grad student connections

Karin E. Rengefors Karin.Rengefors at
Thu Mar 30 10:40:08 EST 1995

In article <3l956q$hk at>, neuronn at (Neuronn) wrote:

> Hi!  I just found this group, so this is my first post.  I am a new 
> Grad student in Neurobiology, although I had been taking classes part
> time for a bit (so that hours-wise, I am a second year).  
> I found that there are two types of students-those that absolutely
> love what they are doing, and those who are doing it for who-knows-why.
> The two groups do not mesh well.  What I did was to organize a "lunch
> hour"  in which students would meet and talk, and invite other students
> to meet.  In this way, we could network with students who had the
> same level of interest that we did.  It has worked out well.  The lunch
> hour is low pressure, and allows people to get to know each other.  IT
> has been supportive, as well (in response to someone's previous post
> about not finding much support in the department).  Those who aren't
> as passionate don't tend to come, which is fine. 
> Peace :)

Hi "Neuronn" (and others)!

Unfortunatly things are not as simple as you seem to belive, that there
are two types of students; either those who love what they are doing and
those which don't seem to care at all. There is also the group of people
who were very enthusiastic in the beginning and who love the field but
have become unhappy and frustrated along the way. This is a very common
situation at my department (Limnology). I "knew" long before I started
that I really wanted to go into research, and that I loved my field
(limnology). However, after two years of unsuccessful research, an advisor
who doesn't care, thesis projects which don't work (I've started on my
third by now), a department which seems more like a museum than a research
laboratory, I've become a "not so passionate" graduate student. 

I work really hard along with some of the other students to improve our
situation by organizing seminars, classes et c (which actually is the
advisors' responsibility) and by bringing in a psychologist/consultant who
can help us improve the situation at the department (by discussing with
and teaching our advisors on how to function as good advisors). 

Despite this I'm extremely unhappy working with my research even though
I'd like to love it. I have seen enthusiastic students who've started both
before me and after me, who've ended up just as frustrated and
disillusioned. I also know that I really can enjoy working hard on my
research ( I recently spent 3 months at Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution) if I'm in a supportive and inspiring environment. Maybe your
(Neuronn's) "not so passionate" fellow grad students have run into these
kinds of problems. I don't know, but maybe you shouldn't be so quick to
judge. As for my own situation I really don't know what to do anymore.

Karin :-(

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