Lesson No. 1

Well I finally had the news that I have been offered an unconditional offer to start my PhD in January. To be honest I am glad about this as I am getting bored being unemployed. Yes I could have started doing some research and I have been doing some reading but I am one of those people who without a deadline or confirmation I tend to lack motivation but now that it has been confirmed I will be off to the archive next week to start some work.

However, despite the good news there is a lessons here. Do not be afraid to nag and pester the administration at the university. I have had a good experience where due to problems with the Bindery and me living away from the university I was able to deal with a specific person and solve the problem of submitting my hardbound copy on the same day as graduating despite the fact that it should have been done a few weeks ago. This was good service. However, on the other hand I had some problems with my PhD application. Nothing major more annoying really. Part of it was my fault, problems in sorting out a reference which I think got lost in the post. Despite this though I put the application in back in September and only heard yesterday. Yes part of this was down to only getting the second reference in by the end of October but considering that I had put down to start in January it might have speeded things up. I sent several emails and got replies saying that they were busy but would get back to me. Well I was at uni for my graduation yesterday so I thought I would go and see them. The reply I got astounded me. They said they were waiting for confirmation of my MPhil. Now I had confirmation four weeks ago and was there for my graduation, as I told them. To me this was odd as I was graduating that day. I should add that I did not have my robes on at the time but maybe I should have; it would have added to the dramatic effect. Anyway later one in the day I got an email confirming my offer. Moral of the story do not be afraid to go an pester as much as possible. Universities are big bureaucratic organisation so keep on at them until they reply. They will but it may take time. Do not leave it like I did and get yourself worried.

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4 responses to “Lesson No. 1

  1. Again, congratulations!

    I couldn’t agree more, sometimes you have to be as annoying as possible in order to universities to pay attention to you. I spent months waiting to hear if I got into various institutions, then a few more months waiting on funding offers. Ultimately it was through many persistent emails that I got a solid offer that included a stipend.

  2. Cheers Robert. Yes quite frustrating but at least I have learnt the lesson before I start. Always go in person if you can I think is the key leeson learnt. Unfortuanatly I thin that we do need to think like customers paying for a service something that universities can forget about. It is not something that I would advocate with your lecturers/supervisors but to move admin along I do not think it harms the situation.

  3. University admin seems always to be somewhat of a byword for dysfunctionality. Individual people are often very good, but there seems to be something about the environment that causes things to go awry…

  4. I’d go along with that. I dealt with one person in particular with regards to signing the hard copy of my MPhil thesis that had to be deposited in the library before graduating. However, issues with the Bindery moving and my living away from uni made this difficult. However, constant emails with a specific person meant that it was coordinated in an efficient manner that allowed me to attend graduation at the right time and sign it all on the same day. I think the problem comes when you email a generic email that then has to be distributed to a specific person. It then just becomes problematic.

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