Edit 2/6/20. I just linked to this old post. Re-reading, I’d give more overt attention to issues of student marginality and abusive profs. But I’ll let this essay otherwise stand as it was written nearly 12 years ago.
As I suggested in response to the thread about picking an advisor, it is a mistake to view an advisor as a commodity for which you comparison shop, as you might select a new dress. Rather, it is a two-sided process of building a long-term relationship. Your own behavior and characteristics are just as important as the advisor’s, and it isn’t just a matter of finding the right person, it is a matter of acting in ways that make both of you feel good about your interactions. So it is important to consider what makes the experience good for the advisor, not just what makes it good for the student. In the long run, former advisees are friends and junior colleagues and part of your professional network. Having former students who do well in the profession make you look good. But there can be plenty of immediate rewards in the advising experience itself. This varies somewhat depending on personalities, of course, and others may have other opinions. But here are the things I think about when I reflect on advisees I have appreciated and advisees who have been less satisfactory. Continue reading “how to be a good advisee”