September 17, 2009

Subfield party

I spent the evening at a dinner party for grad students in my subfield. Since I am the only fourth year who studies this particular subfield, all of my good friends are in other subfields. So it was fun to hang out with people who relate to my experiences with classes and comps.

But I feel conflicted when I talk to the second and third years, because I see them making the mistakes I made at the beginning -- allowing one professor to dictate the path of their careers before they have a chance to decide what they want to study, who they want to work with, and how they will spend their time.

Part of me wants to tell them, "You don't have to say yes to everything. You can make your own choices."

But I decided a long time ago that I would keep my mouth shut. I know it was the right decision, but sometimes I feel like I failed the students coming up behind me: I didn't warn them. I haven't been a friend.

At the same time, they know I made different choices, and they haven't reached out to me for advice -- so maybe they aren't interested in my experience anyway.

And who knows, maybe they will have a better experience than I did. I don't want to scare them away from a path that might be good for some of them. It's just weird sometimes.


  • It's hard to know where that line is. I remember feeling the same way as I was one of the senior students in my program. I basically took the same sort of stance that you are, if they come and ask for my advice or to share my experience I will, otherwise I stay out of it.

    Sometimes we have to be self-protective.

    By Blogger Psych Post Doc, at 9/17/09, 7:20 PM  

  • Same here, but I had to learn it the hard way. You're absolutely doing the right thing... not that you need me to tell you so! =P

    By Blogger Mamabeek, at 9/19/09, 1:11 AM  

  • Thanks for your comments -- as I wrote, I know that I'm doing the right thing by staying out of it. But it helps to hear it from you guys too since I've been feeling conflicted about it all week (Ever since I learned a few details of what the second years are going through.)

    By Blogger Di Di, at 9/19/09, 2:22 AM  

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