Just on here for a bit of a moan really. I've got to submit in less than 6 months, have run out of funding, and just feel really depressed by the whole thing. My supervisor's never been great - very approachable but scatterbrained to say the least and at most of our meetings, has only a vague idea of what I'm talking about because she hasn't bothered to read what I've written. We go from one meeting to the next without any thought from her whatsoever and it feels like we're always covering old ground and never getting anywhere. I've written the majority of my thesis, just one part at the end is troubling me at the moment. My sup has 'read' some of it, but I'm sure she only skims it as she never has much to say about it. And she only reads it after being reminded again and again.
I almost lost it a few weeks ago as she was giving me no sensible advice at all, so I spent most of our meeting sitting in silence and then walked out, close to tears. I don't want to fall out with her as I know that's not a good way to go, but at the same time, I'd really like to stand up to her and say what I think, that I'm so near the end and wish she'd take more of an interest and actually be involved in what I'm doing. I did go and speak to my second sup after that meeting, but all he could really do was reassure me and have a quiet word with my sup to see how things were going.
I apologise for the long rant - I've posted my thoughts on my supervisor here before, and I've never really been happy with her. I've tried to ask for another sup as well as my current one, but this didn't go down too well - I'm sure her colleagues know fine well what she's like but don't want to admit it.
I know part of it's down to me - I have a severe lack of confidence in myself and have always felt like this. I think doing the PhD has just made that worse - I keep wishing I'd chosen a different area or a different subject altogether. I'm also worried about not finding a job - academia's not an option, but I've been for a few interviews for non-academic jobs, and my shyness and lack of confidence really lets me down. So I think all my worries are just getting on top of me - I've just been crying quietly to myself in the library :-(
Anyway, sorry for the long drawn out posting...just wanted to share my frustrations!!
Sorry you're having rough Sunday. I just wanted to say it sounds like you've done really well to get this far & only to have 6 months left, without the best supervisor support in the world.
Keep writing, keep focussed & remember you're the best darned Squiggles there is!
I hope the sun's shining where you are, Mog :-)
======= Date Modified 21 Mar 2010 16:45:24 =======
I really feel for you, especially as I'm in a very similar situation, only not even close to submitting -- my supervisor isn't very interested in what I'm doing and has no guidance or advice whatsoever. I feel totally lost and lately quite depressed, at the moment having little hope in my project. I really admire you for having achieved so much, an almost completed thesis, in the face of these troubles! It shows that you are very capable and definitely possess very important qualities in academia -- fighting on in the face of difficulty, and working independently! It's quite understandable that you're feeling blue and nervous so close to the end of it all, but try to focus on the most immediate tasks and take them one at the time.
I am sorry that I don't have more practical advice, but I just wanted to say that to me it seems you definitely have what it takes for this game and that you are without a doubt on your way to getting this phd. I wish you loads of strength for the endspurt and really admire your achievements!!
Squiggles - you have just prompted me to finally post something on this forum! I think i can understand what you are going through - i feel like you were just describing my supervisor, and i am writing up at the moment too (but further behind you). You need to remember that you have already made it 99.98% of the way through this - and if you've done that much, i am 100% sure that you can do the rest. Be confident in your abilities and what you have taught yourself over the past few years - you have the control over the thesis, so do yourself proud. I know what it is like to have a lack of support that comes from a 'scatterbrained' supervisor - it is an incredibly difficult thing to deal with - even on a day to day basis, never mind for the bigger thesis-related things. But you can do it! Remember this - and most importantly, it sounds to me like you need a break from things. Even to meet friends for an hour, an evening, a day. The rest will do you good. Chin up, you're almost there!!!!
Thanks everyone, I know I'm almost there, but having a disorganised, disinterested sup is so difficult sometimes! In one sense, it's actually good to be allowed to do what I like in a way, and structure the thesis exactly as I want to, without having someone giving me advice and changing things. My problem is that I hear about so many other sups who do so much for their students and practically write the thesis for them! (not quite, but the input they get seems to be rather OTT). At least those of us who have sups who couldn't care less know that what we've written is all our own work and we worked really really hard to achieve it!
I also have just a few months to go, and finding these last few months the most difficult and the most emotional, even with a good supervisor. It is really hard, and you sound like you're doing really well, despite a lack of support and feedback!!
If I was you, I would do a detailed time line and plan and discuss it with your sup and get her to commit to reading your work and giving you feedback. I would structure it so that for example, in a months time, you give her all your data chapters and then give her a month to give you feedback. Then in 3 months time, build in that you're going to give her the complete draft and expect comments back in a mth etc etc Sit down and talk to her, ask if she can give you feedback on that work in that timeframe, ask what else she's got on. Do that for the whole thesis over the next 6 mths. Also do this for your second sup, if you want their comments too - in fact, if they could comment as well, it might show her up a bit. If she has a plan and knows that you're expecting work back, this may prompt her. Build in as well things she has to do eg doing whatever admins necessary. Be practical, and meet with both of them.
Don't cry!! This will pass, she just needs a push. You're doing really well, keep going. It will be over soon. Make sure you take breaks too, catch up with friends, and have time off - it's really important so we don't burn out.
Hi Sue, it's good to hear the last few months aren't always easy! That's a good idea to sit down and have a talk with my supervisor and draw up some sort of a timeline. Maybe if she has something concrete written down on paper, it will spur her on!
Good luck with your writing too :)
sounds like me, although my funding is soon to run out, but I am not near completion. My sup seems to be similar except she does offer very direct advice i.e. tells me I have to change stuff. But unfortunately she does this based on her skim read of my work. Recently this has meant she has written comments like "need to write about xyz" at the top of paragraphs all the way through my work - but if she had actually READ the paragraph she would know I have talked about xyz - very frustrating!
It seems ridiculous that you're the one trying to time-manage your sup, but such is life sometimes. I wanted to echo what the others have said, to have come this far with so little support is amazing, you should be incredibly proud of yourself and have every faith in your squiggle abilities. And Sue is right, the last few months (in fact the last year in my case) are just stressful and hard, I'm having a bit of a downer today and there are plenty of times when I could cheerfully chuck my laptop in the fire and head off to become a hippy on some beach in Thailand. Ok, well maybe not a hippy, but a travel bum with an unusually high awareness of genetics anyway.
Would your second sup or even a postdoc in your department be willing to read sample chapters for you, just to give you some feedback and reassurance? I intend to pay more heed to my postdoc than either of my sups (he's the only one who both understands the topic AND speaks proper english!).
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest