OK, here's a thread to all those comments supervisors make, good and bad...
I gave my sup a chapter to read, was the second draft, was pretty happy with it, and hoping it was close to the final version. She came back with a 'it's good, just the structure and content need work'. Oh - is that all? Anything else?
Emailed back to thank her, completely professional-like, envisioning a groundhog day of endless rewrites. And she comes back with a comment that the argument needs work too! Bloody hell!! I assume the title and font were ok? Nothing like a nice Times New Roman 12 to make me get the doctorate! :p
:-) My sup sent back a fully written paper many times till I submitted a version 16 or something to her. It was going to go the *the* toughest and most important conference in our field that needs full length papers (original) from 8 months in advance.
Anyway, she said for that version 16 - "hmm. excellent paper. But not a communicative act. Nobody shall find a way into it".
So back I came again and did a version 17.
It got accepted. We both beamed from ear to ear!
(I still dont know how to make my writing a communicative act though!)
I told my supervisor I was having a holiday over Xmas and New Year. I was feeling pretty deserving of a holiday having finished all my fieldwork, had a book chapter published and presented at a conference for the first time. She replied with 'Yeah that's fine. It all comes down to priorities and whether or not you want to finish on time'. I was like 'gee thanks, i'll have a nice holiday then!'
Oh, I have too many of these! Just a few...
On hearing of my engagement, my main supervisor (a male prof in his 40s) got all giddy about the ring before saying, completely deadpan: 'He does realise that he will always come second to academia?'
My second supervisor is famous for his 'tactful' comments on drafts. Common (for all of his students, not just me) are: 'YUCK!', 'Err... no' and 'Help me! I'm lost'. Another gem related to his dislike of my use of the phrase 'appears to be the case', to which he responded: 'Why do you keep saying this? Did WW1 'appear' to start in 1914?' (I'm a historian.) My very favourite one, however, was 'Your sexism shocks me!!!'
One of them was introducing me and another student to somebody. The other student had just submitted, so he said 'This is X and she's just submitted', before turning towards me and saying 'This is CeCeF and she, erm, hasn't'.
My sup sent a draft 8 back once, about 8 months of work had gone into it and the e-mail said 'Fantastic. I think you'll be happy with the comments'. Excited and hoping that I'd finally reached the point where it could be put to one side I read his revised attachment which started with 'Now this is really (italicised) getting there.' Followed by the usual reams of red annotations.
My friend told me recently that he'd submitted his work to his supervisor and they had a meeting which began with the sup looking at the pages on his desk disdainfully and saying 'I just don't really understand what it is?' :-)
My lovely supervisor (who regularly tells me he has no concerns about the quality of my work; only the timescale)
- "the fog has thickened to the point where this is pure verbiage"
- "now, this has to be nonsense"
Former supervisor in the middle of an upgrade exam
- "my nipples hurt"
Not sure which I'd prefer to hear
The tutor I had for my second master was AWFUL!!!!!!!
He kept telling me that "Foreigners should not get British degrees"! "You are not suitable for postgraduate studies... (and after I was telling him that this was my 2nd master) Well, maybe they felt sorry for you and passed you!"
He was also telling me that he wanted drafts of my essays, but when I was sending my drafts, I was getting this response (after 4-5 months) "Now what are these? What do you want me to do with them? Why do you keep sending me all your essays?"
And last but not least, when I submitted my dissertation and got awful feedback from him, the external examiner complimented my writing and the way I approached my subject! When I sent this feedback to my tutor, he told me "Well, he felt sorry for you, that's why he said that stuff!!!!!!"
One of my biggest mistakes was that I didn't ask for a different tutor!!!!!!!!
Haha, my sup is the Queen of Feedback. She used to be a bit more diplomatic, and would do that thing where you start with something positive, put the criticism and suggestions in the middle, and end on a positive note. Now she has broken me in sufficiently she doesn't bother- she just goes straight for the jugular. I must have shown her at least 15 drafts of my last paper before she let me submit it. But my favourite bit was when I sent her a personal statement for an application form- short, only about 200 words. It came back with so many electronic speech bubbles over it with comments on that they all overlapped and I couldn't read any of them- when I tried to open them up my computer crashed! I mean how far wrong can you go with a 200 word perosnal statement?!! I just have to console myself with the fact that she knows what she's on about and try not to take it personally any more, she does the same with all of us! KB
I now feel positive that my supervisor is normal..... LOL.
