I am currently in a lab that I feel I cannot grow sufficiently in and am considering changing labs. The background is I chose to join this lab because it was aligned with the work i wanted to do, but I didn't really look into it any further since this was my first experience joining a lab.

After being in the lab for some time Ive found out that communication between the labs 8 members is very limited and there aren't any group projects, assistant professor etc. The professor is a nice person but is usually busy with other things so doesn't really give students much direction or input and leaves the students to figure pretty much everything out on their own. I'm aware this may sound great for some people, but I'm the type of person that requires more direction and to be pushed a bit more or else i tend to procrastinate. This coupled with the lab atmosphere just being very cold and not good for brainstorming with members etc has made me feel that I wont be able to grow much in this environment.

There is a similar lab in the university with more members an assistant professor, group projects and a professor that engages more with his students. I'm thinking I would like to join this lab but think my professor could take it badly since the other lab is in the same uni, and is a friend of his he will probably feel like ive slighted him, or am making an indirect comment on his skills. Which isn't really the case, I just want to be in an environment that allows me to learn as much as possible.

Has anyone else encountered these sorts of issues ? how did you deal with it ?

  • 4
    Honestly and directly. You are an adult human being; your current PI does not own you. I suggest talking to your PI directly about why you are considering changing labs, as if he were also an adult human being. – JeffE Jan 21 '17 at 4:59
  • 1
    This is a good and normal reason to change labs. – Anonymous Physicist Jan 21 '17 at 7:21

As you are someone who tends to need structure and, perhaps I could even say hand-holding, and since your target advisor has a set-up that is more amenable to that style... you might be able to get some assistance from the target advisor in making the change.

You could also ask the director or dean of graduate studies in your department for assistance.

Alternatively, you could take a deep breath and let your current advisor know about the change. Use I-messages such as "I'm the type of person that needs to be pushed a bit more or else I tend to procrastinate." Make sure to thank the professor for the opportunity s/he provided you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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