Signup date: 18 Aug 2016 at 9:10am
Last login: 06 Dec 2019 at 1:37pm
Post count: 11
I've had problems with my supervisors since I started my PhD 4 years ago. I've now got two and a half years left, part time, and one of my supervisors has been removed from my supervisory team for being screaming at me for no reason and refusing to admit it. The other one is the senior one but for various reasons I don't think he is a good supervisor. I also don't like the environment at the university I am at and I think it encourages the kind of behaviour that got my secondary supervisor removed. Has anyone here changed universities and would you recommend it?
I'm also not in a nurturing environment and am learning the limitations of my supervisory team. I have been advised to get support from other sources such as other PhD students and emailing other academics. If I had been aware of this in my first year I would have changed, to be honest, as I don't work well in the kind of environment I have found myself in.
This does not sound like a constructive relationship to me. You've only just started and are already having problems. He doesn't like your work style, which sounds like it works well for you so is worth continuing with. A good supervisor will recognise that and support you in that. He is also running you down already which is a bad sign. When you are further in and are maybe having doubts about your abilities (which happens to the majority of PhDs at some point) you will need somebody who will boost your esteem not crush it. Do you feel that you can discuss these problems with him? If not, I would think about changing supervisors. I think the most important characteristic of a supervisor is a good relationship rather than their level of knowledge or prestige.
Firstly, why do you think you are failing? Have your supervisors told you that or are you surmising?
Usually work published from your PhD is usually a small section of it which may well be of high standard. Unfortunately that doesn't mean that the PhD as a whole is passable. But most of them are defendable once they have reached the viva stage.
That sounds like some kind of solution. I definitely can't make it through without support from someone though. I'm worried that if I take it further it will rebound on me in some way. I don't get the impression that academics are keen on being challenged and will band together to protect 'one of their own'. I'm also part time and only go in for supervisions so I don't know the other people in the department and can't suss out who is 'safe' to talk to in order to get advice. I'm wondering about sidelining the secondary supervisor a bit, who is the one I find more difficult to work with.
I've obviously got a reputation as a 'difficult student', which is really annoying because I didn't have this reputation when I did my masters. I had a lovely supervisor then and I really enjoyed working with him. I don't know how much this kind of reputation will affect my career/job in the future (I'm seriously doubting going into academia now because of this experience) so I don't know how much I need to pander to these guys.
Yes, it is in the UK.
Having written that out and read it back I can see that it looks really bad.
I'm not going to take it further though - it's my career at stake, not theirs. And the guy who sent me away against my better judgement is a big name in his (my) field and could really screw me over.
Yes, that was what the meeting was about earlier. I met with them separately to ask for direction and they were both equally as vile as each other. That was what got me wondering about whether they had got together beforehand to work out a strategy. The thing is, I have spent over two years trying to get a research permit for the country I want to research in and a few weeks ago it all unexpectedly fell through. I've spent a lot of money going back and forth, meeting people and making contacts to get the permit. A couple of years ago one of my supervisors sent me to a friend of his, in country, who said he would get a permit for me. I thought it looked dodgy and told my supervisor, at which point he got mad with me for doubting his friend and so I went over. Lo and behold, it was dodgy, the guy asked me for $1000 to get the permit and then admitted that he had no intention of getting the permit and actually wasn't even authorised to. (Which is why I thought it was dodgy to begin with.) I spent a few months trying to get the data I needed and then hit a dead end and had to give up so came home. My supervisor never mentioned it, despite having sent me out there against my better judgement. (I think I'm owed an apology but there you go.) So they know I'm in it for the long haul - I've spent so much time and money and not given up yet. They have never been responsive if I go to them with a problem, especially if it doesn't relate directly to the actual work. They just like to sit there and judge my work, usually negatively.
Thanks for the reply. I'm not concerned about my lack of motivation - that comes and goes with anything, I can find ways through it and am not worried that it's not going to come back. I am worried about the standard of my work though and that my supervisors are deliberately pushing me to give up. That's my real concern.
Hi Tudor Queen.
Thanks for the answer. Yes, I can see the thesis being finished in two years, that's not a problem. I think I've just hit one of those walls and am struggling a bit at the moment. My supervisors have never been great with support but after emailing them saying that I was struggling (with the work as well as motivation) they were absolutely vile. It's only been a couple of months, it's not like it's a long term problem. That made me think they were pushing me to give up rather than trying to help me find ways through.
I'm really struggling with my PhD at the moment. For various reasons I don't think I'm doing very well and am losing motivation now. (I'm 6 years in with two and a half left to go.) I've had a lot of problems setting up my research and at the last minute have had to change a lot of what I'm doing, which has heralded the dive in motivation. My supervisors haven't been very good at dealing with my recent lack of motivation and I am worried that they are secretly trying to make me give up. If someone isn't doing well are the supervisors obliged to advise them to give up or am I just being paranoid? Please don't tell me to talk to them about his - I've tried and it didn't go well.
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