I am an undergraduate STEM student in an Asian university. At the beginning of the semester, I had about 7 courses which is the usual workload we need to deal with, so I gave a 'semester research plan' of sorts to the professor from another university under whom I am working as an intern.

After midsemester exams, our department shocked us by introducing 3 extra labs for the semester which have weekly assignments and quizzes. On top of that, several of the 7 other courses have their own course projects (some more than one). Not to mention the course quizzes and assignments. I am also working on a research problem with a professor in my own university. Plus, I need to secure an internship for the summer, which COVID has complicated quite a bit.

Overall, I just feel tired and demotivated to work on anything. I constantly break down and worry. I have spoken to some supportive family members about this but they don't really know how bad it is, so they can only offer so much advice. My uni friends on the other hand seem to be getting on fine and I am ashamed to seek help from them.

All this has made me want to take a break from my internship with the professor from the other university. I have barely done any work this semester and I haven't been regular at all to the meets. So I have already disappointed him considerably and I am further sad that I wasted an opportunity to learn and work under him (he is fairly popular in his field in the country).

So how do I tactfully tell my internship guide that I would like to take a break without disappointing him further? The reality is that I am already the weakest link in his research group, so I am worried that this will just convince him to let go of me from the group.

  • 1
    Don't be ashamed to talk to your friends about this. It could be that everyone is struggling and putting on a brave face. A problem shared is a problem halved. Mar 9, 2021 at 15:32
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    I doubt that (all of) your Uni friends are “getting on fine,” even if they seem to. When they look at you, they probably think the same about you. If you live in a tough, hard-working culture you tend to put on appearances. This doesn’t help with your problem, but I’d at least talk about it with close friends in a similar situation. Mar 9, 2021 at 15:33


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