Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Things They Don't Tell You About Grad School, Part 8: Stick Your Nose Into Everything

My degree program in the School of Public Health - Applied Sport Science - is a very small one.  I think there are 8 or 9 of us at various points of completion.  It is a program oblique to the much-larger Exercise Physiology: they run experiments, we apply the results to athletes.  Since the head of our program is a visiting professor and there are so few of us and the program requirements are being reworked, our little band of mis-fits has no cohesion.

I'm fine with this - mostly because I have glommed on socially and administratively to the ex phys program.  Case in point: the lab in which I sit is an ex phys lab; applied sport science students don't normally get desks.

The last remaining bastion of ex phys sanctity that I have not penetrated is the ex phys listserv, an email list comprised of ex phys grad students and faculty.  Articles, meeting reminders, etc etc circulate.  I'm not on it, but people routinely ask me why I wasn't at something (mostly thesis and dissertation proposals) and it's always because I didn't know it was happening.  Since I'm generally pro-learning, I would go if I could - and if I had known it was happening.

I am pretty sure I'm being left off not because the faculty want to willfully exclude me (as separate from an entire excluded program), but because attention to students' details is a little lacking.

Well, attention to those details might be higher in the near future.

Two Fridays ago, on my way back from class, I saw someone who rarely emerges from his monastic cell...I mean, office...leaning up against the wall outside a darkened conference room and watching something happening inside the room.  I sneaked a peek and pretty much every academic whom I know in the building was in this room.  Perhaps I should be in this room too?  So I scrunched down on the floor just inside the door and listened as someone finished presenting their dissertation proposal.

The Q&A gets going and one faculty member, who teaches my current seminar, keeps bringing up RPE (rating of perceived exertion; a numeric scale used to assess physical effort).  Two days before I had presented a paper (not mine!) in seminar, at this faculty member's assignment, on RPE.

At some point he was struggling to elucidate something, basically speaking in ellipses, and ended "I wish Kelzie was here.  Kelzie just presented on this...."

At which point I popped up from where I was sitting, where no one had seen me, and said "Well, I am here..." and supplied the gist of my presentation and then asked a few questions about the dissertation's granular resolution of data collection.

Someday I am going to get on that email list and when I do, I might get to meetings before they start and not have to sit in the corner.  

Until then, it is really fun to jump out of the corner and surprise everyone.

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