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Inviting Thesis Advisor?

Mailing out my invitations this week and I'm still up in the air about inviting my Ph.D. advisor  Over the last five years she has made my life hell in ways that are above and beyond the usual Ph.D. experience.  I have lost almost 25lbs from the stress of working with her and have had to seek psych help and medication.  Additionally, she is socially inept, can't keep her mouth closed, and openly mocks my religious views, which is a problem since I am having a church wedding.  Obviously I do not under any circumstances want her at what should be the happiest day of my life.  However, she is the type who will be really really upset if she isn't invited, to the point that she might be vindictive about it.  I can't sneak the whole thing past her if I want to have time off work for the wedding and honeymoon.  Anyone have any advice?

Re: Inviting Thesis Advisor?

  • I haven't even thought to invite my major professor. She has been an amazing asset to my educational experience thus far, but she's not a close friend/family member.
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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I wouldn't invite her. I agree with @elBecko - if you aren't inviting other faculty it shouldn't be a problem.

    If you have such a horrible relationship with this woman why haven't you asked to switch advisers?


  • Hi bethsmiles

    1- I am inviting other faculty because my fiance is a student in the same department and he likes his advisor, and his advisor's wife is faculty in our dept as well.  This means it is actually a problem to not invite my advisor

    2- I begged the dept head to let me switch advisors multiple times.  He always says no
  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Hi bethsmiles

    1- I am inviting other faculty because my fiance is a student in the same department and he likes his advisor, and his advisor's wife is faculty in our dept as well.  This means it is actually a problem to not invite my advisor

    2- I begged the dept head to let me switch advisors multiple times.  He always says no
    That's bizarre. In my program we pick our own thesis adviser based on our research.

    It seems like your only two options then are to not invite her and risk her being upset about it or invite her. If you invite her its unlikely you will notice her presence much. There will be so much going on that day that it's doubtful you would have to spend more than a moment with her to thank her for coming at the reception.

    And there's always the possibility she won't come if invited.


  • I did pick her based on research interests- leaving her is complicated though because she is coming up for tenure and the dept head doesn't want me to squash her chances
  • Invite her if you have room in the budget.  Put her at the table in the back, by the speakers.  No one will have to listen to her, and you won't care, you'll be too busy having a wonderful day!  If she approaches, smile, wave, start to talk, have MOH run interference, and then start a conversation with someone you like.  Problem solved.
  • If you think that your adviser will have a strong influence in your career after you get your PhD (e.g. important connections), then invite her. If you are confident that you can will not need any connection to her, don't!
  • I thought about this as well, for the reasons Psychoangel2u said, they aren't my friends or family members. I've also decided to only the people in my programme that I interact with socially outside of the department.
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  • MA student here and I had an incredibly close relationship with my undergrad thesis advisor but am not close with my masters thesis advisor at all. Since they're in different departments, it's a little easier for me to invite one and not the other but since the wedding is actually taking place at the school (NYU has a beautiful venue for alumni events and it's the only place I can afford in NYC other than city hall) it would be a little weird for me not to invite her given that it's literally 10 steps away from her office. I figure since my advisor knows how broke I am, I can always play the "we didn't have it in the budget" card and just fudge the truth a little about my undergrad advisor offering to help offset costs by offering a special service to us so we felt obligated to invite him or whatever. 
    I totally get the politics of the situation and this is why I feel 100% comfortable with little white lies here to make everyone feel better. But I also love the suggestion of just inviting her, putting her at the back table, and having MOH run interference if she tries to bother you (I may do this myself if my budget allows for her inclusion). It all just depends on what feels most comfortable to you.
  • I'm inviting my thesis supervisor, despite the fact that I know she will be away at a conference that weekend. I just want to let her know that she is important to me and that she would have been welcome to participate in the celebration, if she was available.

    Honestly, disappointed that I will not be able to attend the conference, too! It also means that a lot my friends will also be away, but at the end of the day, FI and I will still be married, that is what really matters.
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