My supervisor assigns to me many tasks a week and wants them finished in a short period of time, it's been a while now and i feel a bit exhausted. Is this scenario common amongst CS PhDs in the US ?

  • 4
    You can’t work for years on much of anything without burnout at some point.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 5, 2021 at 23:48
  • Either they test you (in which case, you go with it), or this is how it is going to stay for the next years (in which case you have to take a decision; this style is not for everyone). Jun 6, 2021 at 0:12
  • 2
    Do you feel "a bit exhausted" or are you concerned you might suffer from burnout? Jun 6, 2021 at 10:18
  • @henning both!! Jun 6, 2021 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


Having a lot of work is common. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed is common. Should these be acceptable? Entirely up to you.

Time management and resource allocation are some of the biggest skills you will perfect during the PhD. Hopefully you can chat openly with your advisor about your concerns and discuss what an acceptable amount of work to accomplish is. If you are new, your advisor is also learning how much they can push you and what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you are later in your PhD, this advisor/student relationship should develop into more of a collaboration with the advisor providing more oversight and guidance than goals and deadlines (although many will still do that).

It's also a HUGE learning journey, meaning there are weeks when you will have no results to show, but SHOULD have learned a lot and can more intelligently speak about some aspect of your work/field.

  • 1
    "Should these be acceptable? Entirely up to you." So much pain in such an attitude. Please do not take it personally: I know the burden of setting the system this way is not on you. And please, think about the consistency of these feelings with "the biggest skills you will perfect during the PhD, Time management and resource allocation": it means to me that a PhD is doing an idiotic amount of work, to learn to manage (actually stretch) resources ...
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 7, 2021 at 12:59

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