Week 107: My experience of supervision

I missed an opportunity to contribute to a session on the supervisor-supervisee relationship for first-year PhD students. One of the organisers asked me to join a panel to talk about my experience of supervision, and I really wish I could have joined it, but I had to teach that day.


My case

I am privileged to have three supervisors who have all been fantastic academic mentors. Throughout my PhD programme, we have had face-to-face meetings once a month, and they have given me prompt feedback and a great deal of advice on my chapter drafts by email every month. I have found my supervisory team very hands on and supportive. I heard that some PhD students have a supervisory day only every few months, or they only rarely meet up with their advisors in person. We all, of course, maintain a professional distance in the relationship, and mentor-mentee relationships vary depending on their fields, backgrounds and cultures.

In my PhD life over the past three years, my supervisors are the people I have seen most frequently, apart from my partner. But we only discuss research and rarely talk about teaching, health, finance, family, or other personal stuff. Some supervisees know about their supervisors’ personal lives; some don’t. (I don’t.)


Handling pressure

A hardship I have experienced is that I sometimes impose intense pressure on myself in response to what all three supervisors expect of me. I truly appreciate their feedback and support, which motivates me to work further. I used to think that working this hard was completely normal, but I have realised that caring about my own physical and mental health is equally important and that I might need to stop being so tough on myself.

This week, I had formal meetings with all three of my supervisors. The meetings were very helpful, and it was a real privilege to have these discussions.


Teaching Japanese

I love the experience of teaching at different universities and feel the uniqueness of each class. It definitely helps me improve as a teacher and gain a better understanding of students’ learning styles.

Before going to teach my class, I took a ten-minute walk along the River Thames, which is right beside the university. London Eye stands just over the river, and the illuminated buildings by the river are simply beautiful.

I used to be a ‘tourist’ and now I am a ‘commuter’ to London. I have no experience of living in London. That makes me (still) see the positive and beautiful sides of the city and appreciate being there.



My achievements in Week 107

  • Had supervision meetings with all three of my supervisors and identified what I need to do next
  • Transcribed audio data of one case
  • Attended a two-day training course on mental health first aid

Goals for Week 108

  • Elaborate some sections in the methodology chapter
  • Make a full transcript of one case
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