Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Advising First-Year Students

I'm trying to remember how scared I was as a first-year graduate student. How I suffered from information overload and yet how I wanted to know everything. I also remember how stupid I was to worry only about courses my first two years, how long it took me to finally begin research, and how far back it set me to change advisors my eighth semester. I wish that someone as mean and pragmatic as me would have helped me back then.

Act I

Nameless student 1. "Professor Z e-mailed me about a research assistantship, but I'm not sure..."
FCSGS. "Professor Z is one of the strongest professors in that area. I hear she's a good advisor to her students, and if she's willing to fund you, that's really great news. I suggest you take it."
Nameless student 1. "Yes. But I heard she pushes her students really hard."
FCSGS. "Dude. You are at a top-ten university. Everybody is going to push you really hard."

Act II

FCSGS. "Who are you interested in being your advisor?"
Nameless student 2. "I dunno, his name escapes me...but I'm interested in Formal Methods, Security, and Systems."
FCSGS. "Good luck with that."


Nameless student 3. "I'm a TA for this course. How much work do I have to do?"
FCSGS. "You are supposed to do 20 hours of work per week. It's a tough balance between research and teaching, but you will have to manage."
Nameless student 3. "Right, but how much grading will I have to do?"
FCSGS. "I don't know, you need to ask your professor about duties. I never TA'd that course."
Nameless student 3. "But how much work is it going to be?"
FCSGS. "I don't know."
Nameless student 3. "How many classes do I have to teach?"
FCSGS. [eyes wide] "I DON'T know."

Well, I tried.

I need to go vacuum the car. Dad gets here on Thursday.

1 comment:

shannon said...

Ah, nice to see I'm not the only one privvy to dumb questions. However, the dumb questions I get all pretain to shoes and such.

Dumb ass customer: "These shoes gave me a blister, can I return them?"

Me: "Um, no."

DAC: "But my others from this company never caused them."

Me: I just stayed quiet and looked at DAC for a while, blinking.

DAC: "Well, I'll never shop here again! At (large department type store a block away from my work) they take things back."

Me: "We're a smaller fish in this big sea and we're trying to make a living and not get eaten by you sharks."

Okay, I didn't really call her a shark...but I wanted to. :)