If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
190

To further echo one of the comments: Seek professional help. This may be a trained psychologist, or even just a general medical practitioner, who may be able to direct you to another institution if necessary. You may have access to mental healthcare through your institution if you do not otherwise have access. Specific phobias are treatable. Formally ...


188

My deepest sympathies for what you are going through. You should certainly tell your advisor. No reasonable person would believe that you are using this situation as an "excuse" for poor performance. Understanding your situation will help your advisor do his/her job: advising you according to your current needs and circumstances. Your advisor may be able ...


171

I suggest a third way: Write a concise e-mail to whoever is handing out the award that you would prefer to receive it silently for the reasons you cited (not wanting to be reminded of your disease), i.e., without being mentioned at the ceremony, but via mail or similar. This has several advantages: You spend at most as much energy on this as declining the ...


144

Seek clinical help! The fact that you are here means that you are someone who believes that you need the help of others and that is very respectable. The problem is that this community, with all the good people in it, is not a good place to provide the help that you can actually benefit from. In your question, there are a few points that are important. ...


137

First of all, I’m happy you’re doing better! It would take a truly heartless committee to ignore the circumstances. In the US it’s illegal if I’m not mistaken, but from a recruiter’s perspective I would definitely see the fact that you overcame adversity and managed to graduate with a good GPA as a point in your favor. Mention this in your statement of ...


116

It's not easy to understand how a mental health issue can lead to plagiarism, and it's less clear still how a medical practitioner could reach the conclusion that a specific instance of plagiarism was a consequence of a mental health issue. Unless those things can be documented and explained in a credible way, it is unlikely people will overlook the ...


113

There is only one suitable course of action I recommend, as an advisor and a physician. Stop with anything that has a potentially detrimentally effect on your health and focus on your treatment (thus if you believe so also your MSc commitments). Indeed, your work is likely contributing to your depressive symptoms (irrespective of the differential diagnosis ...


107

You can't really hide the fact that you were dismissed for plagiarism. If you do, and it comes to light later, that can be sufficient grounds to have your admission revoked (or to be expelled). If you're asked, then you need to be straightforward about it—explain the entire situation briefly and cogently. Explain what happened and why it happened, and why ...


106

Your university should have policies in place for equitable treatment of individuals with disabilities (which mental disorders like depression count as being among), which your supervisor is almost definitely in violation of. Take whatever evidence of your condition, along with whatever evidence of your supervisor’s misconduct you have to the student ...


104

There are three basic approaches to handling this: Paul Erdos' approach. Pros: it worked for Erdos, after a fashion. Cons: you are not Erdos. Crack, maybe have a psychotic episode, and leave academia. Pros: it's the easiest course, and the one you're on now. Cons: everything else about it. Recognize that your career is not a sprint, but a marathon, and ...


102

Let the department head know what you've observed. You can write an anonymous letter if you feel uncomfortable or are worried about burning bridges. (I've been in this situation, as a student. We - the students in the class - wrote a collective letter to the department head. He was able to arrange extra TA support for the professor for the rest of that ...


97

This is a tough question, and you have my sympathies. A sabbatical is time off from on-campus responsibilities given to enhance your long term scholarly life. It varies in its implementation from place to place (and in fact they do not exist at my institution), but most commonly you propose travel and research plans. Alcoholism and mental health issues ...


96

That sounds like a big no to me, but that comes from Germany with very strict rules on privacy. Your medical condition is your thing, and yours alone. If you have a document that certifies your illnesss, that should be enough. Check your university policies, what you need to provide in case off illness HAS to be written down somewhere. If it states there ...


91

You are on sick leave. Take it and take it seriously. You didn't take the last two sick leaves seriously, did work, and still remained sick. It's just as if you had a broken foot and kept walking on it and asked why on top of the first fracture not healing, now you have a stress fracture on the other foot. So: Do not go to school for any reason except ...


89

The first thing to note here is that sleeping in such situations is often not a voluntary action, but a physiologically unavoidable response to the situation the body is in - many people die every year after falling asleep at the wheel of a car. I don't think you'd describe the results of that on other people in the car as "rude". In general, if you are in ...


