I am doing a project in my university under supervision of a professor. This project constitutes many subgoals. My supervisor told me to meet with him to discuss about the project. But I couldn't reach my weekly subgoal yet. Is it okay if I don't meet him until I reach my weekly subgoal?

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    It is always better to meet and discuss. Delaying would harm the progress. What if you can't complete the subgoal in following week? – Coder Aug 9 '17 at 18:12

It is useful to meet with your advisor on a regular basis, even if (especially if!) you haven't achieved everything you had hoped to since the last meeting.

Otherwise, you risk getting stuck in this "Avoidance Cycle":

Avoidance Cycle

(Source: PhD Comics)

Also, meeting with your advisor may be helpful because:

  • If you haven't achieved your goal because you are stuck on something, your advisor may have a suggestion to help you get un-stuck.
  • If the project is delayed because some part of it took longer than expected, your advisor may want to re-arrange or re-prioritize parts of it to adjust for the new time frame.
  • Having to report back on a regular basis motivates you to keep making regular, if incremental, progress.

But these are only possible if you keep your advisor informed of what's going on - whether the news is good or bad.

  • Okay. But, if I can't reach my subgoals in time and he asks about those, how should I tell him about the problems gently? – Farabi Siddique Aug 9 '17 at 18:36
  • I couldn't agree more with this if you are avoiding your advisor more than likely they know it. It will never hurt to meet with your advisor either so I can't recommend it enough. – Zissouu Aug 9 '17 at 18:58
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    @FarabiSiddique You won't be the first student he has who has run into unexpected problems! Just tell him what the problems were. You don't have to be "gentle", it's all very normal. – ff524 Aug 9 '17 at 19:11
  • Yes, "gentleness" is irrelevant, although, at the same time, there is much misleading mythology about this. Your advisor can help you. Or, of not, then they also are far less likely to blame you for not being able to do things that they cannot do themselves. I understand that a certain number of "advisors" behave relatively childishly, or in adherence to mythology, but it is nearly impossible for The Novice to (successfully, without plotting out their own fatal failure) play along entirely... so, you must/should/can derail (and also in your own mind) misguided mythologizing. – paul garrett Aug 10 '17 at 0:33

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