My supervisor isn’t one of those people who heaps praise. He’s also not one of those people who voices his disapproval. In fact, for the second, if he does say something negative, you need to sit up and pay attention because it’s obviously getting bad.
However, I had a meeting with him this week where he tossed out what was probably an innocent comment, but it made my day.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know back in January that I committed to reading a paper a day. I actually managed this for a few weeks, until it got to the point that a) the papers I had left were really long to read and b) I was getting really busy with implementing my experiment and couldn’t afford to put aside as much time. However, as I was reading the papers, I made myself a series of notes on each one. Some of the notes are very short – like “not useful” (kept so I don’t end up finding and reading the same paper again). Others are longer, including some figures from papers. And all of this was useful.
When I was working on my paper last week, and I got to the related work section, I was able to pull up all my notes and search through them for key words connected to my paper. It ended up taking a fraction of the time to write my related work section (compared to normal) and it’s much more thorough than I normally manage.
So what did my supervisor say? He just commented that he was very impressed with the related work section and all those sources will be good for my dissertation. Rewarding to hear for two reasons (besides the fact that praise is rare). First, that he liked the second. And second, that he’s still thinking about the actual writing of the dissertation (which means thinking about me actually being able to finish).
Like I said, it was probably an innocent comment that he meant nothing by. But, in grad school, sometimes those are what get you through the next day.