Monday, July 22, 2013

You, sir, are a boob.

It's summer time and there's only one seminar series going on right now. Luckily, I heard about it from someone else, and showed up to a few. I make it a priority to go to the seminars, because I am interested in nearly everything.

In this seminar series, some pretty impressive people have given talks. There are no signs posted even though speaker #1 told the organizer that this really ought to happen. No e-mails go around reminding others of the talks, or at least none that I or the grad students in my lab receive. Therefore a pathetic 5-6 people show up to these seminars. So my first impression of the organizer is that he is a bit of a dodo.

At the first seminar, I asked good enough questions in the seminars, that one (in-house) speaker asked to talk to me after, saying. "Who are you, I mean, what is your background?" When I talked to her she got excited and said, "Ooh, you have to meet the next speaker. Maybe you can go to lunch with her!!!" The organizer was right there and paying attention. Well, I showed up, interacted during the talk, and and hung around after to meet and perhaps be invited to lunch. Dr. Dodo turned his back to me and escorted the speaker away to lunch, actively avoiding inviting me even when the speaker herself leans back to say, "e-mail me, we'll go to lunch" (we did by the way). Well then there was the last straw. On my way to the talk the grad students in my lab said, "there's a talk today?". Once again, an impressive speaker, great talk, no notifications, tiny audience.

I stopped Dr. Dodo after the talk and asked, "Are these talks open to anyone?" He said "Yes, why?" I said "Neither the grad students in my lab nor I are getting notification of the speakers". He looks at me like I am an annoying gnat, almost rolling his eyes, and said, "Ohhhh, kayyy. There isn't one next week but the last one is in two weeks" in a tone that displays that 1. Its not his problem and 2. I shouldn't have to ask.

Now I've changed my mind. He's not a dodo, which implies simple incompetence, but rather a boob, which implies intentional arrogance combined with some incompetence.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ph.D. training programs- trying to resist comparisons.

In my sabbatical lab, I am working mainly with graduate students. In trying to relate to them, I have been doing a lot of mental comparisons from my program to theirs. Occasionally I will comment on the differences, but it IS taking a lot of effort to keep my "mouth filter" on the high setting. First off, no one wants to hear how much better it was for you in the good 'ol days. Second, I've been here a few weeks. I really don't know all the details and would be speaking from a position of ignorance. Third, the programs aren't really comparable.

My grad program was large, old, had an institutional training grant, and was associated with a medical school. All students were 100% supported for their entire time of study. The program had many extra-curriculars for the students, and there was good cohesiveness among the student cohorts. We all suffered together. It was rare that the students lingered too long. In fact, at 6.2 years, they were a little worried about me...

My preliminary impression is that these students seems to be staying much longer than might be necessary, and they don't seem to have the journal clubs, "Kandel" clubs, picnics, career and ethics seminar series, etc. that we did. I heard that some of their students have had to take out loans when their advisor didn't get a grant or renewal. I know of at least one that pays for professional meetings out of his own pocket (even when presenting data).

On the other hand, the students in my lab are getting good results, getting papers published, seem to get along well, and  play volleyball together in the evenings.

How about YOU? How did your Ph.D. training program compare to others you know about?


Monday, July 8, 2013

Not revealing the blog to the bloggers.

One of the people in my new lab has a blog that is semi-open. That means that she is open with her friends and colleagues about it, but doesn't state her name on the blog itself. Its a good blog that I enjoyed reading. Primarily educational.

I thought of doing the same, but I hesitate. Why the hesitation? I don't really vent too much on it any more. This is primarily because I'm less angry or uptight about things at work and home. Besides the things I want to vent about now are things like the effects of my job and single parenting on my health and marriage. Health and marriage issues are mostly too personal to put out there, though they deserve to be addressed appropriately. Besides venting doesn't make me feel better anymore.

There are still venty-things posted from long ago (4 years  450+ posts, folks!). I could take them down, but I really don't believe that a blog meant to educate interested parties about PUIs and Two- Body Lifestyles should seem primarily sunshine and roses, either, because it is not. Perhaps this is the reason I am still secretive about it.