Signup date: 11 Oct 2011 at 2:06pm
Last login: 14 Nov 2011 at 3:31pm
Post count: 6
I'm a first-year PhD student (neuroscience), just hoping to get a bit of feedback from you guys cos I'm slightly worried about my pace of working.
Would anyone be able to share a general time-line of what they did in the first year? Like, first 3 months, next three months, etc? Ever since my PhD started I keep getting plagued by deep anxiety (usually first thing Monday morning) about whether I'm working fast enough, or being productive enough, etc etc etc. Especially since every now and then there is a lull in my testing (due to room bookings or whatever), and I don't know what I should be doing in the meanwhile, and whether I can relax or what.
Thanks, guys - that wasn't harsh at all, I think I just needed to know what it was like for early PhD students in general, because I don't really have anything for comparison right now (other PhD students around me seem to know exactly what's going on). On the balance of it (and especially after reading some of the other supervisor-related posts on the forum) I think my supervisor is actually being pretty good despite being away, so I can chill out about this a little bit.
Just started my PhD, and my supervisor has been away ill. He was/is meant to be back now/soon but I guess with these things it's difficult to tell when exactly he'll be back.
Day to day stuff is not a problem - I have a post-doc guiding me in testing, and together (me, postdoc, supervisor) we're trying to think of next experiments etc, all via email. But I still generally feel a little bit lost in terms of overarching direction etc, especially since we've been going through alot of induction procedures right now, which are making me aware of the need to get from where I am right now to a point where (during the upgrade) I have a firm idea of what I'm going to be working on for the next two years of my PhD. I have no idea how to get there, and I don't know if I'm feeling more lost compared to the average starting PhD student, or whether I should be worried.
I guess I'd like some advice about what I should be expecting from my supervisor, and what else I can do to help get on the right track. I know my supervisor is actively keeping my project in mind, as he emails me every week or so to see how things are going on. But I think right now my understanding of the background literature is still a bit too fuzzy, and even reading papers is not doing loads without active discussion, because I haven't yet built up a framework of knowledge to understand the significance/meaning of individual experimental findings that I see in journals.
I'm not sure how much of this is me expecting too much of my supervisor. Previous supervisors I have had (Masters, undergrad) were able to take time to sit down and discuss things with me, which was immensely useful in helping me clarify my ideas, and I know that with that sort of support I am able to perform. My current supervisor has invited me to approach him with half-baked ideas, saying that maybe together we can make something productive out of ideas that aren't fully formed - so I feel like he's doing his best already given the unfortunate circumstances. Am I expecting too much of him? Is this period of lost wandering just normal for starting PhD students, even those with supervisors around for discussion? And in absence of regular face-to-face discussion at the start of my PhD, what else can I do to try and get to a point where I know what I'm doing?
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