I am in serious situation now. I am in the final semister of my graduate degree. I am a member of a lab as the professor is also my advisor. The first 2 semister I got project to work on with my phd lab mate. I am not taking important part in the project. Now the project was done. It was not so interested to me but as the lab member I have to take some part in it and also I did not do it well. This is just the background of my story, not the case.

The problem now is that I still figure out what my thesis topic and direction is. I got stuck and don't know even what topic to start. I have meet with him a few times talking about my concern and also tell him some alternative choice and find a few papers from conferences or google scholar. Now I think that my interest in the topic I told him is not good anymore. But I am afraid to talk to him as He don't care about me. I think he lost interest in me. If I don't talk he not going to ask. I want to push the things onward but I am depressed and I don't know how to start and how to ask to get help.

I know I am the main part of this problem to procastinate to this situation but I just want to get some advice.

  • 5
    Talk to a mental health professional about your depression. Talk to your advisor about your research. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 24 at 11:49
  • @AnonymousPhysicist Thank you. – K.Sopheak Apr 30 at 14:21

There are two issues here actually, your stated depression and the relationship with your advisor.

Perhaps the depression is the more serious issue. You should do whatever you can to resolve that. You need it and becoming more comfortable with yourself will also help resolve the other issue. You should, find a way to talk to a counsellor about your personal situation and your feelings. Many universities have an office that will work with you and also keep things you say confidential. If you find you can't resolve your feelings through just taking a break from work and chatting with friends, then I recommend that you explore talking to a professional.

The other issue is a bit easier. When a professor takes on a student they also take on some responsibility for the success of that student. Not all will recognize that, of course, but it is part of the relationship. It is also fairly common for students to get lost while doing projects and require help and guidance. If the advisor is experienced and qualified then they have almost certainly seen this situation in the past, so your approaching them for help won't be new for them.

Normally, I'd suggest a sit-down where you discuss your progress and lack of it. It probably has to be done remotely now and that makes it much more difficult. But a request for guidance is entirely natural. He may be able to increase your interest in the current topic by showing you its potential. He may be able to suggest something related but different. Lots of possibilities but you have to approach him so that he recognizes the problem.

I doubt that he doesn't care about you, though I don't know him. It is more likely, though, that he is busy with other things and other students and is just letting things go when they aren't obvious. Make it obvious that his help is essential. The longer you let it go the harder it will be to resolve.

If you are in a serious jam here, I can't guarantee that a solution won't add time to your studies, especially if you need to redirect, but it is the advisor's job to help you find a path to success. Not to guarantee success, but to show a path.

| improve this answer | |
  • I came to talk with him. The problem is I am not showing him an obvious intention that I am in doing research. He said he wait for me to find a problem with logic and arrange discussion meeting in the lab. But I am silent. It is obviously my fault. But I am a little bit don't like why he don't push me. Why he keep waiting? Do he care about me and want to advise me. From now, I have to put something on proof and make noise more so that He get the sense that I am in need and the critical time. Hope thing better. – K.Sopheak Apr 30 at 14:19
  • 2
    If you don't express your needs, somehow, they probably won't get met. See this question and my answer. Not easy, of course. – Buffy Apr 30 at 14:24
  • I know what to go now. For now, I have to be sure what I want, get a few good paper. Design a slide, tell the problem and what I want to do with it. I know sometimes the idea does not work. That why I afraid to go talk. Sometime, we need a hurt talk. That is the discussion to make this bitter situation work. As soon as possible. I know there will be a bit blame for my prolong thing this long. Thank you for suggest me. – K.Sopheak Apr 30 at 14:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.