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Progressing in the right direction?


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I updated my other thread, but nobody seems to want to respond. So I'm starting a new thread. Anyway, I went higher up like everyone advised. The person I talked to was the director. The conversation started out like they were concerned, it was disturbing to hear a student in so much distress or something. Then the conversation progressed over toward me needing to be working there and it was my own fault that I wasn't (never mind that I tried and tried contacting professors until I finally gave up). They are supposed to be helping me set up appointments with professors, sort of twisting their arms I guess. My hope is that I will meet someone who would be an appropriate new adviser for me. I still feel like an outcast though and I worry about getting my hopes up. They say that the way to get an assistantship (either RA or TA), you need to be "in" with the right people. But so far, it all seems like empty promises. I just want to make sure I handled this correctly and it at least sounds like I am going in the right direction for once. My spouse thinks I should have done more, but I honestly don't know what it would be. I'm more wanting to beat myself up because I discovered that there had been a TA position that I could have possibly gone for. I had no clue that such a thing applied to me (at my old school, you had to have taken the class already in order to be a TA). But I guess that isn't the case and I missed out on an opportunity. I just worry that other opportunities just aren't going to come. I feel so stupid. But I guess, I went into all of this with no guidance whatsoever. I was basically plopped in there and they expected me to figure things out on my own. Advice at this point would be greatly appreciated! Please!

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What you have to ask yourself, I guess, is how much you enjoy what you do. How is your coursework going, for example? Are you at least able to studying things you are interested in?

I will also be taking my exams after only two years, so I know how fast that seems. I have an advisor, but he will be gone for my entire first semester, so I know what you mean about not having that connection.

The reason why I asked if you enjoy your classes is because if you do, then maybe you can just wait this out? Perhaps one of the professors you take a class with will emerge as a viable advisor, or lead you to someone who would be.

It does sound like you will have to be really proactive and advocate for yourself to an extreme degree. If you stay, that means trying to get fellowships, grants, TA/RA positions (in your department and others if possible). Because you are sort of invisible, you will have to MAKE yourself visible. Since it sounds like you have to stay in your current location, it may make sense to try your damnedest to make this work, unless you have any attractive options out in the real world.

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I don't know if you read this in another thread, but this is a cause for worry for me. I am in classes that I would not consider all that constructive toward my course of study. The person who was processing my paperwork apparently quit their job. Somehow, my stuff got lost between point A and point B. By the time we had things figured out, it was way past open registration. So most classes were already full by the time I was allowed to register. So I was basically just plopped into my classes. I do enjoy one of them, but it has nothing to do with my area of expertise (other than in a philosophical sense). It just has a lot of reading of literature and open discussions, which I like. Another class I have is sort of a "skill" class. And, well, I'm finding that I am not all that interested in it and I'm questioning how useful it will actually be to me. My last class is just a "how to" seminar that goes over developing research ideas and how to write a proposal. Useful information for down the road, but it doesn't really help me get anywhere. So you can understand why there is so much disconnection here. I'm not working for anyone as an RA or TA and I haven't had much opportunity to talk to people who might be able to "hook me up". My hope is that the director will be able to prop the door open for me so I can at least talk to people. I just wish there was something else that I could do. I realize that there won't be much hope for an open position somewhere until next semester, so I guess it is sort of a waiting game.

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