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I just found an advisor, and the semester after that, I took a much harder courseload because I'm behind on my course requirements. As a result I haven't gotten a lot of research done. Is my advisor going to regret taking me or think I've somehow deceived him?

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    You're not slacking off exactly if you take a harder course load. Tell him what you told this forum: "Just meant to let you know that I'm taking a lot of required classes this semester. It'll be harder temporarily to do research while this lasts." He should understand, and appreciate being kept in the loop. – gnometorule Jan 22 '15 at 19:27
  • I'm only taking one class, so he's probably like "what's the big deal?" But that class is a lot harder than the one class I took last term. – user27109 Jan 22 '15 at 20:10
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    And the professor probably knows that about that class... – jakebeal Jan 22 '15 at 20:11
  • If I were your professor, I would say to you "have some fun and relax!" – kitty Jan 22 '15 at 20:34
  • Maybe. It sounds like you want reassurance but without knowing you or your advisor, we have no way of knowing how he will react. You'll just have to... talk to him, as if he were human (as JeffE likes to put it). – Nate Eldredge Jan 22 '15 at 23:57
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Communication is critical here. If your advisor knows what you are doing and why you are doing it, there is a much better chance that he or she will be patient with a low rate of progress.

You can communicate in a number of ways. A sit-down talk is obviously the most straightforward, but you can back up the message by putting in face time time in the office or lab, attending all lab meetings and relevant seminars and departmental events, and so forth. You can even ask for advice on how to balance classroom and research time. Sometimes an A- and research progress is better for your education than an A+ to the exclusion of everything else. (See also the threads about the relevance of your PhD grades going forward).

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