- beginning 2nd year of a M.S.
- In a computational geoscience lab
- Past lab mates (M.S. students) have done great and sophisticated research
- Advisor wants to give me a to-do list and have it blindly executed
- I have basically done this, but am getting more confident and autonomous
- I asked him early on if I should be coming up with my research topic, he said no…
- He gave me 4-5 different topics to do some pre research on last year
- I did, and ran into problems with each of them
- In about March we settled on a statistical analysis (even though I don’t have a background in stats, but am learning.)
- However, he hasn’t spent much time looking at my project
- Things I brought up months ago, and he dismissed we are finally revisiting (like a really low n….!)
- I’ve finally ‘caught’ him telling me my statement is untrue, when in fact it is definitively true (even simple things, like the code to check RAM)
- He’s told me he likes that I think quickly and have great intuition, but I have to be…. …. (more careful? I assumed).
- I am not a great programmer yet, and so I am slow, but getting better.
- Funded on a external fellowship this year, will be a department TA next (none of his research dollars, which he has plenty, with 3 more grad students funded by him)
My advisor surely wants me to bite off a chunk of work that is manageable. However, I still have a full year of research to do (with little classwork), and every idea I have to bolster the analysis he suggests not to pursue it, because it’ll be too hard and take too much time. Although, he is finally coming around to some of the ideas.
He say’s that it irritates him when I come up with something when he is paused trying to think… He has repeatedly told me he wants me in the lab, but that he’s just making sure I will be out in a year from now.
I am two months of actual work in and am getting some initial results, that aren’t that compelling, don’t add to the knowledge base and I don’t believe would ever get published. But, he has repeatedly told me to start writing my thesis around these preliminary figures. I have started to, as it can be helpful to write down your thoughts, but why waste a bunch of time perfecting figures and editing when you don’t think the content is any good?
It’s as if I am his puppy on a tight leash, and am sniffing around tugging on the leash, he ignores that the puppy might smell something he doesn’t and yanks me back-justifying it as training. But, he is in a sense more aimless (and less motivated by the walk and seems he just wants it to be over) and eventually all the puppy tugs, alter the inertia of the walker and his puppy.
This ‘method’ of mentor ship works, I guess, its just very slow and painful. How should I handle this? I have confronted him about holding too short of a lease and he got angry but was eventually receptive and instantly changed the subject to an non relational topic(even though I said, “great, lets talk about this.”). To me, it seems like there is a huge power dynamic that he wants to keep, and that whenever I come up with something, he forgets about it then comes up with it a month later in his own words so as to ‘own’ it? I don’t care who owns it, I just want a decent relationship with my mentor and add(or remove) a tiny chunk to (from) my field.
Do I confront him on my suspicion he is just ‘putting up’ with me, and just wants me out of his lab? Seems like that’s a good way to get the boot. Is it just a conflict of personalities? How to tell? Furthermore, what good is a M.S. to go into the workforce if you don’t even get a good recommendation from your advisor?