February 22nd, 2009

Warning: Sick!

Snot. Again.

I am full of cold. It's really crap. On Tuesday I was going home from college and as I got up to get off the Tube at Waterloo, a woman COUGHED RIGHT INTO MY FACE, so that I had no choice but to breathe it in. Eurgh. I sat on the train home blowing my nose a lot in an attempt to dislodge whatever germs I had inhaled, washed my face and hands as soon as I got in, and washed my nose out with lots of saline, but to no avail. Snot disease has been a-go-go since Friday morning, and I would rather like some new lungs that are not completely filled with goo, thankyouverymuch.

A note for those of you who travel by public transport: if you are disease-ridden and getting off the train, and feel a cough or sneeze coming on, and your hands are full, then please aim for your own clothes rather than someone else's airspace. If you then have to spend the rest of the day with snot on your sleeve, that is your own problem :P I really do wonder why we don't adopt the concept of wearing masks to cover diseases with if you're in shared airspace - it's much more social than letting everyone else on the train catch your cold. Bah.

Yesterday I felt so horrible that I actually ran out of brain to do anything except sit passively in front of the television (!!). I wanted to watch the DVD of Spinal Tap that I'd bought for £5 on Wednesday, but it turns out to be broken halfway through. There's some issue with the two layers of the disc so that only half the film is watchable, and I'll have to take it back and ask for a new one. So I ended up watching Pokemon cartoons, and then some Powerpuff Girls, and finally putting on Galaxy Quest, which turned out to be almost exactly what I'd wanted to watch in the first place (make of this what you will). Although I was a bit alarmed to discover when watching the documentary "On Location In Space" that Alan Rickman's famous "Alan Rickman voice" is in fact his normal voice, and he doesn't have a non-sneering non-sarcastic voice for ordinary talking. I'd always assumed that he did. Scary.

Uncomfortable realisation.

Hmm. Lately I have been thinking about "the ideal" supervisor-student relationship, for various reasons. Essentially, I want to go on with research next year, so I need to find someone to be my supervisor. And because I have to pay my own fees, I am in the fortunate position of being able to go to a particular academic who does research I'm interested in and say "Do you want to have me as a student?", rather than having to find someone with a studentship in an approximately related discipline and being stuck with whatever project that studentship has been set up to fund, as well as whatever personality happens to have the funding. (In retrospect, I realise that sentence alone should tell you why so many PhD students end up failing or dropping out before completion :/ ).

The relationship I had with my last research supervisor was So Utterly Broken that I don't actually know what a healthy supervisor-student relationship is supposed to look like. Are you supposed to be scared of your supervisor, or supposed to go out to the pub with them? Are you supposed to avoid their office like the plague, or invite them & their partner/s round for dinner with you and your partner/s? Are you supposed to be friends?

I posted the following as a comment in a custom-locked post, but I think it could do with being a post in its own right. Text in italics by aquaeri.

My vision of the ideal supervisor/mentor/personal tutor is of someone who doesn't teach so much as help the student/mentoree find the best ways for them to learn, and improve as a human being overall. It's of necessity a very personal and intimate kind of relationship, and both what the student can gain and how the supervisor can provide it depend entirely on the specific individuals, thus you may learn very different things from different supervisors, and have to do very different things (and yourself gain very different kinds of insight) supervising different students.

This is making me sad. I agree with what you say about the ideal relationship, but it's further emphasising how utterly, utterly, utterly broken my relationship with my ex-supervisor was. It wasn't just broken, it was fucked up beyond all recognition. And part of the problem was me, and part of the problem was my depression - but a lot of the problem was HIM. He wasn't an easy person to get along with. None of his students found him easy, although most of the others found him easier. (They, at least, were interested in watching football and could talk to him about that.) Collapse )