Sunday, April 11, 2010

Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision ...

... to Go to Graduate School.

Adam Ruben's book with that title promises to be a lot of fun, if we go by Scott Jaschik's preview:

... [Ruben] covers everything from selecting professors to work with to figuring out when you need to finish up already (the latter in a chapter appropriate for the Passover season, "Let My Pupil Go.")

There are more professorial types to avoid, in Ruben's world, than to cling to. You want to watch out for the "jet setter" (she's "giving the keynote address at a different conference every week" and so doesn't believe in such duties as "hand-holding" or "clarifying" or "anything"); the "deaf optimist" ("Bad news about your research? Say no more, No, really -- say no more, because she won't hear it."); or "the founder" (the longest serving faculty member in the department... "think Strom Thurmond meets George Burns, but without the racism or the entertainment... well, maybe a little racism.")

Other sections cover important ways to answer questions, such as the passive-aggressive answer that "implies the question was poorly worded." And there are graduate student recipes, such as "Roasted Undergraduate on a Spit" (to fantasize about), "Macaroni and Tears" (to eat) and "Bribery Brownies" (to serve your committee members). Ruben also focuses on the importance of getting out of grad school by actually finishing a dissertation, and he discusses the difficulties of satisfying committee members -- who want their work cited, want certain ideas explored and so forth, without regard to the original concept. (Ruben reads that section in a podcast that can be found here.)


  1. Pratik Ray said...

    A warning to those who want to go to grad school - it's almost as bad as getting married ;)