Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wha. . .Changing Projects and Advisors?!

Ok--I warned you all that if you let me play I was going to hit you up for advice.

I've got an RA for a project that is similar to what I did for my master's. I've been hitting some snags in cooperation from the quarries for access not to mention that the government has drastically changed the safety protocols for working on these field sites. My masters had funding from the state and they basically HAD to be compliant with allowing me access because they were't going to get any results if they didn't, that is now apparently not the case. I will not only have to get more cooperation from more people to even access sites than for my masters but I have to persuade them to babysit me and bring equipment for me to use along with people to run it for me. This project is quite industry-based and since I've had a mouthfull of industry enough to assuage my appetite for the next geologic time period I think I need to do something "more academic" (not to mention a heck of a lot more interesting). I've got an opportunity from a new prof to possibly work with them and I'm seriously considering it.

I can't remember if any of you ladies switched, but do you have any advice about how to break it to my old advisors? I doubt it will be too big of an issue because they are pretty frusterated with the restrictions we are under--but I would rather avoid the "Hi--I'm back, thanks for the funding. . .and Oh--bye--I'm going to go work on something else" animosity. Any experiences, suggestions, anecdotes. . .cookies?!

7 comments:

Sparkling Squirrel said...

Tuc Trek changed advisors and Erin dropped one of her co-advisors, so they might have specific suggestions. One thing I might consider is the "let them think it is their idea" plan. Talk to your current advisors about your frustrations and ask for suggestions-- possibly even running through a list of options "I could be stuck for years trying to get access. Or I could blah. Or I could try and find a completely different project. I'd hate to quit working with you but it might be easier to get everything done working with blah. . . or I could blah. What do you think?

Debbie said...

How bout directing him/her to the knitter blog!

Jul said...

Ha! Debbie--that might not be an entirely bad idea! :)

Beth said...

I like SS's ides since I'm sure that your advisor is frustrated too. Maybe you can change projects and keep the advisor (if you want) and add a co-advisor and change projects. I would be honest with them and see what they think. Good luck

Tucson Trekker said...

Well, any chance your current advisor will be kicked out of the building and imposed on your friends across campus where you never go? That was quite helpful for me, actually... Sorry friends!

Debbie said...

But we rummaged the lab after the final kicking out and got a bunch of pipettes & lab gloves!

Erin said...

I suggest being honest but sensitive. You could try to let them think it is their idea, but if they are boneheaded and don't get it then you haven't really changed anything. I think telling your current advisor that after having these experiences you realized that you have different interests is completely valid and is what grad school does for a lot of people. That is a totally acceptable reason to switch to a different advisor. If things aren't going well with your current advisor, he/she may be relieved that you have found something that will work better. I would also make sure that your new potential advisor is on board with you switching. You could also talk with your new potential advisor and see if she will help you talk with your previous advisor if you need some extra support. Since your previous advisor gave you funding, it would be nice for you to mutually agree on how to finish up with work you started so that he doesn't feel let down and you don't feel weird about it. I know it is stressful but you will be surprised how relieved you feel when it's all out in the open. Good luck!