What problems/conflicts do you have with other PhD students that you can't tell your supervisor?

posted
19-Jun-20, 22:16
by Tapa
Avatar for Tapa
posted about 3 weeks ago
Dear all,

I'm very lucky to have a project I love and a very nice, young supervisor. My supervisor has just had his own group and is building his group. I personally don't have any problem with him and I enjoy working with him.

But I have a lot of problems, conflicts with other PhD students in the group. Often these are very small things but it happens almost every day a week. Btw, I am very new to the group. These problems are very small to tell to boss. But they affect my mood badly and my efficiency. These things are for example: people are messy, people are changing the device settings without telling others, people taking my stuffs. Or they agree to do something and did not do that. I can imagine, if I were the boss, I would get tired of hearing such complaints. So I don't complain much with him. And if I do, I try not to say any names.

Is this weird? Do you also have that problem?

I am wondering is it just me or do you also have it? I also think I'm a bad person if I can't fit in.

One weird thing is that PhD student told me that she has mental issue and blame everything on her medication.

I don't understand whether I'm too harsh and need to be more tolerant.

my group is small. We only have 3-4 PhD students. I don't want to always annoy with people and I hope that we can also have good time. But at the same time, I don't want to do anything with them. I lost my trust in them. I don't want them to mess with my experiments.
posted
22-Jun-20, 18:10
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
They sound annoying frankly! Do you need to rely on them to do those small things or could you just assume that they won't do it and do it yourself? If the latter then that is what I would do. While also trying to maintain friendliness etc but not expecting too much from them. I don't think you sound particularly intolerant! But the best way to know might be to ask yourself if you often encounter these sorts of problems - because that could point to you having a problem and needing to chill a little. But if not then well, it sounds quite normal to find this stuff annoying. I'm not sure about complaining to the supervisor. Is it possible to just rely less on them and only trust yourself to do things you need to do?
posted
22-Jun-20, 23:11
Avatar for sciencephd
posted about 2 weeks ago
If their behaviours affect your experiments, then you definitely need to tell your supervisor. Maybe you can come up with 'guidelines for the lab' and show it to your supervisor and ask your supervisor to send it to the whole lab.
posted
23-Jun-20, 09:31
edited about 54 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
Having read that, I see what you mean and I agree. Raise it with the supervisor directly, plus the rules I mentioned in my other post (guidelines is a better way of putting it). It's about the science after all. I'd just keep it strictly about the science (ie flasks keep being used and x isn't being done and it's affecting the work) and not about personalities, specific people, or their issues.
posted
23-Jun-20, 10:23
edited about 10 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi Tapa,

I can feel for you. My university loves shared labs and most days I come in to find someone has changed something or stolen some chemicals. I think every lab should have some basic lab rules so that everyone can work effectively and independently. Ideally there is a technician, senior researcher or supervisor who enforces it and is respected enough to get away with calling people out. If you don't have someone like that, you need to be that person or live with it.

I think you can go your supervisor but they either don't care or don't know about what is going on. Regardless, one talk with your supervisor is not going to magically fix it and you will need to be the person maintaining the standards. You can't complain about lab untidiness and then be messy. If you want equipment to be left certain settings then you will be expected to maintain the equipment. I am sorry to tell you that this is not an easy problem to fix and will require some effort on your part. So you have to choose does it annoy you that much or can you learn to live with it.
posted
23-Jun-20, 14:41
edited about 18 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
This is entirely on your supervisor.
Why is he unaware of what is happening in his own lab?
Why is he not setting and enforcing good hygiene and safety?

It's laziness. Pure and simple. If he had ultimate responsibility for any accidents I am sure he would be more professional.
He needs to set out expectations of his lab members.

If he is approachable, I would be talking to him about these problems. Messiness is not a minor thing. It is a fundamental lab safety issue and he needs to take that seriously.
posted
23-Jun-20, 20:55
by Tapa
Avatar for Tapa
posted about 2 weeks ago
@pm133 I'm very new to the group. My supervisor has had his own group only 3 months ago. We are both new.
A PhD student, who has been there for a year, is supposed to show me around (she is also his student, but it was before he becomes a group leader). This girl is very lazy and did not show me much.
I couldn't complain to my supervisor that she is lazy and always delayed my work, partly because I'm very new and still have 6 months trial period. I was afraid that I would lose my job, especially during the pandemic.

My supervisor is actually very nice and approachable. The problem is that he also trusted her (they are both from India and have worked together). I did have some suggestion and he agreed to change.
posted
23-Jun-20, 21:00
by Tapa
Avatar for Tapa
posted about 2 weeks ago
@Tudor_Queen thanks for your reply
Do you need to rely on them to do those small things or could you just assume that they won't do it and do it yourself?
---> I'm very new to the group, so some basic things I still need their helps. But I try to learn them as quick as possible so that I can do everything on my own. I do feel doing things on my own actually saves my energy.
---> I observe that they often wait until the last bottle of medium is finished. Then they run around and ask if someone else has that media. Actually, it's not my problem. But I got annoyed because every week, I got asked that kind of questions.
posted
23-Jun-20, 21:07
edited about 6 seconds later
by Tapa
Avatar for Tapa
posted about 2 weeks ago
@rewt: Hi, thanks for your reply.

It's indeed a difficult problem. We do have a technician. I feel that she is doing too much of unnecessary tasks and doesn't have much time left to keep everything tidy, while such tasks should be done by the PhD students. The PhD students are pretty lazy. They refused to make their own media, fill their own tip boxes, because, well, the technician should do it.


If you don't have someone like that, you need to be that person or live with it.
--> I'm actually aware of the problem of a shared lab right after the first week. So I always clean my stuffs and tidy up so nobody has any reason/chance to complain about me being messy. That's my strategy =))) I guess I will have to live with it until the lab is set.

Our lab is quite new and the supervisor has just become a group leader. So I understand he also has soem difficulties. I feel if I complain too much, he will get stressed about it also.
posted
23-Jun-20, 21:12
edited about 11 seconds later
by Tapa
Avatar for Tapa
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From sciencephd:
If their behaviours affect your experiments, then you definitely need to tell your supervisor. Maybe you can come up with 'guidelines for the lab' and show it to your supervisor and ask your supervisor to send it to the whole lab.


Most of the time, they forget to announce when they use the last things in the stocks. This has been discussed several times and nothing has changed.
posted
24-Jun-20, 08:00
edited about 26 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
OK, so some clear signage reminding people? It sounds bit like a staff room fridge situation, where people are stealing milk that isn't theirs. Annoying but more do as it's to do with your work.

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