January 23, 2011

Caught in a Bad Project

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

A friend* just sent me a link to this video called “Bad Project,” a parody of the Lady Gaga song “Bad Romance.” I think this video is hilarious! I love the Lady Gaga outfits made out of laboratory supplies.

 Video taken from Youtube.

Since I am currently on my third PhD advisor (I left my first advisor, then my second advisor took a job at another institution- though to his credit he still advises me from a distance), I have had my own graduate school frustrations. Fortunately, I actually have a “good project” and am finally making headway and feeling optimistic about my research. 

However, like many grad students, I have had days where I am so frustrated with graduate school and academia that I daydream about fantasy alternate careers. After awhile, I remember that I really do love geology, and that– despite all the hard work and frustrations– I’m right where I want to be. I’m not yet sure if I’ll “make it” as a professor at a high-pressure research institution (nor if I want to pursue such a career), but I know that I love geology and want to be a geologist, whether it be through working for a company or teaching or research or some combination of the above. 

In moments of stress, grad school friends of mine talk about becoming musicians, artists, novelists, and businessmen. They daydream about opening surf schools, bakeries, and kumquat farms. I think many grad students have fantasy alternate careers that they will pursue “when this whole grad school thing doesn’t work out.”

My own fantasy alternate careers?
-Park ranger or game ranger
-Archaeologist
-Novelist
-Professional kayaker
-Translator
-Owner of an adventure tour company
-Professor of Middle Eastern Studies or Arabic
-Jane Goodall (yes, I want to be Jane Goodall)
-Running a cat rescue shelter (my cat-allergic fiance vetoes this one, though)

What are the fantasy jobs that help you survive graduate school?

*Thanks, Fern!