Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Your Tuesday Funny

From a brilliant commenter at the latest post* at "100 Reasons Not to Go To Grad School," regarding the problem of unstructured time during grad school (which can leave you either never working or constantly working). Regarding the work schedule in grad school under unlimited unstructured time:

"Step 1: allow your unstructured time to run wild like a mustang
Step 2: suffer from an incredibly acute and debilitating panic attack
Step 3: regain composure long enough to get some stuff done
Step 4: REPEAT"

"Anonymous" who left the comment ... if by some small chance you also read here, you are a genius.

Readers: this is unbelievably true, and exactly what it feels like to work in grad school. You will slack off for a few days, then suffer through an insane bout of guilt, panic, and likely a crying attack or two where you will beat yourself up for being the worst grad student ever. Then you'll steel your resolve, sit down, and get a couple things done. And will pat yourself on the back.

And the next week, you'll take one evening off to catch up on reruns of your favorite show, and the cycle will repeat itself.

This is normal for grad studenting ... but not normal for real life. Just an FYI.

*If you are reading here and have not bookmarked the "100 Reasons" blog, do so immediately. And when you have time, read through the archives.


  1. I slacked off during grad school, but somehow managed easy As/A-s. I didn't do all the readings, didn't go to every class and left assignments last minute. Despite the physical presence of a degree on my wall, my program feels incomplete and the diploma feels like a sham. Any input on this? I'm having a hard time achieving closure because of this regret. Thanks.

  2. You know, I'm not sure what advice to give. I know that procrastination/selective reading was pretty common in my program during coursework, and that grades were kind of a joke. But that was just in my particular program ... in other departments, the coursework was much tougher.

    I guess my best input would be that for many of the Ph.D.-level grad students and faculty members that I know, grades and coursework aren't valued particularly highly when evaluating grad students. Research output and (to a far lesser extent) teaching evaluations are seen as more important. And this is where the frustration sinks in for a lot of us, since that type of work is so abstract.

    So I suppose ... try to focus on the fact that you got the degree and reaped the concrete benefits from your grad school experience? And keep in mind that there's a wide world out here where you can engage in intellectual pursuits on your own time ... I have a feeling that might leave you feeling more accomplished than just completing a set of steps in a graduate program.