Well during my meetings for my MA dissertation I was talking about some theorist and I could see my sups eyes starting to blink ALOT and then get heavy, and then he closed his eyes and lent back in his chair! I stopped talking. He jerked up in his chair, fixed his glasses, looked at me, and then said "Yes, I like the way this is going".
Going to see my supervisor is like going to the dentist. I really do get supernervous before hand and just clam up.
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My first supervisor who was rubbish did the following at my end of year presentation (part-time so not an upgrade):
Told me there would be a full range of AV equipment for me to use and that I should make a clip central to my presentation - I tell her it'll be video and she OKs this.
So I get to the room and there is no video equipment (I couldn't check the room earlier in the day because it was full of students and staff conducting end of year presentations), my presentation was, almost entirely, based around an analysis of my clip - all points fed in and out of that material. So I was thrown and had to ad lib the structure of the presentation and give an account of the clip, also ad lib and given that this was a scene which depicted masturbation and S&M sex it was not the easiest task! So, I got through it, the head of department said I'd done and excellent job and I went for an alfresco coffee with another of my sup's charges. My sup then appeared on the horizon and made her way towards us. She sat down and gave a detailed, scathing critique of my presentation criticisng me for being badly organised, for not having prepared a written paper (I had, I just couldn't use it), and for being so stupidly pressumptious as to think there would be a VCR in the room, and then compared me to the other student saying that if a carried on this way said other stude would finish in a much faster time than me. Oh and she suggested I work on my body language because I looked flustered.
This is what finally spurred me on to ditch the crap sup and I found a super one as a result, partly, of the timing, but also because I got fed up of the crap brigade and headed for the top. So not all bad really. Good thread. Oh, and she ran into the loo when I tried to discuss the episode with her in private...
my sups feedback is non-existant. After writing 40k + words over last summer, I sent it along, feeling quite smug, and then about 3 months later I said, did you have a chance to read it? and she said "oh I had a flick through a few pages and it looks really good, I will read it through properly at some point" and of course she has NEVER read it, I don't think she ever even flicked through it. So ALL SUMMER wasted! and I am left dreading the day when she ACTUALLY reads something I write and she decides that my writing is not 'good' at all and is in fact a load of tosh!
@Sneaks - doesn't your dept have ruls of some sort that make this compulsory? In ours, you must have hour long meetings with sup every fortnight in first year, then every 3 weeks till submission. All meetings one hour long. And all written work is to be comented upon within a fortnight of submission. I haveheard of a couple exceptions, but the big profs always follow this regimen, and it's usuly the littler people who are seen to not reply etc etc..
haha I don't think so, there was a vague form I found once that was to record supervisor meetings, e.g. when they happen etc. but I don't think they are compulsary. I'm in my 3rd year now and no one has ever requested any info from me, or sup. I think my last meeting was October. I think she will start reading stuff when it looks more like a thesis. The main problem I have is that when I have ideas to progress my PhD, she doesn't know enough about what I'm doing and the literature behind it (because she hasn't read it) so she usually points me in the wrong direction, I waste months and then go and do what I wanted anyway, but with a load of delay in between - and in the mean time all my potential participants I had lined up have all gone :-s
I have now been given a 2nd supervisor though (I used to have a different one, who I didn't even know and he was never at uni), so I might start CCing him on the emails when I send writing across. hmm.
Sneaks it sounds like you and I had a similar experience. I had 3 sups and you wouldn't have got a decent one had you combined them all! One of them tried to get my boss to terminate my contract because he didn't like me. The one who claimed to be an expert in the modelling technique that was the main point of my thesis, wasn't actually an expert in anything and then left to work in the private sector. My director of studies (the one who was supposed to be managing my other two supervisors) read one draft of my thesis 6 weeks before I submitted, told me that my writing was facile and my punctuation was atrocious and then said that he never bothered checking up on my work before because he thought I'd given up! He also told me that they shouldn't have accepted me as a PhD candidate because the research group didn't actually have the necessary expertise to supervise me!
The only positive point is that I know how not to supervise a PhD!
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