“If you have no fear, no one has power over you” – John Maeda
If there’s anyone who can truly attest to this, it would be Neha, for she can truly claim that she has indeed overcome fear and made sure no one can hold power over her.
Neha, 27, is a Ph.D. candidate at the illustrious IIT Roorkee. Wise beyond her years and a cheerful individual, she experienced torture that led to a trauma that no Ph.D. scholar would ever want to go through, being stuck with an uncooperative Ph.D. guide.
“When I started working with her in July 2014, everything was good until June 2015. From June 2015, I could observe extreme flare-ups in her behavior”
Neha’s Ph.D. guide, for whatever reasons, would always demonstrate frustration which she would then take out on her Ph.D. Scholars.
“There were times when she would make me stand for hours in her office. I wouldn’t be allowed to have any meal. In short, I was a slave to her”
So terrified was Neha that her tongue would tremble in front of her supervisor.
“I was very scared of her. I tried not to face her in the department as I wasn’t able to look her in the eyes.”
3 years and things only got worse with time. Neha found herself making no progress in her Ph.D. work.
“She stopped my scholarship. I wasn’t allowed to visit my parents even at festivals like Holi and Diwali”
Neha was also running out of time. According to rules in IITs, a regular Ph.D. student has to complete their research work within a period of five years.
“Because of my supervisor, three years and seven months were entirely wasted. I was left with just one and half years to complete everything.”
Neha became depressed. She would hardly eat if at all. She experienced extreme weight loss and lost all interest in things that used to make her happy. Things got so bad that Neha started contemplating suicide. Family support also wasn’t sufficient in Neha’s case.
“My family had been supportive throughout my Ph.D. But they weren’t able to understand my work culture and the torture I was going through.”
Neha tried to switch supervisors but to no avail.
“No other faculty member was willing to consider me as their Ph.D. student as my supervisor was a senior faculty member.”
Finally, a faculty member from her department agreed to change his research area so that he may become her new supervisor and allow her to work in her own area of interest. But her current supervisor would have none of it.
“She pressured him not to consider me and even tried to get me expelled from the institute.”
This is when Neha first approached YourDOST.
She met with YourDOST Expert, Dr. Seema Sharmaand described her ordeal. This was the start of what can only be described as a complete makeover for Neha. Neha doesn’t go into too much detail about what her therapy process was like but over the next few months, things started changing for her in a very positive way.
“Dr. Seema heard me out and gave me so many tips about what to do and what not to do. Dr. Seema’s suggestions helped me a lot in my crucial time when I was struggling to regain my identity.”
Neha finally found and raised her voice against everything that she had had to bear. She wrote to the HRD ministry and the institute’s director, describing in detail all that she had gone through. Thanks to her, three other students got to change their Ph.D. supervisor without any struggle.
Neha herself started working under her new supervisor, the same one who had agreed to change his area of research to accommodate her. In fact, now she demonstrated just how capable she actually was.
“I completed my entire Ph.D. work from scratch in two years in an entirely new topic with good publications.”
She regained all her lost confidence. She credits Dr. Seema for a lot of her massive progress.
“Before I met Dr. Seema, I was very conscious. I felt I would be judged; I might not be understood and many similar thoughts. But when I met her, I realized that I had come to the right place and the right person. I knew I would be given every possible help from her side.”
But we can’t discount the tremendous courage Neha showed in the midst of her struggles and all credit goes to her for implementing Dr. Seema’s suggestions and achieving the success that she eventually did. Kudos to Neha for being such an inspirational individual.
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