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hey guys...... i'm back with another situation i need advice on. :mellow::unsure::unsure::unsure::unsure::unsure: i feel like crawling into a hole right now

so, yesterday (SUNDAY), i met with my research adviser who just wrote me several recommendations for grad. school. plus, we were both doing research in the department office, so i stopped by with some tea and croissant sandwiches i picked up on my way. i knew we were both working early, and i also knew he often complains about not having had enough time to run to the cafe to get food before. So while i was buying mine, i thought it would be considerate to get him some, too. an older colleague of mine worked with a different adviser, and occasionally bought food for her adviser, too, when it coincided with meal times, especially since they are going out of their way to meet with us in their free time. in addition to that, in order to thank him, i wrote a thoughtful thank you letter and a small gift that my parents INSISTED i buy - it was a gift card to the local cafe and a mug set (same place). where my dad works, he often receives gifts and when he/his friends teach at a college, gifts aren't seen as bad, but a nice gesture of appreciation. but my dad is an immigrant, keep in mind, and i was born and raised in the U.S.

anyway, i'm pretty sure this specific thesis adviser is ISTJ, but regardless, i'm still in dire need of your advice. my parents insisted i buy gifts for ALL the people who recommended me. i wanted to give a small gift, but they insisted i buy gift cards and a gift. this was on their bill, anyway. i remember in high school, everyone but me gave gifts to the teachers, so i thought that this time around, i would listen to what my parents told me instead of regretting it. my parents both went through grad. school in different countries so i felt i could trust them on this. plus, they said that even though rec. letters are part of their job, "who doesn't appreciate a gift as an appreciate of thanks?!"

when i dropped by and gave him the gift/tea/sandwiches, he said "well, we'll pretend this isn't a bribe." he didn't look happy about what i bought and put it aside the entire time talking to me. so now i feel awful. i just wanted to express my gratitude, because i know it takes a lot of time and effort to advise students outside of their own work. but i dont want him to think of me badly. i couldn't tell if he was being polite and politely passively telling me not to bring him any more things. or if he genuinely appreciated the concern/thanks? he didn't say thanks or anything, but he didn't treat me any differently (badly). i didn't get any response from him except putting everything i bought completely aside. did i do a major faux-pas? next time i see him, should i explain how my parents did their grad. degree in a different country where it was customary to buy tea/drinks and thank-you gifts? and in all honesty, i don't want this to positively or negatively influence the grade for the research i am doing for him in class. (btw, i am doing a post-bac degree right now - so im done with college, and doing a program that offers classes outside of my BA, before going into grad. school). if i were a professor, and a student bought me a gift out of appreciation, i personally wouldn't be bothered by it and i would keep the grading/research separate with my personal relationship with the student, but asdja;sdjakj ah, sorry, im just ranting now. :sad: i need some help with damage control. i think my professor doesnt like me now/hates me. before i end the post though, i acknowledge that i am low on sleep and when i am sleep deprived, i tend to be pessimistic. i dont know what he thinks of me? what do you guys think he thinks of me, based on what happened? and should i explain to him all this? and what are your personal opinions on giving gifts to professors?
 

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Could you give us the gift of using capitals?

I suspect this is cultural. I've never been given gifts for my academic recommendations, and would look at it as bribery. Where is your prof from?

did i do a major faux-pas?
Difficult to say. then again, professors are used to a lot, and they mostly care about your work. I wouldn't worry.
 

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If i was in his posisition I wouldn't see it as a bribe, I would probably be uncomfortable with it but I wouldn't think that you were trying to bribe me, unless of course the gift was really expensive.

Also on a side note are they allowed to except gifts? ( I ask this because I know some places, not education related though, do not accept gifts from clients.)
 

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The guy's a jerk. If the gift is inappropriate, politely decline. Otherwise accept with thanks. The "bribe" comment is rude and obnoxious. The letters were already written and therefore could not have been induced by the gift.

I'm not an academic, but I don't see anything wrong with a small gift to thank someone for doing you a favor.
 

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As a former college professor, I can relate that I would be uncomfortable, or at least wary, of receiving a gift from a student, particularly from a female student. While I would have no doubt of your intentions, even the whiff of encroaching on the teacher-student professional relationship could be cause for concern - if, for no other reason, than to avoid any appearance of impropiety on my part. In this day and age, one has to be very careful...

That said, I agree with others that the professor did not handle the issue deftly at all. And a simple thank you card showing appreciation for writing a letter of recommendation would always be well-received.
 
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