169

Someone said:* When you reinvent the wheel, you end up learning a great deal about why wheels are round. And that is really the point. When you’re at university to get a degree in wheels, you should fully expect not just to be told that wheels exist but to be asked to think deeply about them so that you develop an understanding, at the deepest level, of ...


157

It looks to me like you did not do so badly as you think. Two publications and 3.7 GPA are not so bad. It might depend on the field, it might not be the best ever, but I have seen much worse. If your supervisor offered you a postdoc position after having you for 6 years as a PhD student, it means that they consider your work useful. You might be suffering ...


98

There are exceptions in some specific fields (for example accounting) where corporate jobs are much more attractive than academic ones, but, in general, an academic considers themselves very lucky if they can find any academic job at all, let alone one in a particular city.


98

For a one-off or short-term rudeness, my policy is to respond with pure facts, served chilled. If you have a good instinct for delivering comebacks at just the right level, a hint (but just a hint) of sarcasm might work wonders. Manners are important, but it's not our job to teach the students manners - and they are rarely grateful for it, especially those ...


90

Having worked with master's students in an applied research lab, I am fairly confident that you are not expected to come up with a solution that will dramatically change the production process and lead to great profits. Your stipend is not contingent on your work delivering monetary returns; research doesn't work like that. You are engaged by them to apply ...


84

No, "shouting" in an email isn't "normal". And, yes, it might imply disrespect. But I think that, given everything else you say, it is more likely that it indicates extreme PANIC on the part of the student (sorry for shouting there). But fear can cause people to act badly. Don't overreact without more evidence.


77

The student seems to have the misconception that mathematics is about "facts". Early education stresses elementary facts a lot, so this is pretty natural. But mathematics is about understanding relationships, not memorizing facts. If you don't know why something in mathematics is true, you really don't understand it. The proofs in mathematics are ...


65

Let's say you're completing your PhD in Underwater Basketweaving. If you're going to carry on in an academic career without relocating, you need two things to happen: first, the university needs to be looking to hire a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Underwater Basketweaving at just around the time you're ready to submit, and then you need to actually ...


48

Very weak students are likely to have a comorbidity of poor language skills (possibly just starting to learn English as a second language), poor computer and keyboard literacy (e.g., not even having awareness or control over case-sensitivity), and poor email etiquette knowledge. These students are likely to face a cascade of system failures, not being able ...


45

We can’t tell from what you write how promising you really are. But I can say you’re showing many classic signs of impostor syndrome. Believe the assessments you receive from instructors. At least in my experience (the US and NW Europe), “sarcasm” is very rare, and considered quite unprofessional. I would certainly be shocked to see it used in a letter of ...


43

I was that student. And the reason is mainly not because I was a bad student, or a bad engineer (a 2:1 degree and 25 years in industry should answer those points). It was because my lecturers were bad teachers. And yes, you too may be a bad teacher right now, without realising it. The difference is that you've seen this student's question as a challenge to ...


41

It may help to remember that professors are only human. You might be looking for "forgiveness" or "justice," but professors are neither priests nor judges; they are researchers. Now they are moving on with their lives, and so must you; for better or worse, this incident is done. Bearing in mind that professors are human, I think many of your questions can ...


39

To be honest, I'm tempted to agree with Buffy. It sounds like the biggest issue you have might actually be the one you identified at the start of your post - low self-confidence. Studying for a PhD, and working in academia in general, has a tendency to have that effect on people - you're far from alone. If I were you, I'd be tempted to take stock of my ...


37

Set a meeting with all three advisors, explain you'd like to focus entirely on the writing, and ask whether regular meetings can be replaced with less-regular meetings when you need support.


29

You have: the highest possible academic degree that one can achieve a job in the field a life in a developed country You're faring really well. This is not to say that what you're feeling isn't real. It is real, and there is a problem. It's just that the problem is not what you have, but who you are. What you have is a highly successful life, at the same ...


28

"top 10 papers he's ever seen from a student in his 20 years of teaching." That is not them being sarcastic, for one thing the professor should know that sarcasm does not translate well between cultures (and translates very badly when written down, hence why we are even having this discussion as different people believe differently as to whether ...


27

Can One Poorly Written Research Paper Derail Your Academic Future? No, it can’t. It sounds like you are catastrophizing. And in any case, if you got an A-, it’s extremely unlikely that your paper is poorly written. So as in the case of the advice I gave in the other linked answer, your excessive concern about ruining your academic career with a single small ...


21

If she isn't a formal advisor you might just get by ignoring her. But if that doesn't seem right, I'd suggest working through one or both of your other advisors. They can quietly speak to her about the fact that her communications are disruptive and not helpful. It might be harmful for you to say the things they they can say comfortably. Let this be a ...


21

Does...the student...show disrespect? Maybe. Does using a full sentence with capital letter acceptable as a normal communication? All-caps emails aren't normal. Am I wrong to deal with this point? You needn't deal with this, just let it go. If the student repeats this behaviour, then you might want to take it further. (You needn't respond to student ...


18

TL;DR: There is one principle in asking forgiveness. If the other side decides to grant it, they will do it under the premise that, from now on, things will change. You have to convince them that this incident will not repeat. This takes time which you didn't give them. By pushing them into situations which you are interested in (adopting you as grad ...


18

"you try to challenge me" When people are stressed, they sometimes revert to phrases used by their parents. "you try to challenge me" sounds exactly like what a parent would say to an unruly teenager. I suggest you reply with instruction rather than censure. You could say for example: "One of the purposes of higher education is for ...


17

No, relocating is not necessary in Academia. However, not being open to relocation significantly reduces your opportunities. In most cases, rendering them effectively zero. With a huge competition for academic positions, one rarely can afford to lose openings in other cities/countries/continents—simply because the opportunities (academic community/research ...


17

Based on your description, getting a Masters degree is not a good idea. Several reasons: You can't be sure your mother will remain healthy. You currently have no savings, and you're already 38. There's not much time left to build up a retirement fund - and as you point out, academia does not pay well. You already have student loans to pay for. Getting a job ...


16

Academia has convinced you of things that are not true. Your post has a strong air of imposter syndrome about it, but let's assume that you are largely correct. You managed to qualify for a PhD with an undergrad record that was not truly excellent, but you still managed to qualify for a PhD. Most undergrad records are not sufficient to do that. GPA of 3....


15

This sounds like a rather delicate matter. On the one hand, your request to not have your supervisory team shaken up while you are finishing your thesis is completely reasonable. On the other hand, if she was your supervisor before leaving it can be painful to come back from a long medical leave and see that your projects moved on to the extent that you aren'...


15

I'm a mathematics graduate currently working in computer science and data analysis. In my experience it is difficult (if not impossible) to memorize every single aspect of mathematics, especially for identities which could be combined with one another in various complicated ways to produce infinite results. Instead I find it useful to start with the most ...


14

While I cannot relate to your story in the academia setting, it is something I can in my personal life, which for myself I attribute to behaviours like rumination, which in turn all stem from emotional dysregulation. As others have stressed, since every subsequent engagement with the professor has led to more stress and anxiety for you, that isn't the ...


13

You need to talk to someone – be that a counsellor (as @Buffy has suggested in the comments), a family member, a friend, or even (depending on your relationship) your supervisor. It does sound like a good part (if not most!) of the problem you describe may stem from impostor syndrome, and if that's the case, then it will be crucial to have others as a ...


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