Anonymous #1
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I'm new on this so I don't really know how this works... AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG STORY BTW (anyways) So im in my final year at university atm, so ofc I have to do a final year project, since I was meant to be in placement this year I was given a supervisor by the university (I did not choose to have him). Anywho I met my supervisor to discuss my project, where I offered him some ideas I had for the project however he said if I do my own research idea then he will not be able to help me (as those ideas were not related to his study interests).He then offered me ideas of his research interests (this is going to benefit his research), so I AGREED (I shouldn't have I know). A week later from here, where I had read about his research idea I decided it was too complicated for me to understand, so I told him that I feel it is not suitable for me, however he said NOOOO come onnn! (like an idiot I agreed AGAIN). Where do we go from here... I started writing up on the proposal for this research and made him double check it as he needs to sign it.. he degraded me like no one ever has... making comments on how much I had complicated a simple topic (I just nodded) he also commented on whether I was born here or not... as apparently my work was making no sense, then he mentioned that how he wonders im going to manage to write a report on this (as if I have not been writing reports for the past 2 years). The story continues on me wanting to change my supervisor as I was already stressed about deadlines and the last thing I needed was some degrading comments... SOOO coming to the climax :') I met him again today with a proposal THE WAY HE ASKED ME (SIMPLER AND SHORTER) GUESS WHAT HE DEGRADED ME X2! he said how it made no sense again (I had it checked by many other professionals and they clearly understood it) when I mentioned him that other people were able to understand it he turned to me and said ' ARE YOU TRYING TO ARGUE WITH MEEEEE!' I said no with a calm voice … then as he was making amends and ADDING EXACTLY WHAT I HAD IN MY PROPOSAL IN MY FIRST DRAFT he started deleting it and saying that im doubting him and believing what others are saying … to which I clearly reacted by saying no 'you know better I guess'.... CAN SOMEONE TELL ME IF THIS BEHAVIOUR IS NORMAL???? I have discussed to change my supervisor but it is too late rn to do so and im doing HIS research so i'll need his support for it... I get super nervous and anxious around this man its unbelievable he makes me look like an idiot (no disrespect intended to him im sure he's a great man) but I just don't know what to do about this... can someone give me some advice or insight pls x
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm new on this so I don't really know how this works... AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG STORY BTW (anyways) So im in my final year at university atm, so ofc I have to do a final year project, since I was meant to be in placement this year I was given a supervisor by the university (I did not choose to have him). Anywho I met my supervisor to discuss my project, where I offered him some ideas I had for the project however he said if I do my own research idea then he will not be able to help me (as those ideas were not related to his study interests).He then offered me ideas of his research interests (this is going to benefit his research), so I AGREED (I shouldn't have I know). A week later from here, where I had read about his research idea I decided it was too complicated for me to understand, so I told him that I feel it is not suitable for me, however he said NOOOO come onnn! (like an idiot I agreed AGAIN). Where do we go from here... I started writing up on the proposal for this research and made him double check it as he needs to sign it.. he degraded me like no one ever has... making comments on how much I had complicated a simple topic (I just nodded) he also commented on whether I was born here or not... as apparently my work was making no sense, then he mentioned that how he wonders im going to manage to write a report on this (as if I have not been writing reports for the past 2 years). The story continues on me wanting to change my supervisor as I was already stressed about deadlines and the last thing I needed was some degrading comments... SOOO coming to the climax :') I met him again today with a proposal THE WAY HE ASKED ME (SIMPLER AND SHORTER) GUESS WHAT HE DEGRADED ME X2! he said how it made no sense again (I had it checked by many other professionals and they clearly understood it) when I mentioned him that other people were able to understand it he turned to me and said ' ARE YOU TRYING TO ARGUE WITH MEEEEE!' I said no with a calm voice … then as he was making amends and ADDING EXACTLY WHAT I HAD IN MY PROPOSAL IN MY FIRST DRAFT he started deleting it and saying that im doubting him and believing what others are saying … to which I clearly reacted by saying no 'you know better I guess'.... CAN SOMEONE TELL ME IF THIS BEHAVIOUR IS NORMAL???? I have discussed to change my supervisor but it is too late rn to do so and im doing HIS research so i'll need his support for it... I get super nervous and anxious around this man its unbelievable he makes me look like an idiot (no disrespect intended to him im sure he's a great man) but I just don't know what to do about this... can someone give me some advice or insight pls x
First, paragraphs ! Dont try and write a research proposal or thesis like this, its very hard to digest. If your proposal was similar in style I am not too surprized it was not well received.

Second, a final year project with a research group should take you out of your comfort zone. It does not come with a neat "how to" script like a standard lab experiment and you should expect some robust peer review and "destruction testing" of ideas. Thats a very good thing, much better to have someone with real experience rip things apart and help restructure them early on rather than find out too late. That might not be a nice experience, but in real research, peer review can be absolutely butal.

