Monday, May 24, 2010

Ongoing frustrations

I’ve been feeling really frustrated for lots of reasons lately.

Both the department my lab is in and my graduate program naturally divide into sort of us and them based on our science. There are teeny bits of overlap, particularly in my program, but of late, the number of us has been dwindling for various reasons. This has made selecting committees for students in my lab increasingly difficult. I selected my committee (lo, these many years ago) shortly after my department/program lost >3 faculty members that I respected and who’s interests and approaches were complimentary with my project(s).

Nevertheless, I have a committee that I think suits me pretty well. However, thus far, my committee meetings have been useless. I was initially going to say they’ve been less than helpful, but that doesn’t really cover it. I was supposed to have a committee meeting in the fall. Somehow I managed to put it off, seemingly indefinitely. But right now I’m frustrated and want to talk science with somebody. Somebody besides my lab and Crazy Man. I’m running at least 4 different projects right now, three of which are stalled out at about 75% completion. There are multiple technical issues plaguing me right now, and Crazy Man has been less than helpful. He’s not giving me any feedback, nobody in the lab gives me any feedback during lab meeting or just chatting in the lab and I’m really at my wits’ end!

I think the most frustrating thing is that the technical issues I’m having are not troubleshoot-able problems. They’re voodoo issues. And I’m not dealing well with that anymore. I’m even more frustrated because I feel like I’m not getting any mentoring. I’ve been considering finally having my committee meeting because it might be helpful to get a little perspective. On the other hand, the pessimistic side of me thinks that will only serve to stress me out more without helping at all. What to do, what to do?

1 comment:

Observant Academic said...

Do you need a "real" committee meeting or could you potentially discuss problems one-on-one with other faculty members, potentially those on your committee? My department has an open door policy, so I wouldn't feel too weird walking into their offices asking for help ("because of their expertise in this area" if you want to keep your relationship with your adviser manageable).