Tuesday, March 20, 2007

an open question to professors:

Are you hiding from us?

More specifically, are you hiding from ME?

I have been hunting for a single word of help all day. ALL. DAY. I'm TRYING to use a particular doohickey with a horrendous users manual that rife with mistakes. I can dig through and handle 90% of the mistakes, but there are a couple funny little snares I can't fix, because I am a first-year grad student who has never touched one of these things before. In search of answers, I have gone to the guy who oversees said doohickeys. I have emailed the guy in another country who wrote the manual. I have emailed the techie guys. However, it has been suggested that I find professors who have actually USED the thing and asked them.

I have now gone to no less than four professors' doors, and they are not here. I started trying at 10AM this morning and have been returning every hour or so. No dice. I am not looking for an answer to "what is my purpose in life?", but something more along the line of "The manual is vague; am I working under conditions A or conditions B?" Anyone who has used this thing could answer the question in five seconds. But they are all gone. ALL of them. Gone. GONE. All day. There is no departmental seminar. There is no all-day faculty meeting. There are no special secret pow-wows. Where are they?? Some of them have students, for god's sake - what are their students doing these days?

I know grad students occasionally hide from their advisers (just this morning I did a side-dive into the ladies' room to avoid starting ANOTHER "I just had an idle idea for something you should do that will be pointless and take four weeks" conversation). I'm SURE that advisers occasionally hide from their own grad students - after all, we can be pestering and curious little pains in the ass. People in my department also do their fair share of traveling. But - jeebus. The odds of the four guys I need ALL being away at the moment seem pretty slim. Can we just have some kind of, like, tagging system in place?:

"I'm in, knock."
"I'll be back soon."
"Out for the morning/afternoon."
"Out for the day, don't bothing looking for me"
"Out for your entire graduate career."
"Nobody can see the great Oz! Not nobody - not nohow!"

It's all I ask. If nothing else, it would cut down on my curious and foolishly-hopeful trips down to hall to see if doors have magically opened or will suddenly start responding to knocks.

Despite the fact that some of the grads around here are lazy kids who roll in at 11AM and out at 4PM, many of us are here from 9AM until 7 or 8PM every day. If we are here for 11 hours a day, you'd think that we'd OCCASIONALLY intersect with the people whose help we actually need.

*cutting self off before a rant about how much longer we work and how much less we get paid gets going full-bore. Back to my puzzle of a doohickey...*

...i like that word. doohickey, doohickey, doohickey. it's satisfying to say! try it! doohickey, doohickey, doohickey...

1 comment:

Jenny F. Scientist said...

I've been trying to snag a committee member for three weeks now. He's two floors down. If I hadn't talked to him, I'd think he was in the Tooth Fairy category. It's a real mystery.