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  #1  
Old 04-26-18, 11:10 PM
mind_in_orbit mind_in_orbit is offline
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Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

I've just gotten a master's degree out of a third attempt at a PhD program. I've found that one of my problems is difficulty concentrating on mundane things--I can be very creative when thinking of research directions, but in grad school it seems it's more important to find something within an adviser's area of expertise and see it through to completion. This has been a difficulty of mine. Has anyone else had issues with similar things?
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Old 04-26-18, 11:19 PM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

Seeing things through to completion? You bet.

I tend to work very hard in the initial stages of a project, but once the exciting bits are done and it's time to wrap things up -- say, actually get a paper submitted -- I tend to lag. It's as though once something feels reduced to a previously-solved problem, I'm no longer interested. (Also, perfectionism, which is a bad combination with a tendency to transpose numbers, overlook things, and have trouble generating the "oomph" to finish things...)
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Old 04-27-18, 12:46 AM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

(P.S. I did brute-force drag myself over the finish line to defend -- a mere 2 days before the final, doubly-extended-and-not-to-be-extended-again deadline for getting kicked out. )
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Old 04-27-18, 01:03 AM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

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Originally Posted by namazu View Post
Seeing things through to completion? You bet.

I tend to work very hard in the initial stages of a project, but once the exciting bits are done and it's time to wrap things up -- say, actually get a paper submitted -- I tend to lag. It's as though once something feels reduced to a previously-solved problem, I'm no longer interested. (Also, perfectionism, which is a bad combination with a tendency to transpose numbers, overlook things, and have trouble generating the "oomph" to finish things...)
This sounds a lot like me. I love doing the research part of a project if the subject interests me. It feels exciting to be solving some puzzle by finding interesting new pieces of information and fitting them together. But once the puzzle is solved, I find it to be much more difficult and much less interesting to organize all the information I've collected and write it into a paper.

On the other hand, I've also found that when I do write up a paper even if I don't look forward to it in the beginning, the process of organizing the information and putting it into a coherent argument or narrative sometimes reveals new information that I hadn't seen before. And it can also reveal flaws in what I thought I knew if the information ends up not quite fitting together into a convincing argument like I thought it would .
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Old 04-27-18, 12:25 PM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

Of course!

When I got my masters, my diploma was delayed because ... I didn't fill out the required paperwork.

The deep challenge of getting a Phd is that it can be so unstructured ... along with huge pressure and self-pressure ... If you wanna get through a program, you want to:

1. Know exactly what you want your dissertation to be on BEFORE you start.

2. Get to the right advisor ... someone who will insist you write kinda fast ... and push your through ... Someone who will help you narrow your topic.

3. A laid-back advisor for someone with ADHD ... can be a disaster ...

4. You want a narrow dissertation ... really focused ... one that does not encourage going on tangents of research ...

5. Find a buddy who is up on paperwork ... and take your cues from them. That's the only way I graduated from college on time. My roommate was up on all the requirements and deadlines, and he'd always grab me to go with him when he was filling out some form. (I didn't realize this at the time, but I can see this now! Thank God, my roommate liked my company.)
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Old 04-30-18, 11:33 AM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

Hi there! Also a grad student here. I'm supposed to be on my final term now, but guess who hasn't started writing their thesis yet!

Now to your question. Yes, it's bad when you have ADHD, but it doesn't help either when your "adviser" offers neither structure nor guidance. My "adviser" is pretty hands-off and vague about deadlines--he doesn't even nag me about my progress.
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Old 05-09-18, 04:11 PM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

This is kind of what happened--I got an advisor who is VERY focused and structured. I learned to narrow, a lot. We both agreed that my interests and skill set weren't a close enough match for a PhD, but were for a master's degree. So now I have a master's--the issue is where to go next. I want to get to the point where I can eventually pursue my "crazier" ideas, the issue is the road to get there.
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Old 05-09-18, 04:17 PM
mind_in_orbit mind_in_orbit is offline
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

By the way, "laid back" professors found me really interesting to work with. In fact, one apparently went to some prospective students for my program during interviews and said that my perspective on his work made him more interested in accepting people from the program in the future. The problem is that when push came to shove, they didn't feel they could spare the funding. There's my Asperger's which makes me think outside the box, but then my lack of tolerance for the mundane means I never get to actually use it. In the past 6 months I've gotten a lot better than I was--I never could have coped with so much structure before, never mind get done everything I did this semester.
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Old 05-09-18, 04:43 PM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

congrats on getting a Masters!
I've always wondered what would have happened if I had pursued my studies; I can picture having trouble narrowing down my topic, and then desperately needing structure but being very annoyed if I were questioned/nagged about my progress.
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Old 05-09-18, 05:38 PM
mind_in_orbit mind_in_orbit is offline
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

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congrats on getting a Masters!
I've always wondered what would have happened if I had pursued my studies; I can picture having trouble narrowing down my topic, and then desperately needing structure but being very annoyed if I were questioned/nagged about my progress.
Yes, isn't that odd? The trait of needing structure, yet also being stifled by it at the same time.

What did you study?
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Old 05-11-18, 09:34 PM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

I was utterly brilliant in going on tangents in research ... and finding all kinds of creative and interesting ideas ... But then as soon as I'd focus ... I'd find another tangent.

In an ideal world:

1. you would hire an assistant who does the mundane stuff .... and helps you not get too off track ...

2. partner with someone with a complementary skill set ... and you'd explore your brilliance widely ... and the partner would find ways to get the research into a project form ... into a paper ... into publication ... into a book ... grant and so on ...

I know of famous researcher who had his own full-time secretary as a professor. I said to myself, I know why this guy has a full-time secretary or assistant! ... He needs one! ... don't know if he as ADHD or not, but I was guessing that he was ...

I think brilliant ADHD people crave intellectual adventure ... the problem is ... they will start the adventure down the Amazon River ... and then part-way through, suddenly decide to go climb a mountain ... and then on the way to the mountain, they discover something else ... and so on ....

The problem is as much as this type of person craves freedom and lack of limits and boundaries, they absolutely will get lost in that "freedom."

Oh ... one thing I found helpful: don't get too clinical with people ... people don't know what to do with official mental health diagnoses ... A much better route is to simply claim your space as someone who loves to explore a wide range of ideas ... and who hates detail ... even highly organized people understand that there are others who don't like "detailed" or "tedious" work. They get that ... some organized folks don't really like tedious tasks ... they just have the ability to make themselves attend to these tasks. And they have friends, spouses, siblings, parents ... who don't like tedious tasks ... and aren't good at these tasks.

Tone
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Old 05-13-18, 01:41 AM
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Re: Any other graduate students--adjusting to research expectations?

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Originally Posted by ishi450 View Post
Hi there! Also a grad student here. I'm supposed to be on my final term now, but guess who hasn't started writing their thesis yet!

Now to your question. Yes, it's bad when you have ADHD, but it doesn't help either when your "adviser" offers neither structure nor guidance. My "adviser" is pretty hands-off and vague about deadlines--he doesn't even nag me about my progress.
Yes, having a laid back adviser can be a big problem. That's probably why it took me 6 years to complete my dissertation.
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