By Claire Aitchison
It’s scary being a PhD supervisor.
Whatever the reason, there would be few supervisors who have not experienced anxiety and self-doubt at some point.
This post is about some of the ‘night terrors’ that can afflict doctoral supervisors. What scares you the most? Please feel welcome to add to this list—and share remedies!
Am I asking too much of this student?
During doctoral candidature there are inevitable ups and downs. Emotional turbulence for both student and supervisor can have their origins in the challenges of the research itself; the stresses around writing and giving and receiving feedback; or perhaps have nothing to do with the research and instead arise from financial, family or work concerns. Life gets in the way, damn it! It isn’t easy to know when to ease off and make allowances, or when to maintain the right level of pressure so that the PhD stays on the boil. How does one balance the personal vulnerabilities and demands on individual students against the institution’s completion-focussed priorities? Furthermore, sometimes the needs of supervisors come into the equation — we too have lives, challenges, workloads and vulnerabilities! Continue reading