Thursday, January 12, 2012

Turn-Based Advising

This semester is not getting off to a great start. I came into the office after break only to be immediately flattened by a fairly nasty head cold. I'm also really struggling with staying motivated. My prelims are done, and to be honest, I'm about fifth in line to graduate from my group, which means I'm also fairly far down in my advisor's reading stack. One of the older students and I were talking about it, and realized that my advisor more or less practices turn-based advising. So he won't read Student Y's paper because he's too busy with Student X's papers whose papers he didn't read until after they graduated because he was too busy with Student V's papers.

I'm also not working on a project with any collaborators, which is why I'm farther down the list than the two students who joined when I did. I sit next to the conference table in our office space, and it gets hard to ignore how differently he treats my project (i.e., ignores). It's hard not to get angry. Nothing has changed about his advising, but I no longer have the distraction of classes.

I'm sure that about 2 weeks before the next grant review rolls around (noting I'm not actually supported on it...), I'll get attention again. But right now, I can't help like feeling like a three-year-old tugging on a parental sleeve begging them to look at my pretty picture.


  1. Hi Miss MSE,

    Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn’t find any contact info for you. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in a guest post. Please drop me an e-mail.



  2. PS - My email is aliciamoore985 at gmail dot com

  3. I know what you mean. We used to say we were like piglets fighting to get to the milk. Which sounds really much weirder now than it did then.

    I think "turn-based" advising is pretty common given that advisors are usually somewhat overwhelmed by everything they have to do. My advice (not that you asked for advice!) is to help each other as much as possible. Have the other students read your stuff so that it's as good as it can possibly be when your advisor finally gets around to looking at it.

    1. We've been trying to do that, but he often doesn't read papers until the student in question is gone. Consequently, no one currently around knows what he wants, but we know he's very nitpicky about style.