88

My mother died shortly after I matriculated to my PhD program. I actually could not finish all of my classes, and had to make up work the following semester. Everyone involved (dept. head, advisor, etc.) would have given me even more time than I took to get back on track, after a few months I dove into work as a way to deal with some of parts of the loss. ...


83

Does anyone else experience this? Yes, I'm pretty sure we all do to some extent, and that it's one of the defining characteristics of being a researcher that you get so emotionally involved in your work and are so passionate about it that it has that effect. It can be both a curse and a blessing (see the fantastic question linked to by jakebeal in the ...


77

If your advisor is suggesting that you quit, it is likely that you will have a hard time carrying on with the same advisor. You maybe need to have a discussion with them about why your performance was bad, and why you needed a break. As it currently stands, it sounds like you had one year in the program without any progress, and then another year where you ...


75

Becoming overweight is not an issue per se. Major physical changes, however, are often a sign of an major ongoing mental or physical health event. Rapid weight gain, for example, is often associated with depression or thyroid problems, both of which can have a major impact on the student's ability to learn and work. As such, I would definitely be concerned ...


75

Campus police is in charge of keeping everyone on campus safe -- both from other members of the university as well as people outside the university. They're your first point of contact, and if the email can be construed as a threat, then they should take it seriously. If they think that they require help from outside, they will refer the matter to the city ...


74

Obviously, how you approach this will depend on what your relationship with the professor is like. That they have personally asked how you're doing is a great sign that you aren't an anonymous face in a large lecture hall. In many ways, having yet another person to talk to---even if it's just a brief session to unload your worries---is hugely beneficial. ...


69

Expressions of emotional concern are a tricky balance for supervisors to find sometimes, and can also have a strong cultural or religious component to it. For example, some faiths have suggested that mourning should be confined to a very particular interval and not extend past that. (I’m aware of this in certain Muslim and Jewish denominations, for instance)....


67

I think honesty is the best policy. We had a pupil at school who also had a really bad hygiene issue, his body odor was horrendous. As an example, once another pupil squirted yogurt at him and it got in his hair, it was still there days later! It turned out he had no sense of smell. A teacher noticed the problem and told him directly 'I think you have a ...


67

I would like to add my perspective as a supervisor having a PhD student suffering from a depression. She has been absent for about two years now and not yet returned. Neither me nor she herself have anticipated that it would take so long. The year might have been a surprise for your supervisor, too. I have been supportive over all this time and will keep ...


62

I feel obliged to provide an answer to this question, as I have literally gone through the same thing. In the beginning of my 4th year as an applied math major, I was diagnosed with leukemia. While I initially hoped that I could avoid changing my class schedule and deal with cancer "on the side," it soon became clear that this was not going to happen. I ...


60

Absolutely not. If you meet the full requirements set up by your University, it is perfectly ethical to use all of the resources made available to you. ADHD is a real medical condition and medical experts and policy makers have decided that special test accommodations are the fairest solution. Accommodations like this are based on medical decisions, not ...


55

Be forthright with the student about what they are facing. Explain the various contingencies. They may be unaware or ill-informed. You could ask them which path they would prefer you to take... True, they may not be the best judges of their own best interests, or may not be able to act, but you can ask. In particular, probably you indeed should not share ...


54

To get the elephant out of the room first: If you are contemplating suicide and wondering whether you will hurt the tenure case of your advisor by this, stop this thought right there and get counselling. The tenure case really is of no concern in this question. I am sure your advisor would also agree to this. Now, assuming that this is a hypothetical ...


49

I utterly disagree with Mad Jack. You do not need to resign and by resigning, you set yourself up for a future where you will think of resigning every time you have a task that you do not think you will be able to complete to the high standards you set for yourself. Try to disaggregate the two things -- the depression and the incompetence. If you are merely ...


47

I am not sure if it is relevant to your situation since you haven't mentioned a country (I am in the UK), however I have personally been asked a similar thing when the professor wanted to check that the medical note provided was indeed from my doctor and relevant to the allowances being made for me. The privacy I was giving up by letting him talk about my ...


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