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to continue phd in my current institution or not
C

Hi rewt,

Thanks for your reply. I do have data and research was going fine around a year back. But the whole problem is because of the peculiarities of my main supervisor. I also believe that we can get equally good feedback from the review system. But he does not allow me to submit. When people have waited for his feedback and got fed up and submitted, he has taken revenge on them. That is where I am stuck. He neither gives feedback nor allows you to submit. This has been happening for the last one and half years. He has done that to a senior lab mate of mine and that person doesn't have a single publication despite spending 5 years in our institution. It looks like I am going to the same place. The behavior of my co-guide is also inconsistent. When things are going fine, he is friendly. But I have seen that when papers get rejected, he starts blaming you entirely though for one conference, he didn't give a review at all. This really confuses me and that is why I am considering a change of institution.

to continue phd in my current institution or not
C

@rewt, my supervisors exclude feedback by only telling a part of the feedback of the paper and then start abusing about general stuff like I am not interested, motivated etc. This makes me feel worse and I had to push myself more and more to work. As far as my phd is concerned, I have 3 unfinished works for which they are not giving feedback to complete. My main supervisor's expectation is that I should take help from lab mates to get feedback and finish the work. I tried hard to do that but since he does that so often to students, lab mates also don't help each other since if you start helping, you won't be able to do your own work. They also scorn you and are rude to you so that you don't approach them. The senior students also work from home to avoid helping lab mates. So, as far as I understand, it is not going too well. I had also mentioned a special issue work that I did with another student of my co-guide. Though my co-guide appreciated me just after submission, when there was a lab meeting, my main supervisor only acknowledged the other student and not me. The co-guide also appreciated that guy in the meeting and not me. I find it wrong since that guy did nothing in the end. He wouldn't respond to my co-guide's calls or emails and it was left to me to finish everything. I also worked all night before submission though my health is not good. @pm133, I agree that I should learn to work with implicit feedback which is one of my weaknesses. I have already started working on it by observing the writing styles of journals and papers instead of relying on my lab mates who don't help.But the behavior of my guide and co-guide upsets me so much that I have hardly done any work this week since I feel down and demotivated.

to continue phd in my current institution or not
C

Ok, this is how it used to go. Every week, they would give some formatting comments and I would correct it. When I gave them the corrected version, they would give some more corrections which I used to do. Then they started shouting at me that they would give only a few corrections and it was up to me to figure out that there were more mistakes and correct them. They would also verbally abuse me that I was not motivated and so on. But as a person, I understand explicit feedback and not implicit ones. Still, I tried to give my journal draft to my other friends and got them to give feedback and tried to improve it. But this cycle took 6 months and it is still not submitted. Then my co-guide deviated me into this special issue submission and after submitting it, I am back to working on the old journal draft. When I was working for the special issue, he again became helpful and I was able to work super fast. Now, he is again listening to my main supervisor and has gone back to the abusive and ignoring mode. My main supervisor is really a busy person and he neither has the time nor wants to spend time with students. By working in a phd program, I have understood about myself that I need a lot more time, interaction and explicit feedback which he is not allowing me to get. My main supervisor has also not given me the review for an older journal paper that I wrote for the last one and half years. I was hoping that I would at least take help from my co-guide and finish my phd here. But I am not able to work with both of them being unhelpful and rude. I also tried to talk to students who were on good terms with my main supervisor to find out what I should change so that he helps me. That is why I am considering starting afresh in a new phd program.

