I am not sure if this concept sounds familiar to you but in Sweden PhD students are expected to have a study plan, which is revised every year, in connection with a meeting between the student, the primary and secondary supervisor(s). It's the closest thing I have to a contract actually.
Theoretically the concept is great, there's a formal demand to plan and revise the projects, so that things don't get out of hand. The study plan typically defines:
- the nature and title of graduate studies
- an expected time of dissertation
- the responsibilities the student has towards the department (teaching, lab/IT responsibilities etc)
- the extent of research/course ratio per semester
- courses taken/planned
- the project that planned to/will be a part of the thesis
Then comes a series of so-called "lärandemål" which I could possibly translate as "learning goals" mandated/advised by the board of higher education services (Högskoleverket) and what is planned/completed to achieve these goals. This piece constitutes a majority of the study plan essentially.
So far so good... I think conceptually it's a great idea. In practice, the part regarding learning goals becomes a whole bunch of formal gibberish that does not reflect reality but looks fancy on paper. My supervisor does not really care much about the plan, at least not in the format it's forced on both of us. I am not sure if this is the impostor syndrome speaking, but I feel like it's essentially an annoying piece of paperwork, on which I am forced to write what I am doing/have done in rather exaggerated fluffy words. I have also considered the possibility that I perceive it thus because even though I am very fluent, Swedish is not my first language. I could not say for sure...
I am trying to force myself to see the benefit in having and updating such a study plan. I could just do the minimal amount of work and get it over with, but seeing that this is actually my chance and legal right to influence the development of my graduate studies, I feel it'd be a waste of opportunity if I did not take the chance to make the best out of it.
Any ideas as to how I can make better use of these study plans and study plan meetings that go along with it? Likewise any plans as to how I can avoid seeing it as an annoying piece of work that has to be done and have no practical meaning?