March 1, 2010

Mixed messages

One of the strange things about grad school is that we get trusted to do important things that we could easily screw up, largely because professors don't want to do the task themselves or because observing our work would be too costly.

Then at other times, the department makes it clear that they don't trust us at all. They don't trust our judgment. They don't trust us with information. And they don't trust us to behave like professional adults, even when it comes to our own careers.

Yet, things are set up so that the success of the research, teaching, and recruitment in my department depends on grad students doing a good job when nobody is looking.

It's all very confusing.

3 Comments:

  • I'm confused... :p

    By Blogger Mamabeek, at 3/5/10, 2:38 PM  

  • I don't know what you're referring to exactly but I definitely remember that dynamic.

    My favorite example included a day where I saw students in therapy including a suicidal crisis. I then tried to pick up a remote control so that I could use video in my class in the morning. I was told that grad students can't check out the remote (a problem because my 8am class began before the office opened.)

    Message received: We trust you to stop the undergrads from killing themselves, but we don't trust you with a remote.

    By Blogger Inksster, at 3/6/10, 8:36 AM  

  • Yeah I was referring to something that I couldn't blog about... but what prompted me to write the post was just one example of many. Grad school is full of indignities like not being trusted with the remote, when you're also expected to handle big responsibilities -- sometimes it's just absurd.

    By Blogger Di Di, at 3/8/10, 8:43 PM  

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