Wrong Puzzle Piece: What to do if you and your advisor don’t mix?

Originally posted on PhD Balance social media platforms on 07/27/2020.


“If something on the inside is telling you that someone isn’t right for you, they’re NOT right for you, no matter how great they might look on paper. When it’s right for you, you will know. And when it’s not – it’s time to go.”

― Mandy Hale


Picture of a partially put together jigsaw puzzle missing pieces.
Photo credit: Wonderlane

You’re doing the research you dreamed of, your classes are going well, you have exciting experiments lined up… what else could you ask for? A mentor that understands and supports your learning style, career goals, and personality, among other qualities.


Unfortunately, not every student ends up with an ideal mentor that has the qualities that one expects. When this occurs, the student may seek out solutions, which may include switching mentors. Do not fret. This happens more than you would think and changing mentors is not the end of your graduate career.


Often when a student switches they conduct better research due to external stressors being limited (e.g. being in a better research/academic environment). Also, switching mentors doesn’t mean your time to defend is extended. Just as in the picture above, being in a healthy academic home is vital to completing the overall picture of having a successful graduate school journey. Therefore, use your gut instinct and make the right choice for you.

Sign up to our Stronger Together section here to take part in this week's module: Wrong Puzzle Piece: What to do if you and your advisor don’t mix?


Join our weekly module discussion on our Discord server this Thursday (07/30) at 12 pm ET! (Join here!)