Looking dumb in front of my supervisor

posted
21-Mar-18, 04:11
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for Fuzzball
posted about 2 years ago
I just had a really awkward and embarrassing meeting with my supervisor where he exposed all the gaps in my knowledge and asked a lot of questions that I didn't know the answer to. And of course instead of just admitting that I didn't know and promising to find out I attempted made-up answers that he saw right through. I have now been sent away with a list of textbooks that I have to read in order to 'understand the basics'. :(
posted
21-Mar-18, 09:46
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 2 years ago
That's OK. I have frequently felt thick as two short planks in front of my supervisor. That is to be expected - there's a reason they're the supervisor and you're being supervised.

Brush up on your basics - I am sure you know more than you think - and don't be afraid to be up front in the future. Honesty and transparency will be key to your ongoing relationship so it's important to be truthful in meetings with your supervisor.
posted
21-Mar-18, 14:14
edited about 13 seconds later
by Psych1
Avatar for Psych1
posted about 2 years ago
I wouldn't worry about it - we all have moments when we can look 'stupid'. Your supervisor could have lacked tact but at least your supervisor cared enough to make sure you are 'up to speed' In a challenging process it is difficult to value it - but after it you can feel how much you have learnt and glad you went through it.
posted
21-Mar-18, 17:30
edited about 11 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From Fuzzball:
I just had a really awkward and embarrassing meeting with my supervisor where he exposed all the gaps in my knowledge and asked a lot of questions that I didn't know the answer to. And of course instead of just admitting that I didn't know and promising to find out I attempted made-up answers that he saw right through. I have now been sent away with a list of textbooks that I have to read in order to 'understand the basics'. :(


Well you learned a valuable lesson there. Never bullshit people. If you dont know the answer then say so,
As for feeling stupid, I wouldnt worry about that. It happens to the best of us.
posted
21-Mar-18, 17:54
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for starryeyed
posted about 2 years ago
http://jcs.biologists.org/content/121/11/1771 Always good to remind.
posted
21-Mar-18, 21:33
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for Fuzzball
posted about 2 years ago
Thanks for your replies everyone. I shall try to be as thorough as I can in learning all the basics before my next meeting with my supervisor, and the next time I don't know something, I'll just admit it. :)
posted
21-Mar-18, 22:39
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for kenziebob
posted about 2 years ago
I'm a first year PhD student and I have looked incredibly stupid in front of my supervisors (not just one!) more than once. I used to get very nervous in their company and when I get nervous I struggle to articulate my thoughts well. I found that trying to have a bit more confidence in my meetings with them has helped somewhat :)
posted
22-Mar-18, 09:41
Avatar for bongmaster5000
posted about 2 years ago
^ glad that's not just me, I used to be terrified of both of my supervisors. Now I'm only terrified of one.
posted
22-Mar-18, 22:46
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for kenziebob
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From bongmaster5000:
^ glad that's not just me, I used to be terrified of both of my supervisors. Now I'm only terrified of one.


It's getting better with time but yes, I still babble incoherently in their company.
posted
23-Mar-18, 07:14
Avatar for starryeyed
posted about 2 years ago
I was scared out of my mind of my PI at my PhD for the whole first year. Then I've figured out that he just has a loud voice, probably trained to conduct lectures.
posted
24-Mar-18, 12:15
by ologist
Avatar for ologist
posted about 2 years ago
One of the things I discovered during my PhD is that I actually am stupid. Once I'd made that discovery, looking stupid wasn't really an issue. Luckily time and persistence was enough to compensate for stupidity, and I eventually attained my PhD. Which I'm particularly proud of, given what I had to work with.
posted
29-Mar-18, 21:33
Avatar for cerysnicholson
posted about 2 years ago
Dear, it’s a normal situation. You can’t know everything (as far as I understood you’re a student). Your supervisor has an enormous experience in particular field of study and is feeling like a real expert. If you have such a situation, just kindly ask for materials and consultations thanks to which you can fill these gaps in your knowledge. For example, I got a Master degree in Sociology, but I still sometimes feel like a fool near my professors because it seems they’re familiar with every sociological theory when I’ve just got my diploma. So, study hard and never give up! I’m sure it’ll be better with your supervisor!

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