Friday, May 09, 2008

Grad Student Planet.

Get it? Like Animal Planet.

I don't actually watch Animal Planet but I briefly watched the scene in "Dude, where's my car" the other night where Animal Planet knowledge of ostriches saves the day!

Inspired by that, a brief life cycle of the average top-tier grad student:


Characterized by optimistic arrogance and denial.

Stage 1: "That will never happen to me"

Stage 2: "It will all be okay. It will all work out. It has to."


Characterized by a thickened skin and a residual form of denial.

Stage 1: Ignores scientific advice.

Stage 2: Equates success with luck (on the assumption that everyone works equally hard and that luck is the deciding factor of who succeeds.)


Cracks are showing.

Stage 1: Defensive about their advisor, even when it is pointed out that the project did not work as originally proposed, and no papers are forthcoming in the promised journals. In other words, the carrot was a fake.

Stage 2: Takes some scientific advice. Agrees to submit papers to 'lower' journals than originally planned. Begins to realize it's not just about "being good", "working hard" or "luck."

Flying away.

Bitter like an unripe kumquat.

Stage 1. Accepting of defeat. Relieved that any papers are published anywhere. Applying for jobs in industry.

Stage 2. Resentful enough of advisor to stake claims, stand ground, and set deadlines.


The optimism returns. Surely the postdoc lab will be better???


(to be continued, might do a similar one for postdocs if this is interesting to anyone.)

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At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please post a postdoc one!


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