a PHD without stopping for a masters shows people have confidence in you and your ability. Everyone struggles with a phd - as it is a significant body of work held up for academic scrutiny, even if they don’t reveal that struggle to others. My academic path was the same as the one you are planning but in another area, what helped most was my supervisor had confidence in me, and I was in a small faculty with a good group of others who were also studying - do you know those you will be around and do you feel comfortable being with them? Remember - academia is a place many of us feel comfortable ....compare to other places. Our focus and special interests fit well there.
     
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  10. Joel I

    Joel I Well-Known Member

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    I've known the main supervisor for years now and she knows I have Asperger's and works with me well. She has a Lab group of other PhD candidates that I've been included into meeting while I was doing the honours project and they have all been supportive. I'm going to be doing some fieldwork with my other supervisor soon and we also get on well. They are both friendly, talkative people who understand that communication is something I struggle with and they have been very helpful so far.
     
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