Master Log 07: How to meet your supervisor

and how to get advice from any other person

In June I will have to hand in my Master thesis and final project. Here I keep a diary on my progress and show how certain techniques are applicable in non-academic life.

When you are writing a thesis you are usually assigned to a supervisor. She or he will accompany you through the work and give you hints on which direction to continue. Meeting them regularly can only be of benefit.

Take initiative

I am meeting mine soon. And I know what it all comes down to, to make this meeting successful for me: my own initiative. Some people find it scary to meet their teacher and they are stressed out, but the supervisor is there to help me. Even if I don’t like him or her, it can’t hurt to collect a second opinion. But to get this second opinion, I should actually be able to present something.

Present what you have

It is not about pleasing my supervisor. I don’t stress myself out and wrack my head about what to present. I collect the few material I already have, and show it. Since I am using a reference software, I am printing the quotes and references I have collected so far. Like that the supervisor can see what sources I have consolidated so far and the way I might go.

Ask for advice

I also have some questions that I noted down and will ask. They concern certain theories of which I have no clue, as well as the university’s procedure concerning the thesis. The point is to be honest and prepared. If you have done something, you know what you are going to talk about and you will gain from any kind of meeting. Pretending something you haven’t done yet won’t make a good impression.

Be yourself and listen

Generally, when I meet someone, I try to be myself, talk about what I know and what I have, and mostly listen. There is going to be an advice or something helpful in the words of the other person.

Use the meeting as motivation

Instead of considering them a stress factor, I turn those meetings into a motivation to get some work done. If you work on your project regularly, the stuff to present at the meeting will accumulate automatically. Last minute products are usually neither very genuine nor helpful for the rest of the thesis.

No need to please them

I am looking forward for some helpful comments and guidance. It is my thesis, not my supervisor’s, so there is no need to please her or him, but to show what I have so far, explain my problems and get advice from a professional.

Still stressed by meetings? What’s your biggest concern? Drop a comment!


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