I shall try to make my former question more on-topic and less personal.
When I started my PhD (maths) a year ago, I was having the following (mostly implicit, though) expectations about how working on a PhD project and the supervision by my professor would be:
- In the few weeks or months, I'd be given articles and other material to work through and to learn new theory from.
- In regular meetings, we'd make sure that I properly understand what I'd have read.
- We'd agree on a concrete research topic which the material I'd be given partially enables me to work on.
- As time passes, I develop a better judgement which literature might help me and what would be interesting questions to work on, so I need less guidance.
- In first principle, the PhD is an opportunity for me to learn advanced contents.
As it has turned out, none of these expectations have been met; instead, the (implicit) expectations of my supervisor (who supervises a master's or PhD thesis for the 1st time) were:
- I'd know which problems I want to work on. Why else should I apply for a PhD position?
- I'd be able to find literature, articles, conferences etc. on my own; I am a grown-up, aren't I?
- In the occasional meetings, I'd report on my progress. I should not expect help with scientific questions, because
- the questions arising from the work we agreed I'd be working on do not match my supervisor's expertise
- as a researcher, I have to know by myself how to answer my questions.
- I have been hired to complement the knowledge in the group, so if I want to extend my knowledge, I am free to read any textbook or paper I want.
I am aware that at the end of a PhD, I should better match the latter. However, I was irritated that this is what is expected from me right from the beginning. Of course, this led to some conflict.
Question: Did I have unrealistic expectations?