Hazy I think it is if he is seeing to other people's work after he has promised to get round to hers then doesn't so she can't even prepare for late submission
There is absolutely nothing wrong in being bereft and disorganised. She gave him the opportunity to go for late submission. She has taken account of his feelings and situation and I think he owes the same to her now that a few weeks has passed. A death in the family is awful but she also has a lot riding on this (possible extra expenses and I job to start in January). He also could have just signed it off but is insisting on making comment, which will cause delay.
Nothing wrong if he came forward and said 'you know what, I know I promised to get it done but I actually do need that extra time'. But that is not what is happening, he keeps insisting it'll get done then doesn't do it and sees to other people.
I had the same situation first day starting my PhD and I was teaching a class that day. I got the phone call in the morning but it was too late to cancel. No I'm not a saint and I'm not saying that'he should be perfect after his experience I'm just highlighting that you can still honor your commitments or at least be honest about what you can and can't do.
I agree thought that you will have to trust your main supervisor.
i agree with wowsers, i had similar situations where initially i made allowances for the supervisor's difficult circumstances and was all understanding, only to find out that he was giving other students more time. and someone so close to submitting should have priority, sups should be organized enough to get that and not leave the responsibility to the students to chase them up. everyone knows that folks close to submitting are at the end of their tether so sups should have a pedagogical duty there and be reliable, or at least honest... that sups cannot be held to account for their shortcomings doesn't help and makes it worse.
if he had said - look i can't hack it, let's find a different solution - it would have been a different story, but he didn't.
that suggestion to write a mail to both of them, hazyjane, is a good one, as it gives both a chance to say something.
I find the responses interesting and a little hypocritical when considering the broader culture on this site as a whole, and agree with HazyJane's approaches.
Many individuals on this forum have lamented the exact opposite, that when they themselves have had difficulties in getting their thesis written, done, etc, and have complained about unsympathetic supervisors, or being pushed to get work done despite their emotional difficulties and mental health issues. Time and again I see posts of students talking about depression, anxiety, frustration, desperate for some comfort and an understanding supervisor.
Yet, here is a supervisor who is potentially going through the same thing, who has had a death, who could be seriously grieving, who might be struggling mentally, who might have mental health issues themselves which has been triggered by the death. And yet most of you have made claims that this is unfair, that they need to buck up and get the work done. Why is it that a student can have sympathy, but not the supervisor?
Supervisors, are humans. They have mental health issues, family issues, financial troubles just like the rest of us. That work they commented on. Was it a full thesis? Or just a chapter, it's easy to do a chapter in comparison to providing feedback on an entire piece of work.
You cannot expect everything to fall magically into place, you might not pass the viva, you might get an R&R, you might get major corrections, you might fail. What will you do about your job if that happens?
It's great that you are starting a new job, but it's important to keep in mind that the submission does not mean that the PhD ride is over. You cannot expect a supervisor to accommodate your needs outside of the university (i.e. the job).
It is frustrating when you need the feedback, but sometimes life gets in the way and accommodations have to be made. I think HazyJane makes some excellent points, I would heed their advice.
In general, I agree with you awsoci. Of course supervisors are humans too ;)
Nevertheless, it is more about the fact that he claims to do stuff and doesn't do it, even though he has the option to drop it due to the circumstances. It's okay if you are not able to correct a thesis under these circumstances but then stop insisting on holding back submission until you are done with the corrections or at least initiate the appropriate steps for a extension. It is also suspicious if he is correcting other people's work at the moment.
The job thing is always annoying and adds pressure but you have to do it like this. Otherwise you are jobless for months.
Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to share their thoughts.
Let me say that I agree 100% with the statements that supervisors also experience personal problems and that of course allowances should be made for them (as they make for us) when times are hard. Moreover, it is true that post-grad students should take the majority of the responsibility for how their studies go - it is our lives after all - so one cannot sit back and expect people to jump whenever you snap your fingers.
That being said - let me just clarify two points, not to be defensive, but perhaps to explain my "frustration" - with the situation, not with my supervisor.
First off - I will be unemployed for 4 months this year - a "sacrifice" I decided to make to leave enough time to finish up my PhD before starting a new job. While Awsoci is right - I might get R&R or fail, I do not think one can be expected to remain unemployed to cater for these eventualities. But other than that, I left more than enough time to deal with examination complications. And I disagree with the statement that supervisors cannot accommodate one's needs outside of the university. I consider his needs outside of uni, so I think expecting him to consider broader implications of his actions is not too much to ask.
The other thing is that I would have been quite happy to submit without his comments - my main supervisor and I both explicitly asked him whether he would consent, and he refused twice. Even now, with only one day to go, he is saying he will "get to it".
I tried to be understanding and open to other solutions, and I truly had nothing but sympathy for him and his situation. I am not frustrated that life got in the way (as it does) but rather by how he is handling the situation now. If he would just say "I can't manage it, sorry" I would respect it, but the empty promises every few days are draining.
...so you have to submit tomorow, and he hasn't looked at it yet?! As someone mentioned above, won't tomorrow mainly be filled with printing, binding etc?
No, I think I definitely won't be able to submit. Just seems ridiculous to pretend that I will. I don't know why he can't just say it and then he can relax and read it whenever he has time - since I can only submit again in November anyway. I guess until this morning I was still hoping he would come through for me. But as Hazy said, probably the best I can do is to try and not resent him for the unnecessary stress, turmoil and financial implications and not let it sour the relationship more than it already has.
And how far does the whole mentl health thing go, if he is still (presumably successfully?) supervising other students in the meantime?
Hazy Jane has made some really good points. The one that really sticks out to me though is that your co-supe should not be able to block your submission. There are even cases where students submit without any supervisor's agreement at all (not advisable of course, but it can and does happen).
You've had the comments back from your main supe. I really think that he/she should be supporting you in submitting on time and giving you the go ahead. Do you need both of their signatures to submit? I only needed one on my submission form. This is the most important thing at the moment, never mind anything else....
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