The tyranny of the Awesome Supervisor

This post is by Dr Catherine Ayers, who was a PhD candidate in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University, researching the multiple and sometimes conflicting ways we conceptualise and experience ‘Nature’, specifically in the realm of national parks and other protected areas. She has been known to nerd it up as an … Continue reading The tyranny of the Awesome Supervisor

How to email your supervisor (or, the tyranny of tiny tasks and what you can do about it)

Ah email... blessing or curse of contemporary academic life? The letter below describes a common email problem between students and supervisors. My response to this letter dwells on the importance of lunch, amongst other things. Hi Inger I follow your Thesis Whisperer blog and I have a question for you about email contact with supervisors. … Continue reading How to email your supervisor (or, the tyranny of tiny tasks and what you can do about it)

Know your limits

This post is by Sue Watling, Senior Lecturer in Educational Development in the Educational Development Enhancement Unit at the University of Lincoln, UK. Supporting teaching, learning and the student experience, Sue also promotes the development of digitally inclusive practice. You can read more about Sue’s work and Phd journey here. I’ve always had problems with … Continue reading Know your limits

“I’m writing a book no one will read” and other reasons the PhD can get you down

This post is by Inez Von Weitershausen, a PhD student at the London School of Economics who blogs on people, thoughts, experiences, feelings on the Epiphany blog. Inez first came to my attention when she wrote an interesting article in the Guardian about PhD survival strategies, so I was happy when she sent me this … Continue reading “I’m writing a book no one will read” and other reasons the PhD can get you down

When good supervisors go bad…

I get a lot of emails from students complaining about their supervision experience. This one, from an anonymous student, stood out. I think it's the way the student thought they had it all figured out - before it went so very wrong.... There are a lot of bad PhD stories out there. Stories of never-ending … Continue reading When good supervisors go bad…

Please stop telling me to ‘manage’ my supervisor!

Like many other academic developers, I have often run workshops called 'manage your supervisor' where I try, in an upbeat fashion, to empower students to feel they can take charge of their own learning and responsibility for the outcomes. I acknowledge in this workshop that supervisors are generally busy, time poor creatures who might need … Continue reading Please stop telling me to ‘manage’ my supervisor!

Why does feedback hurt sometimes?

This letter was written by an experienced academic at ANU to her PhD student, who had just presented his research to a review panel and was still licking her wounds. The student sent it to me and I thought it was a great response I asked the academic in question, and the student who received … Continue reading Why does feedback hurt sometimes?

Am I a student, or a therapist?!

Last year I published a post called "How I broke up with my supervisor" which detailed one student's less than great experience of supervision. I got many emails after that post, some with really dreadful stories of neglect and bullying. I decided to publish some of them, with the authors' permission, because I think they … Continue reading Am I a student, or a therapist?!

Doing your amendments without losing heart (or your mind)

Many research students in Australia will be planning to submit their thesis next month. Let's fast forward to that sweet moment you find out your examiners reports are back, or completed your Viva and been told you have passed. Congratulations! Time to ring up the bank and the passport office to get that long awaited … Continue reading Doing your amendments without losing heart (or your mind)