quickoats Posted January 25, 2014 Share Posted January 25, 2014 (edited) Relationship with advisors seems to be a forever topic on this forum. My story isn’t new but it’s related to my graduation and further application, so I really appreciate if you could give me some advice… Thanks! I’m a second year master student in a social science program. I’m writing my thesis and applying to PhD programs. I think I have some problems with my advisor and I’m really frustrated about it. My advisor is not that kind of profs that delay your work. Instead she replies to my emails and my writings very quickly, which I really appreciate. And she’s worried about the progress of my thesis. Every time I emailed her she kept reminding me to get my experiment part start as soon as possible. This is good, since a little push would accelerate my work. But it seems that’s all what she wants to say to me right now, and she always ignores my other questions. She isn’t not at all helpful. When I asked her for experiment materials she is willing to help. But other than that, she seems very reluctant to give further help. She didn’t give me many academic advices on my project other than our first several meetings when I tried to pin down my topic and methods. After that I’m all on my own. When I asked her for suggestions on the experiment design, she either ignored my questions, or gave one-sentence comments that did not really help. She refused to meet with me—simply ignored my requests or brutally asked what’s the point of meeting. In fact, despite that I constantly brought up the issue of meeting, we haven’t met since last October. I’m not sure why she did it: maybe it’s a common practice of advising students; maybe because I’m not in her lab and not her PhD students; or she doesn’t like my project or like me. At least on my part, I sincerely think I need to talk with someone who’s working in the field. I shifted my field when I entered the MA program, and I did a good job on the core courses in my first year. But these classes are far from enough for my quite interdisciplinary thesis project (I chose the topic because it’s interesting and my advisor likes it). I have to learn everything on my own, and it takes time. Besides, without much help and support, I have been constantly getting confused, feeling uncertain about my designs, revising the proposal again and again, which resulted in a long long process of just writing up the proposal and apparently she is not very happy with that. Other members in my committee are also of little help because they are extremely busy and don’t care much about me: usually my email will not be replied until a few weeks after I send it. Besides, my advisor did not allow me to send my proposal to other members before she approves, and without they reading my proposal, it’s very hard to convey my ideas of the design and ask for suggestions. Now I’m almost ready to conduct the experiment, but I have no idea what other committee members think about my design—whether they would disapprove it and come to me after I’ve halfway finished or even disagree with it at the defense. I’m really afraid that I couldn’t graduate on time. This might further affect my enrollment into other PhD program. Another thing that worries me is that I asked my advisor to be my reference when I applied to the PhD programs (I have no others to turn to since she’s the only one who knows my research and I think it might be weird to not include one’s advisor as the reference). Judged by her emails and attitude towards me, I feel she’s not very satisfied with me. I’m afraid this would be reflected in her RL and affect my chance to get in a good PhD program. I’m afraid she will talk about me as being incompetent in conducting independent research, which is not true—I have done several works during undergrad and the first year of MA, though most of them were not in my current field so I didn’t really mention it in my PS or CV (which was a mistake!). I know It might be my pure guess (being panic of both the application and the thesis), but if it is true, how can I rescue the situation? I might never have the chance to talk to adcoms in the PhD programs; but if I do, should I explain to them that I’m capable of conducting good research? Should I mention the environmental factors that affect my performance, like limited faculty resources in our program (which is the main reason I reached out to my advisor and gave up another project I’d worked on in writing my term paper), unsupportive advisors and academic environment in general? Will adcom understand students’ current performance might be influenced by these factors? Will they even think of these possibilities during reviewing the applications? I know I shouldn’t hope too much. It should be my responsibility to find a reference that knows my ability and to explain the seemingly “weakness” in my PS and CV. But as I’ve turned in all my applications, any idea what I should do now? Edited January 25, 2014 by quickoats Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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