Monday, November 17, 2008

Grad School is Phunny?

Back in my good old high school physics class, where I met my husband (who's now a doctoral student in physics), our teacher's motto was that "Physics is Phun." The truth was, physics isn't fun in a whole lot of ways, but we had a humorous teacher, a great class ambiance, and plenty of interesting application-type activities to carry us through. And with a handsome guy sitting behind you, how could it be bad? ;)

Is grad school fun? Well, no, it's really not. But it's funny. Colin and I are frequent visitors of PhD Comics, a web comic that, in an uncomfortably realistic way, pokes fun at graduate school woes. We also enjoy our Dilbert. While this comic focuses not on academia, but the corporate world, its characterization of bureaucracy, work environments, and hierarchical/team relationships applies in many ways to our daily experiences. This is one of my favorite Dilberts of all time:

I may or may not have discovered it during IST 590 last fall semester. But, that's neither here nor there. Here's an brief potpourri of what makes grad school hilarious:

1. Disconnect from society. Just last week, I was talking with a couple of friends about people do for fun in State College during the winter months. "I wouldn't know," I said, "because the only winter I've lived here so far, I was in graduate school." The sad part of the story: one of these friends is currently APPLYING to graduate school. Poor lass! It's all still ahead of her!

2. Feelings of intense inadequacy. If we were untalented, lazy people without an ounce of ingenuity, would we be here? Then why do we feel like that now?

3. Disconnect from campus life. I guess this goes along with #1, but I felt it merited its own entry on the list. Case in point: last spring, I was talking with an undergrad who was taking the class I TA'd, and he asked me if I was going to the "Blue and White Game" that weekend. "Oh, no, I didn't even know that was this weekend," I replied. He was shocked and horrified. And you know what? To this day, I don't even know what the "Blue and White Game" is, except that it's obviously a game, and it results in lots of Creamery Ice Cream sales (thank you, article in The Daily Collegian that I happened to read). Yep.

There are more, but phrankly, the more I think about them, the less phunny I phind them and the more phorlorn I pheel.

No comments: