Seldom have I met a student completely happy with her advisor, who doesn’t feel that her advisor has been unfair at some point of time. Every one of us have been there when we felt that our advisor was unnecessarily demanding, pushing and pressurizing, setting deadlines too ambitious to meet, ignorant of the fact that school life was about some work and some play, never mind the proportion of each. Be assured that I have felt the same way too. I have had an advisor who sets last moment deadlines, is capable of completely changing the focus of a project, and is not very famous for her communication skills with me. In short, she has never been “fair” and “lovely” to me. But this is not a rant post about the “100 different reasons why your advisor sucks”. There have been times when I have reached that stage where I wanted to be done with school and never see my advisor again, never mind the sagacity of this statement. I have told myself – “Three more months and I will be done. Two. One.”
I have been in one of those moods of late. Blogging has suffered, and I have not felt motivated enough to write. You don’t want to spend days writing and framing ideas and making posters and presentations and then writing again, and then your advisor disapproving stuff and you editing and writing again. You get the picture, right? Depressed. Irritated. Highly unmotivated.
It is at this time that I noticed my advisor giving me rides back home. Earlier it used to be when we were meeting deadlines and had stayed back in the lab late enough to decide between walking home or not going home at all. My advisor has happily dropped me home at 12 in the morning, asking me to be on time the next day in the lab. However I was clueless about why she would volunteer dropping me home at 6 in the evening these days. It happened the first day. The second day. And it kept happening. I often wanted to tell her that I was fine taking the bus home, that I looked forward to meeting that good looking man with spikes in the bus on his way back from office, but she was relentless to the extent that I started to doubt if she was going to change the focus of the project again and was doing the kind deed out of guilt.
Curious about her sudden philanthropic gesture, I finally asked her indirectly if the detour and the traffic snarl back home doesn’t inconvenience her. To which she surprised me, like she always does. She was quick to answer that writing a thesis is a very difficult time, frustrating and energy consuming, and she wanted me to feel supported during this process. She mentioned that it’s a stressful phase to go through, and she was doing her bit in making me feel connected and supported. Even if that meant taking a 30 minute detour and dropping me home so that I didn’t have to wait for the bus at the end of the day.
Needless to say, I was flabbergasted, unable to understand why I did not see the sensitive side of her before. I know she is still going to kick my ass and set unnecessary deadlines and put my peace of mind in jeopardy. But I am glad that she realizes the stress she puts me through, and is willing to meet me halfway – to the parking lot from where she can take her car and drop me home.