A total stranger just saved my ass and she doesn't even know it.
0 comment Sunday, July 6, 2014 |
st1\:*{behavior:url(http://ambivalentacademic.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html#ieooui) } Over at FSP there is a discussion going on as to whether or not students should be required to go to seminars�as a student I don�t have a lot of sway in this decision but the general rule of thumb here is that:Students are required to attend seminars in series that GrAdvisor calls "compulsory." These include:weekly invited speakers from outside the institutionmonthly faculty seminarbi-weekly sub-sub-field research forumweekly departmental journal clubweekly sub-field group meeting with rotating presentations by students/post-docsweekly lab meetingWhen students are slow to produce data, GrAdvisor will say something along the lines of, "I�ve seen you at a lot of seminars lately�." As if to imply that students are using seminars to avoid benchwork.I am not sure he realizes what mixed messages this sends. Some of these seminars are really good and there is a lot to be learned and so the time away from the bench is well-spent. Not all of these seminars are good/useful, but all of them are "compulsory"�which would imply that we should feel compelled to attend them even if they�re crap. But if he sees us there when data are slow, we should no longer feel compelled to attend? You just can�t win with this system.On top of this conundrum, some of these seminars are very poorly organized, much to my frustration (and today, relief). The speaker schedule for the weekly sub-field group meeting (there are two speakers each week) was sent out several months ago. This meeting is held on Tuesday, but the dates on the schedule were actually Thursdays�oh well, I knew what they meant, so I marked on my calendar the Tuesday that fell in the same week as the Thursday on which I was "scheduled" to speak. (Which, for the record is next Tuesday, one week before my committee meeting. Why is it always right next to my committee meeting?). A short time later a corrected schedule was sent around with the dates corrected to Tuesdays. I checked it against my calendar � yep, still next week. A short time after that a third schedule was sent around with Thursdays corrected to Tuesday AND some, but not all, of the speakers rearranged. Apparently, I was one of those speakers, and according to the third schedule I was supposed to speak today. Nowhere, in any of the subsequent schedules, nor the emails in which they were distributed, was it suggested that the schedule had fundamentally changed aside from the Thursday-Tuesday thing. So I, of course, didn�t read the third schedule too carefully since it appeared almost identical to the second corrected schedule. So I didn�t know I was supposed to speak today (according to the third schedule) until I sat down in the audience and LabFriend asked, "where�s your computer?"AA: What? I�m not talking until next week.LF: You�re on the schedule for today.AA: Yeah, very funny. [There is a not-so-funny running joke in ReallyBigLab in which one or more lab members will try to "punk" another lab member by making them believe that they are supposed to give a talk for which they are unprepared. This joke has been going around for so long that I am generally disinclined to believe people when they try to pull this crap with me. LabFriend also doesn�t find this joke to be very funny so he, as a rule, does not try to "punk" people. Which means I should believe him.]Eeeek! Fortunately, someone else (a complete stranger to me � it�s a big group) was also confused by the multiple schedules because she showed up ready to present today, as she should have according to the first several schedules (as did the other guy who really was supposed to talk today according to all three schedules), and the powers that be were none the wiser. So I guess I will be talking next month in Stranger�s place (on the third schedule)�thanks Stranger, for saving my ass. And to whoever is in charge of "organizing" this debacle � you can rot!Now if only we could all agree on the changes to our lab meeting schedule. I swear it shouldn�t be this complicated.