to continue phd in my current institution or not
C

I was working with my guide and co-guide in my phd. I don't get along with my guide but he is a very big guy in my field. Initially I used to get along really well with my co-guide and our styles match well. But for the last 6 months, he has stopped helping me. I had written a journal paper which they have not let me submit for the last 6 months. Every week, they only give feedback about the formatting style and also keep verbally abusing me that I work like a zombie and so on but not tell me how I should improve. I agree that I am not perfect but I try really hard to do my work and be sincere. Last month, my co-guide had identified a special issue of a journal where my older work fit well with a new type of data. We had less than a month to work. He asked me to work with his own student and started giving his own student more importance in terms of technical inputs. But at the end, the new student wasn't able to do much due to lack of experience and I used to work for long hours everyday despite my ill-health and just managed to finish and submit it on time. The new student didn't cooperate at all in the end and wouldn't even pick up my co-guide's calls or answer his e-mails. After the submission, my co-guide appreciated my hard work. But there was a meeting last week and both my guide and co-guide appreciated this new student a lot and didn't acknowledge me. Both of them have again started treating me like before. Before this journal submission, I was seriously thinking of trying for a phd in a new place since I have realized that my main advisor will neither help me nor let my co-guide help me. Please advise.

incompatibility with phd supervisor
C

He is the dean of my institution. He also chairs several important conferences in my field. He is involved in many activities and doesn't have time for students.

incompatibility with phd supervisor
C

That is true. I am almost in my 3rd year. I am not in the UK. I had also considered working independently but he does not permit it. It is like he does not tell you what he wants. He expects us to guess what he wants and do it. If not, the same task goes on for months and you will have nothing. I usually can think of multiple ways of doing a task. I analyze by myself and perform it in a way which seems to be the best at the moment. He also doesn't permit his students to go for external internships or anything. What scares me is that he is extremely powerful and well-known in my field and this situation really gives me panic attacks.

incompatibility with phd supervisor
C

I joined a professor and soon found that his style and mine were not compatible at all. His style is as follows: dictatorial, gives you a problem statement and gives some hints to solve it, extremely presentation oriented and does not listen to you when you give updates on work, gives only inputs on style of presentation etc 99% of the time. I didn't make any technical progress for a year and a half. Finally I got a co-guide from another university with whom I got along really well and completed a project within 4 months. Now my main professor also dictates the co-guides to guide in his style only. Since I am not able to work in his style, I have again slowed down drastically for the last 6 months or so. I had completed a piece of work I completed and he has not reviewed it since last november despite repeated emails and reminders. He also takes offense if you submit it without his permission and considers it a sign of insubordination. I also tried to solve the communication problem with my main professor by asking my lab mates. But they really don't help me. Another problem is that I am already 36 years old and a majority of my lab mates are in their 20's. Also, I am basically a very shy person who is not good at interacting with people. There are people in my lab who don't have publications even though they are in their 5th year of phd. People who have completed have taken around 7 to 8 years. My co-guide was initially very helpful and understanding. I am really depressed and not able to focus on anything. But could you please suggest what I can do to rectify things here if possible. My guide and co-guide are good friends and I am not confident of them helping me. I am thinking of applying for a new phd position, but am really confused and lost.

to brush up on basics or not
C

I am a second year phd student. I was previously working in the industry for 9 years and forgot a lot of the basic knowledge in my field. Since my job was stressful and time consuming, I was unable to really study and brush up my basics properly before getting into phd. Right now, my research is also taking a lot of time and I am facing the same problem. Some of my friends tell me to just study whatever is immediately required for my research and move forward. Which approach is better? To study everything thoroughly somehow or to just study what is immediately required. Also how many hours do you guys put to update your knowledge and how do you manage to do it?

To continue Phd or not
C

@tru, I was really angry with him when I wrote the email to him since he didn't care to think about my safety when he asked me to do data collection. He also has a team to do the data collection and I don't understand why he is not letting me take their help. At that time, I had every intention of leaving. Later, I thought through and felt that I want to complete Phd in this institution and am ready to do it with him as long as he supports me for data collection. But he is not giving me an appointment for discussion and that is making me nervous. At this point, it will be nice if we can talk and I can know from him what he wants exactly. Based on that, I can decide to stick around or move out. My plan B is to hunt for another supervisor here itself. As you pointed out, he is very famous and has many ppl lined up. But he has stopped guiding ppl but expects them to follow an approach which he has in mind. If your way of thinking matches his, you can do it. If not, lots of ppl are struggling now. He neither reviews papers nor reads our progress reports. It is becoming increasingly difficult to work with him now since he is stubborn and expects ppl to fit into his cement mold. I will again remind him and see if I can talk to him.

