Dealing with a demoralizing graduate advisor?
Dealing with a demoralizing graduate advisor?




An anonymous reader (“grad student was wondering”) writes in:

I have a difficult relationship with my advisor where I feel pretty demoralized after every meeting with them. Their style is quite harsh and it’s often unclear to me what is of value in my work (they do not ever explicitly give me positive feedback). To be clear, they provide excellent feedback but it can be really difficult to receive it. It makes it hard to feel motivated to continue working on my dissertation. What advice do people have for being motivated to work in spite of this and 2) doing something to mitigate the situation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I’m so sorry to hear this reader is grappling with this, and hope we can help. I’ve had some friends deal with similar situations–advisors who regularly reduced them or other students to tears, or who were so harsh that their PhD students routinely dropped out and rarely graduated. It sure would be nice if programs more to prevent this kind of thing from happening as often as it apparently does–but while I’ve grappled with the more general problem that the vast majority of feedback one tends to get in academic philosophy is negative, I’ve never quite had to grapple with this kind of situation first-hand. So unfortunately, I’m probably not the best person to offer advice here.

But what about you, my fellow Cocooners? Do/did any of you have a harsh, demoralizing PhD advisor? If so, how did you handle it? Any helpful advice?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More