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Question
Posted by: Z | 2010-05-05

Motivation

Hi CS,

Hopefully I can explain this as concisely as possible.

My older brother, late twenties, is busy writing up his dissertation at home and has been doing so for some time. However, his progress has slown to a standstill (I know this from seeing his open documents on the computer, and he is falling behind deadlines for corrections). He denies this when asked though, and insists that he will be finished " soon" . At this rate he is going, he simply won''t finish writing up in time, which will leave him with an inferior degree. My oldest brother finished up his PhD a few years ago, but my middle bro refuses to ask for his help in editing - which oldest is brilliant at.
He does have a difficult relationship with his supervisor, feeling negative towards him. Also, at times he has let slip that he doesn''t actually know what is being asked of him in the corrections to work he has written.
I feel that a lot of it is just absolute stubbornness, and he does not want to admit that he needs some help, but I have no idea how to help in the situation. He seems to have little interest in his work anymore, and simply sits, doing other things, at the pc during office hours to keep my parents happy. I feel awkward in bringing up the topic directly, as any mention of the word " thesis"  brings about an immediate reaction of anger. Also, being younger by quite a few years makes this difficult.

What can I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its difficult, espeially as he has available help at han. Sounds as though he may have issues about the success of his older brother, maybe feeling unable to match him - rather than recognizing the value of being himself, rather than a replica of anyone else. Can you talk calmly with him about perhaps problems you have faced in the pas abou feeling reluctant to accept help when you needed it, but finding that enhanced your own work, and let you show your own achievements - how you realized everyone needs help at times, but it's the cleverest of us who recognize that and take it whn we need it.
Sounds like his supervisor is no only not in tune with him, but also might not be doing his job very well.
After working on such studies for a time, one can get so over-full of it that one grows weary of it. There's no way to be helpful that doesn't involve talking with him about i, though. He's avoiding his work, and you're avoiding talking about it.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Z | 2010-05-06

He''s already done 4 years worth of research (exluding 3 years of undergrad plus a hear of honours), and now just needs to finish writing up and submit - that''s the issue. His project was a success, all he needs to do is finish putting the findings on paper.

If he didn''t want to study, that would be fine, but he''s already invested so much in this, and is capable of finishing his thesis - though he might need to seek out help (as does everyone).

Reply to Z
Posted by: Bongi | 2010-05-06

Does he really WANT to do this thesis or are you guys just pressurising him to be " educated"  because you all are? Does he have a good job (can take care of himself) without the further studies? Then maybe you should let him be. Maybe he is scared to disappoint the family by not having a PhD like everybody else.

Reply to Bongi
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-05-06

Its difficult, espeially as he has available help at han. Sounds as though he may have issues about the success of his older brother, maybe feeling unable to match him - rather than recognizing the value of being himself, rather than a replica of anyone else. Can you talk calmly with him about perhaps problems you have faced in the pas abou feeling reluctant to accept help when you needed it, but finding that enhanced your own work, and let you show your own achievements - how you realized everyone needs help at times, but it's the cleverest of us who recognize that and take it whn we need it.
Sounds like his supervisor is no only not in tune with him, but also might not be doing his job very well.
After working on such studies for a time, one can get so over-full of it that one grows weary of it. There's no way to be helpful that doesn't involve talking with him about i, though. He's avoiding his work, and you're avoiding talking about it.

Reply to cybershrink

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