Supervisory Meetings

In preparation for the supervisions, apart from making ready outlines, reports or drafts, I started half way through my PhD to have an ‘agenda’ of sorts for the meeting. I basically listed in bullet form the questions and issues I needed to discuss including administrative issues. The more you are prepared for the meetings the more you can derive out of them and from your supervisor. While supervisors are obliged to give you the time, your preparation for the meetings will give them the feeling that you value the time they are spending with you.

Having that listed in order of priority made the meetings much more fruitful and organized. It mostly became the case that I added things to the list as the time between meetings progressed.

After the meetings it is also good to pen down the course of action agreed upon; a summary or ‘minutes’ of the meeting if you like. I would also send a copy of this to my supervisor for his records. Because PhD work is in some ways very ad hoc and unstructured, this activity adds organization and structure to it.

Both these practices also significantly reduce the possibility of major misunderstandings arising.

I would also advise that you consider carefully the advice given. It is coming from someone with much more experience that you. Even if after much thought you disagree, you must demonstrate that you carefully considered their suggestions. This can only be done if you either on paper or verbally make a sound academic argument supporting your position. Never let your ego come in the way!

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