Sep. 4th, 2012


Sep. 4th, 2012 08:48 am
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
I have a PhD student! She started yesterday, and she is brill, I am so looking forward to working with her. I'm also a bit nervous, because I've never done this before, and I'm in very large part responsible for her career and quite possibly her happiness.

The PhD system is really weird in how heavily it depends on the relationship between supervisor and student. Modern academia is just starting to put safeguards in place to salvage the situation if the relationship goes wrong, but it's still essentially like a Mediaeval apprenticeship: your supervisor all but owns you and has almost unlimited power over whether you get your PhD, which is the essential and almost the only entry route into an academic career.

So I'm taking a leaf from [personal profile] rachelmanija's book: if you've ever been a PhD student, tell me stories! Tell me something your supervisor did that made things better for you. Tell me something they did that made the soul-killing struggle of getting through a PhD even worse than it should have been. (Like [personal profile] rachelmanija, I don't really need to know about obviously disastrously wrong things like sexually harassing students or completely ignoring them or stealing their work, because I already know I'm not going to do that. But hey, if it's cathartic for you to tell the internet how your supervisor was an evil crook who exploited you, go ahead!)

I have no problem if you want to give me general advice that doesn't come from direct personal experiences, or if you want to chime in with stories about a similar relationship that wasn't specifically a PhD. Also feel free to comment if I don't know you, if you found this by chance eg via Latest Things or Network. Anon comments are allowed but you may have to fill in a Captcha.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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