One of the great joys of this blog when the kids were in their undergraduate degrees was the reports they brought to us about happenings during class surrounding certain of their ultra-politically correct professors. Sometimes, even usually, they arrived via text messages from their phones in real-time. When I started writing about those events, Kelly drew me a Commie Professor logo to go with those blog posts.
I am quite happy to say this is all happening again in Kelly’s grad school experience. Good grief, she lives in SEATTLE, a veritable hotbed of anarchism and histrionic coffee house emotings. It is as close as one can get to Portlandia without actually being in Portland, but with the potential for anarchist rioting. The purpose of this post is to serve as a public shaming of Kelly to get her to illustrate and describe her encounters in the coffee shops, classrooms, conferences and gala events she attends so that this momentous time of her life as a grad student can be documented properly. She has committed to this and now it is time to put up.
The difference between graduate school experiences between Kelly and Christian (down in Tempe) is fairly stark. Part of that might have to do with the differences in the cultures of the schools. I think the bigger difference is between the nature of the material they are studying. Kelly’s anecdotes about school tend toward the absurd–almost like during her undergraduate degree. Christian has lots of anecdotes that are equally as interesting, but in a completely different way.
Serious is not the right word to describe what I think when Christian talks about his school and his work although the what he does definitely falls into that category. The work is so cerebrally intense that I do not think the people in his program have much time for consideration of much out of their academic domain. It is just very, very interesting. It is not just the work he and his compatriots do. It is also their interactions.
The difficulty of the material, the personalities and wide ranging cultures (different parts of the US, India, China, etc.), the research sponsors from important laboratories, think tanks, universities and industry, the frantic and frenetic race to understand insanely difficult problems before someone else with an off the charts IQ and an insane work ethic beats you to it–all of that is just jaw droppingly interesting. What these people do is beyond the boundaries of my understanding. In Christian’s case, it is down in the bowels of very hard math guided by his professor who just became a Fellow of the IEEE and is associated with all the luminaries in his areas of research. I am trying to figure out how to write about this in a compelling way to describe the extremely fascinating daily workings of Christian’s degree, but I might not ever be able to do it adequately. I will try if I get it figured out.
In the meantime, I am going to keep browbeating Kelly with continued public shamings until she starts sending me some illustrations and anecdotes I can publish here.
Betty Blonde #354 – 11/24/2009
Click here or on the image to see full size strip.