Last year of the PhD, my supervisor has lost interest - hard to feel motivated


So I am in my last year. My PhD is part time so it had stretched out over 6 years. It's such a long time. I have 2 supervisors. I had some medical issues and had to take a few months leave of absence couple of times.

I REALLY want to finish this. I am writing up and so close to the end. But both of my supervisors can't be less interested. I have to hassle them for meetings (and they only meet me once a month). Often they would postpone the meeting even further. I know what I need to do, so I don't really need much supervision. They just need to read what I wrote and correct it. They do it in the end but I feel it shouldn't be that hard to make them do their work.

Also, my motivation has been low lately. It just feels depressing that nobody is that interested, making me less interested. I feel like I have to make do with supervisors that I have as finding a new one would be too time consuming.

Is this sort of thing normal? Supervisors kind of losing interest towards the end? And how do I cope? Just keep pushing along and chasing them to read my work?

Sigh :(


Dear OnegirlFarAway

Your situation sounds very much like mine.
I'm now in my final months of writing up a humanities PhD. 7 months to be exact. My funding has stopped and am now relying on my spouse for financial support.
I've got two SVs but currently am seeing only one regularly. I have a feeling he's not terribly happy about my progress as I tend to ramble here and there, not getting to the point. A colleague who started his PhD ten months after I started mine is now close to about peer pressure !
To be honest, I'm still struggling with my writing. But still I soldier on. I've 55K words and am just pushing myself a little bit everyday. It's a love-hate relationship sometimes. Like you, I just want to get this over. I just want to submit this and get back to real life. I hope that you can just gather enough courage and strength to complete your thesis. The main thing is getting it done, not necessarily perfect. You can do it !


It sounds like this is not an easy time for you. You are close to being an independent researcher so I wonder if your supervisors are stepping back to encourage you towards that independence. I had a similar experience and it did feel a little alarming, but on reflection I'm sure they were giving me the confidence to fly solo. After all, you will be the only one who can defend your work at the viva.
Keep going! You're so nearly there and it is a marvelous feeling to finish.
Best of luck, Mog :)

Avatar for wanderingbit

Dear OneGirlFarAway :-)

I completely agree with Mog, you're in the process of becoming an independent researcher, and that your supervisors seem to step back is probably not a bad sign at all! I'm also on my final year of a part-time PhD, still a couple of experiments to do and 4 chapters to write (5 written). In the past 12 months I've seen 4-5 times my second supervisor (mainly because we had to write 2 papers together) and 2 times my main one!!
And when we met there was not very much we discussed, since at this stage as you say you know what you need to do to finish - and probably you know your research area better than your sups, having focused on that for some time now!

SO: let's keep going!! You can do it - we can do it :-) - !!

Everyday I feel down and unmotivated, I try to imagine the submission day, and then the viva day, in the most positive colours!! :-) and how it will feel on that evening, and the day usually works wonders!
(I used to do this imagery priming trick to prepare for concerts - back at when I was just a pianist and not a prospective researcher!)

Let's do it!! When do you plan to submit?
All best of luck and a positive working day to you,