To continue Phd or not
C

I am really getting scared now. My prof replied that he would like to talk sometime. But after that he is not giving me an appointment. He is the kind of person who will not meet students without an appointment. I sent him two reminder mails and after two of them, he said that he is busy with summer school. I went to the lab after a long time to meet someone and he was right there when I expected him to be in the session of the summer school. I don't know what he is driving at. The basic minimum thing I expect from him is that he should talk to me once before I continue with the final decision to see if there is anything else that can possibly be done.

To continue Phd or not
C

It is only the first year of my Phd. I wrote to my advisor and he replied that he would like to talk to me some time two days back. However, he hasn't told me when. I spoke to two of my colleagues about my situation. They were quite understanding. I also reminded him twice by email and I still don't have a response from him. When I called up another colleague, she told me that my advisor had told a student that I am leaving. I am confused since from his email, he sounded like he wanted to convince me to stay. The general procedure in the university is that the advisor talks to the student asking for reasons and then try to convince them to stay. If the student doesn't agree, then they take it forward to the administration. Does that mean that he is no longer interested in me???? I am really worried because if he finishes talking to me and things move forward, it would be great. But if he asks me to go, I will really be unhappy that he supported an intern and the annotation team.

To continue Phd or not
C

Hi,

My prof put me in a project in which an intern, post doc and annotation team were already working. The intern is a cut throat kind of person who doesn't share information with me. He is independently working on the same project and is not doing much. But he knows how to impress the professor and has a good rapport with him. The post doc is also not a good person and is known to steal credit for other's work and so on. The project involves a lot of data collection. Initially my prof asked me to collect data inside the campus which was ok. The intern did nothing and took the data from me. I didn't want to create an issue since he has got an RA ship in a better place and will move out. He also used to ask me what I did and present a part of it as his own to the prof. In the next stage of data collection, you have to go to roads and collect the data yourself. There is an annotation team who is supposed to do that and it is both time consuming and risky. I assumed that the prof would make them do it. But he asked me to do it. I told him repeatedly that it can't be done by me with reasons. He initially agrees, then asks the annotation team to do. They then tell that the prof asked them not to help me. The intern is staying as far away from this as possible. I once went to collect the data and got stuck in an unsafe area and that traumatized me. I wrote to him that I want to quit Phd since it looks like he doesn't want to support me. Prof is guiding students lesser now and doesn't review papers. He wants the lab to help each other and he will supervise less. I am a shy kind of person who is not good at taking peer's help. Can I survive here or should I go?

to change my supervisor or not
C

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your support. Prof A. finally agreed to take me. I diplomatically explained to Prof. B that I was not the ideal candidate for her field. All the formalities are done and I have started working with Prof A. Am really happy now.

Chinnu

to change my supervisor or not
C

Hi Tru,

I have written to him and he has not yet replied. I am thinking of approaching 2 other profs to see if they will accept me. But Prof B is the dean of the college and I am not sure how they will feel about it.

to change my supervisor or not
C

Hi Tri,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have decided to ditch Prof B and join Prof A if he accepts me. I don't have any scholarship except the one the college gives me, so it should not be an issue. I have not started work yet, so that again should not be a problem. As you have rightly pointed out, I selected Prof B since her students told me that she defines the problem statement but gives you the freedom to choose the methods. But as soon as I started interacting with her and indicated my interest towards machine learning, she started pushing me away from it. She only wants me to use a tool with old fashioned methods. So it looks like I will get stuck with medical imaging which was my second choice and not have the freedom to select my methods.

Chinnu