Thursday, November 09, 2006

What is it with Graduate Students?

(click on to enlarge)

Just last week I met this man who asked me a question that I have not been asked in perhaps years...

"What time do you usually have to be in to work?"

I was dumbfounded by this question. Utterly dumbfounded. I took a moment to reflect before answering.

As you may well know. I am a graduate student. I keep what is known as "graduate student hours". Anytime during a 24 hour day is fair game for being in the lab or coming to the lab. Sometimes I come in the lab at 5am. Sometimes 6am. Sometimes I come in much later. Sometimes 9, 10, or even 11 am. It varies. It really is more crucial that I complete an experiment rather than the time I come in. Sometimes I stay until 6 pm, 7pm, or 10 pm. I sometimes have even stayed in the lab more than 24 hours in a stretch.

I stay late more often than not, so, as a result, I am less inclined to drag my behind in early in the morning.

From time to time, I try to dutifully drag my behind in early in the morning, but so often I fall back into the pattern of "graduate student hours". My advisor jokes about us being the second and third shift on the lab "crew". Now that weather is getting so crappy, I think I am going to try again this approach of coming in early and leaving at a decent time. We will see how long it lasts.

A few months back, my advisor decided last minute to have lab meeting one day. He announced it the morning of the day he had lab meeting. Notably, there were a handful of people missing in lab meeting. It was ALL the graduate students. Myself included. What did he expect? It was scheduled for 10 am!!!

Being asked this question made me realize something I have forgotten. There is a different world out there outside the lab. A world where people typically work 9 to 5 and/or have an 8 hour day. Something that has slipped back into the recesses of my mind. I will not deny that I long to have this type of schedule. Be home at 5-6 pm instead of 5-6 am??? Work an 8 hour day??? How novel! But I will also not deny that it is great to have the flexibility of not having a "set" time to start my day.

But I also long for normalcy.

I guess you just can't have it all. Especially when you have your sights set on a Ph.D. Sometimes, you just can't have normalcy.


Blogger William the Coroner said...

If you're getting a Ph.D. Katie, by definition you've forfieted any claim on normalcy. Just comes with the territory.

Thursday, November 09, 2006 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Yes, that is correct. However, I can still long for normalcy though.

Thursday, November 09, 2006 2:43:00 PM  

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