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10th November
2008
written by Steph
On the season premier of "30 Rock", Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy have the following exchange:
Jack: “We may not be the best people.” Liz: “But we’re not the worst.” Both, in unison: “Graduate students are the worst.”
Seriously? Is this true? I think graduate students HAVE it the worst, but surely we are not actually the worst. People should feel bad for us! Really! This is more like it (sorry for the sketchy quality at the beginning of the clip): To be fair, I can't say I was entirely blind coming into this graduate school thing, since I read PhD Comics fairly fastidiously (as a good grad-student-in-training should... I went into grad school procrastinating like a pro!), and the thing is, PhD Comics don't lie. What they depict really is what graduate school is like. I just didn't know any better at the time, and look forward to living the lifestyle they depicted, not realizing then just how much grad school would demand of me, how all-consuming it would be. Those comics are only funny if you aren't a graduate student... because once you are? You get bitter and it's hard to laugh at all of the ridiculously frustrating things that go on daily, apparently in higher learning institutions across the globe. Take for instance, the following exchange that happened in my lab's weekly meeting today:
PostDoc1: "... but I'm not really sure what commands to type to get the files transferred onto the server..." Advisor: "Really? You've never done it before?" PostDoc1: "No, I have, but I just can't remember what the command was that I typed in." Me: "Well, I've done it before and know the command." Advisor: "Doesn't anyone in the lab other than the RA know how to transfer the files?" PostDoc2: "Uh, yeah, I mean, I've done it several times before, but every time I've done it, I've had to ask the RA." PostDoc3: <blank stare + shrugging> Me: "I've done it before!" Advisor: "No one?!?" Me: "No! I've done it. And I even have the commands written down!" Advisor: "OK, let's just move on, because the more I hear... it doesn't make me feel more comforted."
People, I was sitting right next to him! And yet, it was like I was in a cone of silence. It was the verbal equivalent of the emails he sends me in response to mine in which he "suggests" things to me that I actually brought up in my initial email, which he clearly did not read. Tony makes the good point that outside of academia, most Primary Investigators would be fired for gross incompetence. So really, it's not graduate students who are the worst, it's tenured faculty... who were at one point graduate students, but still! Having a doctorate conferred upon you appears to do terrible things to you as a human being. If all goes according to plan, it'll happen to me in T minus 18 months. Yay?

No Comments

  1. Simona
    11/21/2008

    Just reading this reminds me of my own grad experiences and gets my blood boiling. Ugh.

    So what’s goin’ on with the updating, guys? There’s two of you now… excuses are harder to come by!

  2. stephandtony
    11/22/2008

    Sorry for the lag! I’ve been out of town for a week for two conferences, and Tony flew out to see me talk at the second one, so you know, we were busy living our non-internet lives for a bit (in the hopes we’d have something interesting to post about here, clearly!). Also, school (and the advisor) is crazy right now!

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