Monday, September 26, 2005

The Pep Talk.

A conversation I had with Prof. Bigshot this morning:

V: Bigshot, one of the department requirements is that I apply for a fellowship.
BS: So.
V: Well, I sent you a fellowship proposal and I was wondering if you've had a chance to look at it.
BS: No, and I don't think I want to read it.
V: Okay... why?
BS: Well... your labmate, So and So, has a much better chance of becoming a faculty member. I'm going to focus on So and So's application. That means you're on your own.
V: Interesting. So and So has done next to nothing in the lab. We're in the same year of graduate school. I've been here everyday, 7 days a week, working hard, getting results and I'm not cut out to be a faculty member?
BS: That's right.
V: Just curious, on what basis do you make that claim?
BS: I don't have a basis. I don't need one. That's just the way that it is. So and So will get my help, So and So will get a faculty position. You won't.

I crept out of Bigshot's office. The walk back to the lab was long, despite it's actual three meter distance. It's common for faculty to have favorites. Bigshot and So and So are actually close friends, for reasons I'd rather not discuss. This is life. This is academia. Four years of this. Lucky me.

Actually, I mean it. I love being underestimated. I absolutely love it. I can't become a professor, eh? Watch me. I have a plan. I'm sticking to it.


Blogger LoraLoo said...

You forgot the "Muahahahahahahahaha". Try it, it'll feel good when you're thinking about your plan. It'll also scare the pants off of So-and-So.

12:56 PM  
Blogger RT said...

Vavoom, I've been reading your blog for quite some time now and I know that there's more to you than what meets the eye. But recently, I'm seriously starting to wonder, is it your goal to become one of 'them', or to pursue what you love?

4:49 PM  
Blogger irishkeough said...

science is screwed because of people like this. remember, you are not what you do, even though I think that what I do is how I define myself.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

RT: Actually, I've been asking myself this question all day long. I'm glad you asked. I'm starting to wonder if I'd really enjoy being a professor. I have yet to meet a decent one. Would I become just like them? I am quickly falling out of love with academia, I'll tell you that much.

5:18 PM  
Blogger RT said...

It may not be much, but if it helps at all, some of my best teachers have no teaching credentials at all...

Including you.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

RT: You took the words right out of my mouth. (Meatloaf, 1977'ish?) Many of my colleagues have no formal classroom experience; they seem to be more willing to go "outside the box." It makes for a much more interesting class.

Vavoom, it may be the campus, not the profession. Stick to your plan.

7:23 PM  
Blogger dusty said...

wow wee Vavoom, I have faith in you that you will figure it out..whats best for you..your a have drive and spunk :)

7:26 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I feel like I'm sitting here with Pinky asking, "So what are you doing, Brain" with the response, "Planning to show Professor Bigshot up... and take over the world." I like where RT took it. There is still room for you in radio and TV. B)

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

V- you didn't get to where you are with hand outs. Stick to your plan- hard work. Prove 'em wrong.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Sister Vavoom said...

Not to worry- you are so talented and brilliant, you have been able to accomplish everything you have set your mind on. This was done with help from no one. God helps those who help themselves....

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know of a Professor Bigger Shot at your previous institution who was told he wasn't smart enough for graduate school by an "E(xtremely) Bright" professor at your current institution (long since dead). Academics can be asses, and they are rarely right about such things.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, what a bunch of crap. I would be seeing red.

I also had the career goal of becoming a professor, but now I'm not sure about it, but for vastly different reasons - I'm too lazy, and I don't know if I can work as hard as professors do. If you work as hard as you say and you get results you'd probably be an excellent professor.

Just to encourage you further I'll tell you that at my school (UCI) and in my department (Physics) there are a few bad professors but the vast majority are really good, fair people. Your problems may be limited to your institution and/or department.

2:27 AM  
Blogger The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Yeah, same with the UCI chemistry department - most of them are genuinely nice people. Stick with it Vavoom. If it's what you truly want to do, one asshole professor can't stop you.

12:59 AM  

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