Monday, September 24, 2012

Weird Reactions

Dr. S and I went to Snooty U partly to do a specific kind of work with specific people, but also because almost everyone in the world has heard of Snooty U (though not help-line people contracted out in India; I used to have to spell it for them) and that has certain advantages when looking for jobs.  Especially non-academic jobs.  We also went there because, due to the things above, the people there have a lot of money and it's easier to do science when you can throw lots of money at problems, right?  Right.  (Not necessarily better, but a lot easier.)

Every so often, I am conversing with a grad student, or even someone with a PhD, and it comes up where my degree is from.  And almost universally, the other person starts nattering on about how their mentor, Dr. Locally Famous in Platypus Endocrinology is doing some of the best and most important work in the field and how the program here (or there, or whatever) is the best in the country and so on.  And the whole time, I'm thinking, seriously?  EVERY TIME we have to do this?  Seriously, people, my motto about grad school is "It seemed like a good idea at the time."  I don't care where you are going/ went/ want to go to grad school.  Get over yourselves, people.  (Not you, dear readers.  Other people.)

On the other hand, it was Snooty U.


  1. I guess I'm not surprised people feel insecure about their choices and want to justify themselves, it is just too bad you need to be on the receiving end of it.

    Perhaps they hope you've heard of it. "I studied with Dr. Blahdiblah at Midwestern University." they say. You reply, "You did!?! That's amazing, Dr. Soandso at Snooty U talked about his work constantly." Instant happiness.

    Btw, grad school really did seem like a good idea at the time. I even convinced DH to join me, and he became so depressed he started saying, "Why eat? It only prolongs the suffering." I have to remind him every once in a while that Bicycle Company isn't nearly as horrible as grad school. At least they pay you in buckets of money once a month.

    1. Platypus endocrinology, I'm telling you. I didn't even know there WERE departments of platypus endocrinology here. :)

      I think the undergrads at Snooty U were, on average, a lot more snooty than the grad students. Some of the grad students even went to public universities! And public high schools!

      Bicycle Company does pay money! And there is less misery! I found it much less painful than grad school. (I got so depressed that I was convinced parked cars were going to back up over me. Yeah.)

  2. My experience is slightly different: "I did my PhD in B-city" -- "oh, were you in the institute by the beach?" (note how the science doesn't even come up ;)

  3. Anonymous10:59 AM

    A lot of times I avoid telling people where I went to school entirely- unless I'm applying for a job and they are the one doing the hiring.

    People always have to give me crap.

    Just this weekend we took our daughter to a fair, a reporter for the teeny-tiny local, online only 'paper' took her picture and it was on their website. I posted a link to it on Facebook.

    What did people have to say? "Oh, and of course you put her in a Yale t-shirt!"

    Uh, yeah. She's 2.5. I got her a shirt at my 10 year reunion. It's in the drawer. She wanted to wear it. I wasn't bragging about the school. I was showing off my kid.

    1. Anonymous11:05 AM

      Kind of reminds me of this phenomenon- which can be applied to all kinds of highly ranked, well-respected places:

  4. So the point you're making is that your PhD is from the best school in the world and we should all feel inferior?

    (I feel compelled to note that this is humor.)

    1. Absolutely. Your PhD is completely useless (you tenured professor, you) and mine is doing me a ton of good, framed on my wall where I can stare at it every day while my housewife self does laundry.


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