Struggling with Grad School and feeling no support…

posted 3 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
3280 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I honestly think the best thing to do is just worked as hard as you can which I’m sure you are and get it done to show everyone that you have been doing it and it can show what you’ve accomplished. Let them say whatever you want, you really can’t prove it until you have something to show for youself. Good for you for working hard just give it that extra little push to get it done! Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
2675 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

Keep working hard and prove them all wrong! That would be my motivation if it were me, to prove everyone who seems against you wrong.

It’s a tough situation. I wrote up a thesis on my original research (molecular biology) and the support and help from my advisor/PI was so helpful. Her and I are still friends today. I can’t imagine losing her and then pushing on to continue my work with someone new like you have had to do.

Post # 5
Member
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

First off, I’m sorry about your situation with your advisor – losing your first advisor, and then the issues with the new advisor. It’s understandable that switching advisors partway through, especially because your previous supervisor died, would throw a wrench in your academic work.

1. You have to stop listening to other people’s advice when it’s not called for. I am a year behind my best friend in the same program, but academically, I am far past her – I’ve been ABD for two years and should finish and defend my dissertation by Christmas and she is not yet ABD. A lot of our other colleagues have hassled her about how far behind she is/how slow her progress is/etc. It’s no one’s business. When people make comments, say you are happy with the progress you are now making and you’re determined to push forward. Then redirect. You know what you are doing, and that’s what is important.

2. You don’t need to be accountable to anyone but your advisor – who doesn’t seem interested in holding you accountable anymore. Stop defending the amount of work you’re doing. I definitely understand. My husband goes to his office every day, but I work from home, and I do work less than he does (there’s meals to prepare, a child to care for, etc). At first I was always telling him every single thing I’d done in a day and detailed the time I spent working and then thought – why do I need to do this? I’m going at my pace, and if *I* am pleased with the hours I’ve worked today, that’s great.

3. This one is hard. First and foremost, what are your options with regard to your advisor? There are often resources available for grad students with conflicts with their supervisors, and I’d suggest you look into them. Your advisor has actively made your academic career difficult, by bringing in your personal life (your status and your marriage are none of her business) and by refusing to respond to emails. I’ve also had this issue and have used the follow-up-every-day method. If you cannot resolve your differences with your advisor, I would look into switching again. It may slow you down again, but I doubt you are going to receive the proper support from this advisor, nor do I think they will invest in helping you find opportunities following your completion of your program.

As for other people… I know it’s discouraging to face criticism from people you care about and are close to. Have you talked to your husband and your friends about how their criticisms and frustrations are putting you down and making you feel worse? Some people think tough love is the best approach, and don’t always realise it’s not.

 

Post # 8
Member
2512 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

@HourThyme:  

Wow. Your new advisor sounds like a real gem! Egads! I’m so sorry about your frustration & the fact that people seem to think you’re not working to your potential, but in my life I’ve found anger to be a giant motivator. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I LOVE to prove them wrong. Hang in there! Once you finish, you’ll be having the last laugh.

 

Post # 9
Member
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@HourThyme:  I’m glad it helped, even a little. I think a lot of people have difficulty understanding the stress of doing a PhD, especially in non-traditional or difficult circumstances (and I think losing your advisor, as well as additional difficulties due to being undocumented are issues few of us face- and they are *tough*).

Give yourself credit for pushing through. You may be further behind than you’d anticipated, but at 6 years in and finishing before 30, you’re doing great. Think about how awesome that is! And think how great it’s going to feel when you submit your dissertation and get your degree. I fully admit some of my motivation to finish is that I want to prove everyone wrong – my dad always jokes this is the most  time-consuming way of saying ‘f–k you’ to everyone who doubted me, but it’s worth it. Sooner or later, you will prove them all wrong.

I’m not a US citizen so I also can’t work outside the home, so I feel you on doing everything at home. It does affect your productivity, for sure.

Post # 10
Member
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Backyard

Oh, honey. 

I would see about making some kind of report to human resources about her comments and questions regarding your marriage. I think that is highly unethical and indicative of her own intolerance. Truly, talk to someone in HR. That is not right.

Grad school is a special kind of hell. I had a horrible advisor that didn’t reply to any of my emails for NINE MONTHS. I stopped trying to work on my thesis at that point, too. Then it was twice as hard to start back up.

So – absolutely, KEEP WORKING. Every day, make some progress. 

Can you ask someone else on your committee to meet with you and look over your progress? This is one thing I really, really wish I had done – asked for help. Listen – you are in grad school because you are LEARNING how to become an academic. If you knew this already, you wouldn’t be in grad school! SO ASK FOR HELP. Please.

Also, I cannot recommend going to therapy enough. Grad school is just a horrible, twisted experience. See a therapist.

I am really, really sorry that your husband is not more supportive. Have you told him how alone and scared you are feeling? Maybe don’t mention the advisor so much as just your feelings about moving forward. 

Feel free to private message me ANYTIME and I will cheer you on! YOU CAN FINISH, and you deserve to finish (you do not deserve to be cast aside or reported out of bigotry).

You really can do it!!!!

 

Post # 12
Member
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Backyard

@HourThyme:  I cannot believe your advisor is also an immigrant and has been so creepy to you! Wierd.

My best friend finished his Ph.D. in counseling psychology a couple of years ago. He had a fantatic advisor. His and my experience were night and day. I am still jealous!

Contact me anytime – I am cheering for you like crazy!!!!

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