discouraged grad student - how to overcome?

Page Briscoe bch0047 at uabdpo.dpo.uab.edu
Fri Sep 22 04:52:27 EST 1995


wijsman at max1.u.washington.edu wrote:
>I need some advice on an issue which I am sure has come up for other people
>who read this newsgroup.  What do you do when you have a bright female
>graduate student working for you and that student gets sufficiently
>discouraged about her own abilities to consider quitting grad school even
>when from the faculty perspective there is plenty of evidence that the
>student is really very talented?...
> Despite my attempts to reassure her to the contrary, she is
>still not convinced that she can do a Ph.D. in biostatistics. Any advice? 
>Past similar stories with happy/sad endings?
>
If I had a nickel for every time I seriously considered quittin grad 
school....!

For me, I was discouraged most of the time during graduate school (I just 
graduated last summer).  I know that many of those times were related to 
many variables besides confidence in my abilities:  impending divorce, 
general unhappiness in social life, wondering if it was worth it to wait 
another 4-6 years before I could make a salaray good enough to supply 
food, and worth the wait before having a family.  I think there may be 
other things in her personal life that are contributing to her 
discouragement.
Also, have you reassured her with specifics about what you think makes 
her a bright scientist?  You've told us:  she asks the right questions, 
etc.  I have found that many times when I need reassurance, it helps if 
someone gives me the specifics of why they have faith in me, so I can 
repeat those things to myself to help my self-esteem.
If this is what she wants to do, I wish her success!

Page Briscoe
University of Alabama at Birmingham




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