I’m in the third year of my PhD in the UK. To summarise my PhD project looks at two different but overlapping disorders. I have 2 supervisors - supervisor A is a professor based in the university and is my lead supervisor who has expertise in disorder X. Supervisor B is more junior but has expertise in disorder X and Y and probably has more informal input into my project as he has expertise in disorder Y which my lead supervisor does not. My second supervisor B is not based at the university but based at a nearby centre. Essentially both of them are very supportive and helpful.
I have found the PhD extremely stressful for multiple reasons - covid, a feeling of lack of progress/ lack of outputs and publications. I have also struggled to cope from a mental health perspective (which I know is common during PhDs). I sought counselling and CBT for this but did not tell my supervisors. I have accepted that the PhD hasn’t really gone to plan but my priority is to ensure I complete it.
Although my supervisors are supportive, supervisor B is not at all collaborative and I worry that I may have missed out on opportunities within my university because of this. There are other researchers within my university who have expertise in disorder Y (my lead university supervisor does not hence why I applied for my own research funding with supervisor B who I already knew). Supervisor B doesn’t really want me to meet or interact with any of the other researchers who have expertise in disorder Y at the university. I think he might have had a negative experience with a researcher there who has overlapping research interests. He is very protective of the work and is quite secretive and encourages me to also be like this (with the other researchers in the university not with my lead supervisor obviously).
This makes me feel very uncomfortable as actually I would like the opportunity to meet with the other researchers who are working in this field especially as they are on the same campus. It also becomes awkward if I see any of them at conferences. I also sometimes think I might have had a more positive experience if I had had more of a community with some of these other researchers at the university and had other opportunities when my own project was failing.
Does anyone else have any similar experiences? Or advice?
I’m trying not to dwell and feel my priority is just to finish the PhD with the support of my supervisors but I do feel negatively impacted by this. I also don’t feel I can go against my supervisor B and go and meet with the other researchers as he will be annoyed.
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