I am an undergraduate student in computer science, and I have been working as an undergraduate researcher in theoretical computer science for 7 months. There was this problem that my supervisor mentioned, and I worked on it for a while. But I only managed to solve a sub-case of the problem, which didn’t interest my supervisor at that time. However, he wanted me to write a manuscript about it anyway. I put a lot of effort into writing it, but he didn’t bother to read it. And we have moved on to other things.

A week ago, my supervisor called me, and he said that he found an interpretation of the sub-case of I’ve solved, that economists are interested in. And he said that we can publish it in a journal. So, I was really hyped. We met the next day, to review my proof. But when I arrived, I learned that a friend of my supervisor found an implicit assumption at the beginning of my proof which was clearly wrong.

As you can imagine, I was devastated. I’ve tried to find a workaround, and fix my solution, but I’ve just found another thing that I’ve overlooked. So I’ve lost my enthusiasm and self-confidence.

However, my supervisor claims he found a completely different idea to solve the problem. He explained it to me, however it has some parts to be completed. So he wants me to write a manuscript about it and fill the gaps. However, I cannot find any motivation to do so. I am overwhelmed by the feelings of failure and anger.

I know that I should be working on my supervisor’s idea, but I’m so distracted with the mistake I’ve made. How can I overcome my mistake, and start to work again?

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