I should let graduate students in on a secret. The advisor is usually fully aware of the amount of time it takes for an assigned specific task — give or take a few hours.  Since the advisor came through the student ranks at one time, they should be good at this estimation. So when a student shows up for a meeting and makes a three-hour job sound like it takes three-weeks, it does not promote a trust relationship. Neither does it signal to the advisor that ownership transfer is underway. I am often amused when a student walks into my office for a meeting and proceeds to tell me that it took them an entire week to analyze a piece of data and make a graphic when I know full well that, at most, it would have taken a day or less. This quickly breaks trust between the student and the advisor. These situations put the advisor in a position where they have to enforce measures to monitor time rather than progress, which breaks down the mentoring process. This is indeed a lose-lose situation for both the student and the advisor.

“Poor work ethics could ruin your graduate experience. My question is this: Why put yourself through the graduate school experience if you are not willing to work hard?”

“If the student truly believes that this is his project, then innovation flourishes and productivity increases. The purpose for his graduate career and beyond is more meaningful. This is what I call taking ownership!”


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