Grad Student Problems

Guest post by Michelle Funk

Ten relatable grad student problems in the Department of Telecommunications:

  1. That faculty member you’ve wanted to talk to for such a long time has her door open, but you know she is insanely busy. But her door is open! But she is typing away furiously on her computer. But … door? You spend five minutes in the grad lab deciding whether to knock on her door frame and ask for a couple minutes of her time, but when you go back into the hall, you see another student sitting in her office. Sigh.
  2. Navigating those brief “oops, we’re in the bathroom at the same time” moments with professors. This can be either extremely awkward or amiable and bond-strengthening (at least for us ladies, who do not have to deal with the “no talking in the bathroom” taboo). Remember to wash your hands before you leave, or we’re all going to hear about it—that goes for students and faculty alike!
  3. You’re walking down the third floor hallway and you see Annie Lang up ahead. You remember her mentioning in T501 that she has trouble with faces. You momentarily panic  as you try to decide just how little distance there should be between you before you say hello.
  4. The person in charge of bringing the food to T600 this week is one of those “healthy” people. Drat. Why can’t Edo always be in charge of food?
  5. You stuck your lunch in the lounge refrigerator, but at noon you come back and the lounge has a “Video Game Study in Progress, Please Do NOT Disturb” sign hanging on the door.
  6. The semester is in full swing and this term the grad lab’s stick figure mural on the dry-erase board is EPIC. One morning, you fall into utter despair upon finding that the mural has been all or partly erased (probably to free space for research-related brainstorming, psshhh). You’re relieved seven seconds later when you remember that someone has already documented this semester’s mural with their phone’s fancy panoramic function.
  7. One time, the grad lab printer actually worked for you and it was the highlight of your whole damn week.
  8. Standing at the bottom of the stairs at the Northeast end of the building, you say goodbye to your friends for the day and head up the stairwell to the third floor. However, because of the numerous ways to get back up to the grad lab, you find yourself awkwardly saying hello again to the people you bid adieu to ten seconds earlier.
  9. It took you over a year to realize that you can walk through the “FIRE: DO NOT ENTER” door on the first floor, and that if you do, you will find yourself in the Fine Arts building (aka: The Place That Has All The Coffee).
  10. The grad lab is empty and you’re glad because you need a quiet space to get some work done. Around lunchtime, everyone crowds into the room and it gets very noisy, but you get accustomed to it quicker than you thought. When everyone leaves, the silence is deafening. Additionally, now there’s no one sitting behind you who might judge you if you took a quick Facebook break. Crap.
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