I am glad to find this grad school specific forum. I am from a developing country who was lucky to obtain a master's scholarship in one of the developed countries. My project experience with a well-known supervisor led me nowhere but to frustrations and depression. Currently, I am in my last semester and currently doing my project from a research institution not part of the institution partners of my university. Although there was a safety net emplaced, a signed agreement between my coordinator and this research institution, most of the points pointed out by my university were not met. This was how my mental health deteriorates and how I am looking forward to going back home and talk to an expert.
First, months before starting this project I had a video call meeting with my supervisor and agreed on the topic I will be working on. Considering that season is a factor for the main topic, we both agreed to have a small topic to be busy with while waiting for summer. However, when I had arrived it seems it was made clear to me that I will not be working on that main topic and will be focusing on the small topic instead. Which was already a sign for me to inform my university immediately but I did not since I was too confident that this should not take long and when summer comes, I will be doing on the agreed main topic. But setbacks after setbacks, this small topic is still not done.
Second, one of the points in the agreement between this supervisor and my university was there should only be a maximum of two student advisees. In case there was more, she was supposed to assign a co-supervisor (atleast in the final year of PhD). During our video call meeting, I knew that there will also be one master's student and a PhD student who will also be working with him. However, I didn't know that there was more of us (7 ms and several phds) and I realize quickly that I might not be getting the amount of supervision I needed. In the first few weeks, I wanted to finalize the experimental designs for my project and my timeline. I was quickly told, to quote "don't be too serious... we take things easy here... you will have enough time" which I didn't take as a caution.
Third and the one which frustrated me the most, there was no proper introduction of the people in the research group. No introductions, no meetings, nothing. We have a small laboratory for our experiments and the other student was able to set up ahead of me. I initially propose to do field work first while someone is still using our lab but he insisted that i should work on my lab experiment first which i eventually agreed. In an email, I and the other student was told to share the lab but this was not followed. I updated her regularly that I am not able to conduct my own experiments considering she approved a big experimental design for the other student, which takes half of my space. She ignored all my updates and grew frustrated. After almost two months and she didn't receive any data from me, she asked what was wrong and I reminded her of my previous updates. And even I told the other student, she has to share the space she is agressive claiming that our adviser knows she has a big experimental design. this adviser kept pushing me to fight and be aggressive to the other student for my right to conduct an experiment, which i can't really take. she knows the problem months ago and she did nothing. After two months, she met me and the other student and settled the problem. If she could have just done this earlier life could have been easier.
Lastly, during our meetings she constantly mocks the other students who made a mistake and i quote "i can't comprehend why this student does not know about this considering he is a master level". It left me wondering, it is very likely she is also doing this to me. Her previous student also complained as she approves without bothering to thoroughly check the manuscript. This student submitted to a reputable journal without her consent and she had gone mad, she checked the stats and find wrong analysis and interpretation.
These experiences especially the lack of interest and support on my project led me to depression. Now, I am writing my manuscript and hoping my university will still consider this. Although i know that this is not the quality i expected. This also discourages me in pursuing academia. If she is uninterested with my topic, then she should have told me earlier. If she does not have time, then she should have assigned me to one of her phd students or postdocs. Fighting depression while writing is very hard especially when you try to open up your problem and they can not understand your mental health condition.
Did you encounter problems with your supervisor? How did you deal with it and did it affect your mental health? Laslty, how did you recover from it?