Third, relationship with your supervisor. Its not clear if they are just a bit difficult or had this project dumped on them last minute on top of all their normal workload and are not feeling great about it as a result. learning to manage your supervisor and understanding how to work with them is an important skill. Dont expect to be able to do much "useful" early on in terms of serious research, he will be thinking about the project and your ideas with at least a decade, probably more experience than you. Think about how you might view working with a year 7 student in comparison. Projects like this usually have a very messy start and only really deliver useful work in the last month or so. If they suggest you do a number of apparently unconnected things, there is probably a plan to that, ask about how things will join together.

Forth, do they have a research team, PhD students, RAs etc ? Getting to know them and chatting about your work and thier research (and supervisor managment suggestions) over coffee can help hugely and they will likely be less adversarial than a 1 to 1 with your supervisor.



Forth,
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Anonymous #1
#3
Report Thread starter 6 days ago
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
First, paragraphs ! Dont try and write a research proposal or thesis like this, its very hard to digest. If your proposal was similar in style I am not too surprized it was not well received.

Second, a final year project with a research group should take you out of your comfort zone. It does not come with a neat "how to" script like a standard lab experiment and you should expect some robust peer review and "destruction testing" of ideas. Thats a very good thing, much better to have someone with real experience rip things apart and help restructure them early on rather than find out too late. That might not be a nice experience, but in real research, peer review can be absolutely butal.

Third, relationship with your supervisor. Its not clear if they are just a bit difficult or had this project dumped on them last minute on top of all their normal workload and are not feeling great about it as a result. learning to manage your supervisor and understanding how to work with them is an important skill. Dont expect to be able to do much "useful" early on in terms of serious research, he will be thinking about the project and your ideas with at least a decade, probably more experience than you. Think about how you might view working with a year 7 student in comparison. Projects like this usually have a very messy start and only really deliver useful work in the last month or so. If they suggest you do a number of apparently unconnected things, there is probably a plan to that, ask about how things will join together.

Forth, do they have a research team, PhD students, RAs etc ? Getting to know them and chatting about your work and thier research (and supervisor managment suggestions) over coffee can help hugely and they will likely be less adversarial than a 1 to 1 with your supervisor.



Forth,
Thank you for replying truly appreciate an insight!! Also I had written my proposal in paragraphs, my main concern isn't how great or how perfect my work should be, I will always appreciate a good piece of feedback to improvise my work… but the reactions I have been getting from my supervisor do not seem normal to me hence I've been stressed and caused me to have a lower self-esteem.
He had also mentioned that there is some kind of communication misunderstanding between us two and that he has done similar researches with other students but they 'got it right' referring that there's something wrong with me...? And yeah maybe I am overreacting I will not deny that, but all this has been affecting my performance levels at uni.
And yes there is PhD students in the research team with whom I should be meeting with my supervisor some time soon. I guess this might be all normal for final year projects then... Thank you once again for the tips and explaining the more detailed side I overlooked though!
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Anonymous)
the reactions I have been getting from my supervisor do not seem normal to me hence I've been stressed and caused me to have a lower self-esteem.
This is where a bit of insight from the PhD students can be really useful. If you dont already have their email addresses, find out so you can arrange to meet up with them independently for a chat over coffee. Thats probably the best way of finding out if your supervisor is "known to be difficult", has the "odd bad day" or is usually fine with students, but you got off to a bad start.

Remember that projects are long term efforts, not everything has to be perfect or well understood at the start. As a rough rule of thumb in research you spend >90% of your time NOT getting important new data, most of the time you are getting up to speed on new ideas and techniques, finding lots of new and inventive ways of doing things that just dont work well so get crossed off the list etc before you get the good stuff.

Best of luck.
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Anonymous #2
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Are you at KCL in a science department. I had a bad superviser there. I think you should ask the student advice service as they are good are good at helping at local level.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Are you at KCL in a science department. I had a bad superviser there. I think you should ask the student advice service as they are good are good at helping at local level.
No I am not there... however I have booked in with student advice next week at university, and i'll try to find out what can I do about all this I guess?
Also what did you do about your supervisor back then?
Thanks
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
This is where a bit of insight from the PhD students can be really useful. If you dont already have their email addresses, find out so you can arrange to meet up with them independently for a chat over coffee. Thats probably the best way of finding out if your supervisor is "known to be difficult", has the "odd bad day" or is usually fine with students, but you got off to a bad start.

Remember that projects are long term efforts, not everything has to be perfect or well understood at the start. As a rough rule of thumb in research you spend >90% of your time NOT getting important new data, most of the time you are getting up to speed on new ideas and techniques, finding lots of new and inventive ways of doing things that just dont work well so get crossed off the list etc before you get the good stuff.

Best of luck.
Yeah i will try to get in contact with a PhD students asap, so i can get some advice...
And yes I guess you are right and it's all part of the process to get there eventually.
Thank you I appreciate the advice!!!
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