Friday, February 20, 2009

The World Revolves Around My Advisor

Most of the time my advisor and I get along fine. At grant deadline time, I swear, she turns into an ego monster. The first time we tried to submit a grant, her unrealistic demands - and attempts to lecture me on my "issues" when they were mostly caused by her - led us to the ombuds' office. I suppose I should look on the bright side; this time, she announced grant plans a mere 3 weeks in advance, so I only have to put up with it for 3 weeks.

There are four students in our lab preparing to defend a senior honors thesis. They are required to provide the thesis to their committee a week in advance of the defense, which is two weeks from now. They have started to give their theses to my advisor, in what will turn out to be one of two direct roles she has on their work (the other being comments on their practice defenses). She has known for weeks that she was going to start getting thesis drafts now. And she just sent out an email saying that it "makes more sense" for her to give comments back after the grant deadline. This gives the students a few days (no time, in one case) to incorporate her comments.

I understand the need for grant money. I want to get paid over the summer, instead of scraping by on loans and a possible TA. I will obligingly drop everything to get her seemingly insane requests done in a week, including a frantic round of pilot experiments to see if things might work. I'll even grant that it might not be possible for her to find a single hour for reading an honors thesis before the grant gets submitted. I just think it's the height of selfishness to say "it makes more sense" when it's really "it's more convenient for me". The world does not revolve around her, and her concerns are not the only ones that determine what makes sense.


Anonymous said...

OMG, I think both of us can talk about our advisors into the wee hours of the night! We'd probably think that our advisors are identical twins!

I just blogged about this a few days ago: "Whenever she wants something done, she will make you think that it is best for you to do it, and she will not accept “no” for an answer. And whenever she doesn’t have time to do something she’s supposed to do, she will make it sound like it is only normal for her to forget something, and that she has been too busy to remember doing it."

And talking about ego, OMG. Whenever we have visitors, she turns into a horrible, green-eyed ego monster. She talks about her achievements most of the time, how she got this done, how she got that done, how this happened as a result of something she had done, etc. She complains that her students do not treat her like an advisor, she says that her students aren't reliable, etc.


grad student said...

The other grad students and I have regular advisor commiseration sessions - fortunately, the next one is Friday.

Your advisor sounds like more of an ego monster than mine. I'm starting to think that my advisor doesn't do these things deliberately - she's just so self-centered she doesn't even realize she's doing it. I'd rather she were of the opinion that this is what grad students are for. At least she'd have put some thought into it.