Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Random Bullets of Summer - New People!

  • The summer students are here! I "have" two (each of my advisers has a summer student that I get to help): Pixie and Chill
  • Pixie is fantastic (and adorably tiny, hence the name) - she's very methodical, very sharp, is clearly happy to be doing her research, and has somehow been convinced that I am extremely cool. I actually advise her here and there - she'll bring me a problem, I'll look at it and think of something she can try, and I tell her to try it. She does and comes back - usually the problem is fixed, sometimes it's not, it's all good. I LIKE advising!
  • Chill needs to chill. Simultaneously, she has that sort of lazy monotone in-the-throat manner of talking common to droves of college girls across the country - the "I'm-too-cool-to-use-my-diaphragm" style. You know what I mean. She is very into an extremely small obscure niche of Useless Science that she stumbled upon via a research project at her undergrad, and has already told me that if she can't study her niche and ONLY her niche, she doesn't want to study Useless Science (which to me means she's not really interested in Useless Science - she just hit on a project that was easy a while back and doesn't want to leave her comfort zone. Grad school will be a rude awakening for her). She'll periodically roll into my office asking where our adviser is and then stay to chat because she finished all of her work because she's done this a hundred times before and she wants to do stuff but she's bored bored bored. Meanwhile I am literally up to my elbows in my current project and busy as hell. Telling the overwhelmed grad student who's trying to get a paper draft edited that your life is hard because you're bored - during your summer vacation - is not a way to get on said grad student's good side.
  • The grads and summer students have hung out in a group a couple times, and one guy still hasn't deigned to engage me in a real conversation. Apparently since I'm not a dude, and also not hot, I'm not worth getting know. It's not much of a loss - he seems like an ass. Still - that sort of thing never boosted anyone's ego...
  • The rest of the summer students are cool. Pixie and a few of the other girls have somehow anointed me the advice-giver - they've come by looking for directions around campus, ideas on where to go out for lunch, Advil, questions about grad school, the works. And if I tell them I'm busy, they smile and head off to ask someone else! Simple! And they're so fun they're usually a welcome distraction from "why do my figures still look awful" hell.
  • The new grad students are starting to arrive! There's one in my office. She's nice enough. She's also bored. She has some work to do, but it's not remotely urgent or time-consuming. So she likes to chat. A lot. A LOT. Remember how I'm up to my elbows in work? I'm not really in a chatty condition. I've taken to wearing my headphones constantly, even if there's no music on, as a "Don't bug me" signal. This works maybe 80% of the time.
  • With the beginning influx of new students, the Office Space Follies have gone to hell in a handbasket - people are being kicked out of offices, fighting furiously within offices, begging for new office space, the works. Does this seriously happen every year? I'm still hunkered down over my space, which thankfully is mine and all mine and not about to be messed with - but I think next year I'm going to see if we can't get everyone kicked out of their spaces and just draw names out of a hat. Sure, I might get stuck with a tiny crappy space surrounded by chatty first-years, bt at least there wouldn't be this incessant bitching.
  • Finally, even if a couple of them are annoying, it's kind of nice to be surrounded by chicks. It's a welcome change for Useless Science, and a nice environment to be working in! Here's hoping every single one of them is someday a professor and I can walk around going "I knew Dr. Pixie when she was an undergrad!"


Anne-Marie said...

Are these REU students?

Elli said...

Sorry for the late reply, but mostly yes :) It's an almost even split between REU-ers and miscellaneous summer students with non-REU funding that have come here in one manner or another. And I haven't met him yet but apparently one of the professors has a HIGH SCHOOL student from the area working with him this summer. Kick-ass. Wish I had gotten to work with a professor during my summers in high school!

Amelie said...

Sounds like at least some of your students are great to work with! We have a summer student, too. Female, which I thought might be a nice change. But she's clueless and doesn't even seem to care much about the project -- she's here because she likes the city. Yeah. And likes to talk a lot, preferrably in my native language, which is hard to ignore. Earphones haven't helped so far. At least she makes sure she doesn't work more than 40h/week, so there is some time in which I can actually get work done. She's also applying for PhD positions -- why that, I have no idea.