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Supervisor Help

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    • Thread Starter

    Hello, I am in my third year PhD study and have started writing up. I have a full time job offer to start this October because I believed I could submit in September. However I have had a very uncomfortable journey with my supervisor and in the past few weeks she has driven me to tipping point.

    For my final year I have moved back to my parents house (for personal reasons) and currently travel to the university every 3 weeks (supervisor said she was ok with this when i first asked). She was fine with this for the first few months. I have been funded for the duration of my phd and my funding runs out this September.

    I have spoken to my second supervisor to ask to change for the remaining part of my phd, however he seems reluctant to do it and said that he believes it's best if I stick with my current supervisor as changing would take me "twice as long" to complete my thesis.

    I have written a list of things she has done to upset me and I was just wondering if I am being unreasonable because it's really affecting my mental state.

    - When I told her I got a job offer she was happy and insisted that I speak to them and get the company to invite her down for a talk so that they can fund her research (this was 1 day after i got the job offer).

    -She sent unprofessional and hurtful emails to me when the company i will start working for didn't contact her for a reference.

    -I felt like she has been quite passive aggressive in our meetings following the incident stated previously. She hasn't been giving me any direction. When I ask her what needs to be done to finish all she says is "You need to research and find out yourself".

    -2 weeks before I was supposed to come to the university for a meeting she told me I need to ask her closer to the time in case she might be busy. 1 week before coming to the university I asked if she would be available for a meeting and sent an email stating
    "As I told you, I may have some commitment at the last minute and hence I may cancel meetings at last minute. This has not happened yet, but it is likely to happen as is always the case with an academic busy schedule. I have always been available and flexible. I would like to ask you that you assume that our meetings are usually on Wednesdays". I then booked my ticket to come to the university the following week for 3 days making sure Wednesday was one of the days. I let her know and she confirmed we will meet on the following Wednesday at 3:30pm. Less than 24 hours later she told me she was going on holiday for the entire week.-This point is not relevant to myself personally, however when she had the 2nd year undergraduate intern, she believed she wasn't working hard enough and told me to visit the intern every day to check up on her. Then on the last day of her intern-ship the intern came to my office crying and said that the supervisor said her work was "useless and a waste of time".-Our relationship had already suffered when my supervisor became hurtful and unprofessional and very passive aggressive in our meetings when I decided to take on tutorials for another member of staff she didn't like.I have come to the conclusion that I wouldn't mind if my phd took 10 times as long, as long as I wouldn't need to meet with her but I don't know if I am being unreasonable or i should just put up with it for the remaining months. (Note even if i do stick with her i'm not guaranteed to finish sooner)

    It is a difficult situation and even more so because you're close to finishing. I'd tend to agree with your second supervisor about just finishing up and moving on. It doesn't sound like you're lab based or need to be in everyday. Do you need to see your supervisor or is it possible to just get feedback on drafts via email? What's your relationship with your second supervisor like? Can he look at drafts for you?

    My friend was in the same situation - she lodged a formal complaint and ended up getting a new supervisor.

    It was the best thing she could have done as it is at the end that you need your supervisor the most as they will guide you through the final production process and the viva. By changing she was a lot less stressed and could focus on her work. She also found the new supervisor to be more helpful and supportive, as such she felt far more confident in her work.

    If you are not happy with your primary - don't endure it. It is just added stress where it isn't needed. You are thinking of switching - i say do it. If you were able to jog on, then you wouldn't have begun making enquiries into the possibilities.
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