Are meetings with your supervisor difficult? Can’t you get the feedback you need? I wrote about that before, but recently I found some great questions in the book ‘How to get a PhD. A handbook for students and their supervisors’ by Philips and Pugh that can really improve your meetings and the way you cooperate.
To start with: invite your supervisor to discuss the progress of your PhD. Make sure you don’t discuss content or methodology. Although you might not be used to this, there is nothing weird about talking about your progress, in every job you have those assessment interviews at least once a year. In the meeting, you can ask these questions that are stated in a positive way:
- How can I make better use of the possibility to learn from you?
- How can I make more progress during our sessions?
- How can I best handle your feedback?
- How do you feel we can cooperate more effectively?
If you ask the questions in this way, your supervisor won’t be easily irritated or annoyed, and it helps your supervisor as well to find ways to work with you more effectively. Hopefully, something beautiful can grow this way…
My problem with my supervisor are twofold. On one hand, I am too free with my work, even free to make important mistakes! I had to change two times my dataset. My methodology failed. I am rewriting a chapter I have worked on it several months because of my fails. I know that we learn from mistakes and that I should become an independent researcher, but I am wasting a lot of precious time.
On the other hand, I receive too many compliments from my supervisor. He always praises my work, what I write, my research. He always says that I should try to enter academia when I finish. I think it isn’t useful at all to receive so many compliments. I know that I’m a normal PhD student, no so brilliant as he says. After being a good student for several years, I had to learn by myself humility during my PhD. Academia is the temple of critiques, I don’t want to be praised, because if I send a manuscript to a journal I will receive critiques, not praise. And there are no jobs in academia, I don’t want to kid myself.
What should I do?