I have to complete an internship in order to get my Master’s in speech pathology. The department head approved the one I chose when I submitted it to him, but now that I have started the internship and have sent him a few reports, he doesn’t like it any more. He says he isn’t going to make me find a new one, since he approved it, but now he is trying to micromanage my internship and is inconveniencing my boss. What should I do?

--A Rock and a Hard Place

Dear A Rock and a Hard Place,

The short answer is to handle it carefully. Situations like this can be sticky to say the least, and fortunately or not, they are not unheard of in graduate school. The first thing to keep in mind is that all of this is temporary. If you think back on your graduate career, I would imagine that there were many stressful semesters that you were able to survive. The hard truth is that surviving graduate school can sometimes be more a test of your ability to navigate tough situations rather than academic achievement.

That being said, you do have a couple of options. First, you could say nothing, keep your head down, and do your best to just survive the internship. The draw back here is that this could make for a few difficult months.

Another option would be to talk to your boss. Chances are that the person supervising your internship is no stranger to dealing with academics and may have some suggestions to help navigating this sticky situation. Furthermore, your boss may also be willing to be a bit more flexible than your department is. Approach this option with caution. You will have to make a judgment call about whether or not you would feel safe having this conversation with your boss. If you believe for any reason that your boss might respond defensively, or if having this conversation would create more problems for you, I would caution against having such a conversation.

Alternatively, you may consider speaking with your department head. Again, consider the relationship you have with your department head before you approach him or her. You likely know based on prior experiences working with them if you think they would be helpful in this situation—follow your gut on this one.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to take care of yourself. These situations are never easy to navigate and can result in a lot of distress. You might also consider spending a little extra time (if there is such a thing in graduate school) doing some of the things you enjoy, reaching out to your friends and other supports, and talking with other students who have survived an internship site at your current placement.

--René Paulson, PhD

  • Working on dissertation +

    What is the length of Chapter 1 (how many pages?) On a qualitative study, do I need to address validity and reliability? How about credibility and transferability (remember...qualitative). On terms, should I have a scholarly citation for EVERY term? – Working on dissertation Dear Working on dissertation, The length of chapter 1 depends on your specific university requirements for the contents of chapter 1, and can also depend on your dissertation Read More
  • Online Data Tools +

    I am looking for a secure data collection tool online to engage in email interviews. Thanks. – Online Data Tools Dear Online Data Tools, Picking the correct data collection tool is often dependent on the design and needs of your survey. While the commonly used data tools like SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, PsychData, and Qualtrics all support basic question formats (single select, free response, matrixes, etc.), they differ in their download capabilities, easiness Read More
  • In Need of Financial Support +

    I was wondering if anyone can help me – well, direct me. I have had a lot of health-related and disability-related problems that got ignored during my last few years of my PhD. Now I have managed to get an extension for 6 months full-time to finish writing. I had asked part-time due to my disabilities – also to work, as my stipend stopped. However, am getting no guidance from either the Read More
  • Phd Victim +

    Hello, I am in my second year of PhD but technically have been working on my project for just one year. Before moving abroad for my PhD, I was supposed to join a particular lab, but after moving I realized that the project I was told I would join had been discontinued. Left with not many options to choose from, I decided to join another lab. My professor seemed very Read More
  • Capstone or Thesis? +

    I am in a terminal Master’s program in counselor’s education with the goal of being a school guidance counselor. My career goal has always been to work with high schoolers, especially those at-risk. For now, a Master’s is all I can manage due to time, money, and my sanity, but I would eventually like to go back and get a PhD in School Psychology. My program requires a capstone project, Read More
  • Committee A-Go-Go +

    I have a committee member that I have had numerous problems with over the course of my dissertation. He has been very difficult to work with and doesn’t return emails, his feedback is short and unclear (and late), and he won’t make time to meet with me to clarify what he is wanting. I have talked to my chair and he has had the same experience with this person across Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Submit a Question

By submitting this form, you accept our privacy policy.