Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sequesters and Other Forms of Stress

Life in my research group is grumpy at the best of times, but recently, it feels like someone turned the stress knob to 11. My advisor has been struggling to write successful proposals for a couple cycles in a row now (for many, many reasons I'm not going into here), and consequently, money is running out fast. There's one student he's basically trying to shove out the door by September, but at least three of us are completely up in the air come September.

I applied for external funding in the form of the SMART scholarship, but 9% cuts to the Department of Defense are probably going to lead to drastically reduced funding rates this cycle. Given that the majority of the group's research funding is also DoD based, this do not look good.

I also really have no idea what my advisor expects to consider me "done". I'm working on so many unrelated projects, it's hard to see a coherent thesis direction. Every time I ask if I can focus on one project, the response is "Let me think about it, but in the mean time keep up with all of them" or if he says I can set aside one project, one month later he'll have forgotten and be demanding new data.

Add to that his general communication problems, and everyone is worried. It feels like the research group is about to collapse at any moment, and we're going to be the casualties. And there's nothing we can really do until we know what's actually happening.

Edit:because I can't spell when stressed, apparently