The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Being a grad student is weird

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how weird it is being a grad student.

Not BAD weird (necessarily) but weird, as in, “not like normal life”.  It’s very different from the life I remember when I had a Real Job and worked for the government.  A “9-5” day does not exist. Neither does a five-day work week.  My time is not really my own, even if it’s mine to manage.  I’m starting to think that time management in grad school is not a mere professional skill that one learns by using day planners and calendars; it’s more like a mystic art form that requires trekking to some sacred mountaintop where you eat only grass and fight ninjas before the Great Secret of Getting Things Done In A Timely Manner is passed on to you.  I blogged/ranted a little more about some of these ideas here last week.

Being a grad student is SO weird, that the experience seems to be almost universal in its weirdness. We’re caricatures, we grad students. That’s probably why I laughed my butt off when I watched this:

Even though that video featured a biomed student, I’m sure I’ve said 90% of those things at some point during my grad programs (pretty much all of it but the stuff about my PI hating me and bit about the lasers – but give it time, give it time – I’m not going to be done for 2 years…no 4…no 6…well, a while anyways. I’m sure I can find a reason to use lasers for something).

The weirdest thing of all, perhaps? Despite the crazy hours, self doubt, failed experiments, writers block, nerve-wracking exams, and uncertainty about the future, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

5 responses to “Being a grad student is weird

  1. stevenhamblin February 27, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    My Master’s advisor put it this way: grad school – and academia in general – is about the emotional paycheque, not the financial one. If you’re in grad school, it has to be because you would do it even if you weren’t getting paid at all (which, let’s face it, is usually close to the truth). On the upside, the emotional and intellectual reward for that weird life is pretty awesome…

  2. Nasreen February 28, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    The bright side is grad students are absolutely adorable.

  3. BioBob March 3, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    You get to take pride in your excellent pictures too !

  4. apeetha March 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I suck at keeping appointments, making references, citation, organisation- everything- but each year I am just improving and I love this life- and hate it too- but mostly love it.

    • TGIQ March 4, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      I’m the same way – it’s a mad, mad, world – and I often feel not exactly cut out for it – but I have a big crush on it anyways. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting, apeetha!

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