So I just got out of that last meeting with my supervisor before she leaves for a year, and I am feeling totally deflated.
I am about to start my third year. She kept going on about the second year being not such a bad time for the supervisor to be away. About how in the second year I should be doing this and concentrating on that. How I shouldn't worry about X and Y because the second year was way to early for that.
I never even corrected her, it would have been too embarrassing.
I know I am way behind schedule, and I know that much of it is due to procrastination. But now I feel like a whole year has passed without me doing anything, at least nothing noteworthy enough for a second year. So I am to start the second year all over. I feel I should have been at the point I am at a year ago. I feel that I have forgotten more about my topic than I currently know. Everybody else in my year is busy writing chapters and I am told by my supervisor I shouldn't be worrying about that yet. I must have made such a non-impression on her for her not even to realise that I am now actually in year three. And I feel that in a way that is the direct effect of my actually having done nothing. (I know I have done stuff. It's just that right now I can only remember the procrastination).
In some sense I am glad she thinks I'm in my second year because otherwise she would realise how little I have achieved...
I am just asking myself now, what's the point of it all? I need to get a lot of work done, but why should I bother? Maybe a PhD is not for me.
Well I know how you feel, I am in my fourth year and my supervisor keeps calling me by a different name :-(
I really think you need to tell her that you are in your third year!!! It is absolutely essential - I definitely wouldn't keep quiet about it, because she's going to realise her mistake eventually and it will look pretty strange that you didn't correct her! Don't feel bad about having a slow second year, I certainly did! I made almost no progress for about a year and a half... But things are moving along now so all is not lost! I was talking to another student yesterday who said they did the bulk of their work in the last year, which is reassuring!
Is there any way you can get a second supervisor for the year your sup is away? Maybe you already said this in your other thread, I didn't read that one... But I'm sure they can't just leave you totally unsupervised, whether it was your 3rd year or not?!?
I agree with Rosy - it's essential that you have some proper supervision for your third year, and that you make sure your supervisor realises which year you are in. There are plenty of useless supervisors around (one of my original supervisors, who I have now dropped, once stopped me in the corridor and asked me who my supervisors were... replying "you, actually" was pretty embarrassing!) but in those cases you need to assert yourself even more than usual. Perhaps you could send an email (often easier than face to face) and say something like "Following our discussion today, it occurs to me that you may not be aware I am now in the third year of my studies. In light of this, do you think we need to arrange a second supervisor to help me during your absence?". Ok, it's ridiculously formal - i'm bad at emails - but it's just a suggestion.
most importantly, don't be too hard on yourself. Getting a PhD is not meant to be either an easy ride or an impossible slog. It's periods of success and failure, with a good supervisor to give advice throughout. It sounds like you have done a lot of work already - try to stay focussed on that and gather some energy to carry on.
Rosy, my supervisor always mis-spells my name but at least she knows it! That is quite shocking that yours doesn't. Aren't they embarrased?
I think I will do exactly that - take a long weekend off, especially as I am still nursing that fresher's flu. On Monday I will make a list. And then I will start doing things on the list. But until then, I just can't be bothered - I think.
verypoor, well I think I am getting virtually no guidance at all. BUT I must say I wouldn't want to be guided much, as I have always had very clear ideas about what and how I want to do. what i could do with, is, somewhat more frequent external deadlines. and someone who reminds me every day that I actually ENJOY reading and writing and doing research. I do. I just tend to forget.
as to having a replacement supervisor while she is away. she mentioned that today, and said a few names. none of whom i would hope to get anything much from. but i would fear that they would make me jump through some more hoops. so i'd rather not - she will be available by e-mail and will be in town for a week in february, as things go, i might actually get more out of her in her "away" year than when she was here.
Hmm well he might be embarrassed if I corrected him but I never did :$ I had it all worked out one day how I was going to casually slip something about my name into a conversation but then that day he did get my name right! So I didn't bother saying anything... then he started getting it wrong again... :-s
You pose two questions here ...
1. Are you up to the PhD - thats for you to decide, but why don't you just jot down EVERYTHING (thoughts, leads, contacts) on an A3 from memory/looking thro' files/emails from the second year - you will be surprised at your progress despite what you think
2. The role of your supervisor - Sorry but I might have missed it if someone else stated it, but it is the duty of your supervisor to maintain contact. They are being compensated well enough for it and in a world of economic turmoil, should have to work as hard as any of us (considering they are in one of the more secure and well paid jobs). Forget any personal feelings and any inferiority complex - make sure an adequate solution is got. You don't need to make an enemy of your supervisor - just clarify any assumptions and organise something of a formal arrangement.
You may think you are behind and even if you are, if you realise a good bit of work needs to be done, you need REGULAR feedback. Sorry for the crudeness, but had to grow a set myself as it nearly came to a point where my super told me to leave and I was taken back but have a new attitude and will have to become more proactive in getting feedback.
Sorry if I seem rude, but for f**ks sake, we are giving the most important commodity (our time) so there should be professionalism from both sides. These sentiments are probably echoed elsewhere so plz forgive the rambling.
In short - if you have to pull up the socks, do that, but make sure others do too!
You must impress on her that you are in your third, not second year. My sup can never remember what year I'm in and begins every (very infrequent) meeting by asking me what year I'm in. I was vastly behind at the end of my second year and even my sup thought having maternity leave might be a godsend to help me catch up. This is very common so don't worry about it in terms of whether you are a useless student - only in terms of how to get through it. Sounds like you will just run to a 4 th year like all the best people 8-)
You might have grounds to intermit until she returns, if you think that would help (otherwise - maybe you could have a baby - worked for me!).
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