chingswok Posted January 3, 2012 Share Posted January 3, 2012 I am badly in need of help. I am a PhD candidate and my advisor does not want to fund me. When I came for PhD, I took up a slightly new research area- I did not have much background in the area prior to joining the Phd program. In my first yr, my advisor showed some interest but kept on tossing me around into different projects for first 3.5 years. I had to work on topics which I had no background in (like signal processing, parallel algorithms etc). I had to do a half TA along with half RA to support myself. The half RA work that I did was not a real research area- I was being used as a lab tech/handy man to collect data for other students, finish half left projects, unworking project etc. It was demotivating but I kept my spirits high by learning new research tools and educating myself of this field. If I tried to show an interest in a topic that I wanted to pursue for research, the advisor ske me not to focus on 'my research' but on the RA work !! As a result I slogged- did TA, RA, took classes and taugh myself about the research area. I tried to get 1-2 conf papers out but my advisor hardly showed any interest nor provided serious technical guidance/dicussion. In some cases, I had to beg my advisor to review the paper 7-8 times and had to submit it without advisor's revision. Scheduling meeting with my advisor would be demotivating and most of the time advisor would put it off. I would also not get any replies through emails. When time came to defend my porposal, the advisor showed no interest. At that time I had no single research topic of my own as I was tossed from my chosen research project into other stuff- with explanation that I should go into another direction. Some senior professors mentored (in grad counselling session) me to get a proposal topic outof my advisor (by intimidating my advisor that I will switch to another Prof.). The strategy worked and I was allowed to declare a topic as my research area. I worked hard on my topic for an year and had to take up FULL TA so that I don't waste time doing the timewasting RA work (which involved monotounous routine work: taking measurements, preparing samples, transporting samples [that too at my own expenditure] to another university, taking care of cells in a makeshift lab, etc). Not once did my advisor read my proposal or gave any technical advice. All the suggestions I got was from my other committee members. I was somehow able to defended my propsal before the end of my 5th year. But now to finish my dissertation and research, I need to focus on the proposal problem and work on it single mindedly. Unfortunately, my department can no longer support me now through TA. I asked my advisor and the reply I got was 'I cannot fund in your research area as you don't have experience in it'! Well, this is very true but not due to my fault but due to my insane advisor's inability to guide and mentor me properly- for 4 yrs I was working on random stuff without any single direction or focus and only few months before my proposal I was able to dedicate time to my research area- obviously I have not still mastered the area. I am also out of all my savings as I had to support my self for two summers (my advisor stopped funding me without any prior notice). I kept quite thinking that things will improve and my prof will be able to fund me later. But after spending more than 5 complete years, I have no money to carry out my work nor I am 100 % confident of the skills that I have acquired working the lab. I cannot extend my F1 visa without any funding. I applied to other departments for TA as well as graduate assistantship but got negative replies. My counsellor suggested me to change my advisor. I am little apprehensive of doing that as I will have to take up a new project (starting 6th year) and do all the proposal defense etc. again. I also like my current project (which I had proposed) and would like to continue working on it. I have no idea how I can finish my degree with such uncooprative and irresponsible advisor. If anyone of you have faced a smilar situation, please suggest me what to do. Seems there is not help from the university or department for students like me, I already talked to the graduate office and they feel my only option might be to terminate my degree. I feel I should have not been so passive and over optimistic when I has see things not falling in place during me 3-4 yr. But, now I am knee deep in trouble. Plz. help.! Thanks. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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