Post-meeting with supervisors – dealing with comments and feedbacks

On paper, PhD candidates are required to meet with their supervisors every fortnight. In my case, I meet them almost once in a blue moon… (which like about once every four months?)

I don’t really mind the lack of contact with my supervisors. It’s great because it gives me space to work on my thesis, and to take time off from writing to take care of my teaching. It gives me less stress and leaves me a great amount of flexibility on how I want to spend my time and how much I want to work on my thesis.

The downside, however, is that prior to our once-in-a-blue-moon meeting, I have to submit a draft of my thesis chapter (whichever chapter comes in most complete) for them to review. It’s a fair condition, but the problem here seems to be getting out that perfect chapter and to live up to their expectations that this chapter is probably a work that was in the “writing oven” for four months…

The fact is, it could be just written in 2 weeks… or worse, 5 days?

Perhaps it is just myself trying to get out a perfect draft (wait, can a draft be ever perfect?) for my supervisors and expecting minimal comments on it. And it seems to me that I am trying a little too hard to live up to my supervisors’ expectations here.

Last Thursday was our first supervisory meeting after I left the office for 3 whole months for data collection. As per ritual, I submitted a chapter draft (in fact, it was an introduction chapter) a week before our meeting.

Without going into the discussion of our meeting (which is mostly about them talking about how not interesting the chapter/thesis is), let’s talk about how I dealt with the feedback I gotten back from my supervisors.

Here’s my first impression on these feedback.

Principal supervisor (SV1): written comments all over the hard-copy, margins are filled with comments, grammar mistakes were highlighted

Co-supervisor (SV2): written comments were sent through track changes on soft copy, attached in email

Here’s how I dealt with them.

SV1: thank sv for feedback, read comments on page 1, tuck the whole thing on a pile of “to-read” articles

SV2: have yet to find the guts to open the email attachment

It’s been almost a week (tomorrow’s Thursday) and I have yet to actually deal with the comments and feedback. I call this a denial mode.

Though, I think this is still better than running away (I call it flight mode) or confronting them directly (fight mode)… or burn/shred the whole thing and forget that such thing ever exist (amnesia mode).

I know there are positive ways of dealing with comments, but I will probably get there once I pass through my denial mode. That might take a few bars of chocolate, a long ride out to the beach, and a couple of supervisors-contactless weeks.

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