advisorspeak dictionary: the crawl in a hole and die edition

August 3, 2010

“I’d like to meet to discuss your fellowship.” =  This will not be a pleasant conversation.

“If you’re free sometime in the next few hours, we could meet today.” =  You should really come to my office now.

“We want to be as sympathetic as possible, and we understand that you’ve had personal problems…”  =  I don’t really care, but you should brace yourself for the way this sentence ends.

“How much longer does your fellowship last?” =  I am unwilling to fund you.

“You haven’t quite been on track.” =  All those times you talked to me about why you haven’t been achieving much, and I reassured you?  I was lying.

“I’ve talked to other senior members of the group.” =  Everyone else has been lying, too.

“Lots of students struggle because they’re just not interested enough in the subject.” =  I am trying to persuade you to leave.

“If things slip back to the way they were, we’ll have to make a decision.” =  We already decided.  You wouldn’t want to hear our decision.

Soooooo yeah.  I didn’t even get a smile out of him when I joked that my remaining fellowship year granted me a stay of execution.  That can’t be a good sign.  I’m tremendously fortunate that I do have that extra year, or else I’d probably be out of a job at the end of the month.  Good job being on top of things, advisor.

Oh yeah, and I had this conversation with a migraine, having run out of my stash of meds at work.  And then I had to have a science conversation about how I screwed things up and need to retake some data.  And then the bus passed me at the stop, and I had to run after it yelling.

Like I said, the crawl in a hole and die edition.



  1. Wow. Sorry to hear about that. Grad school’s hard enough without advisors who can’t communicate that they’re not happy when they start being unhappy (and wait for way too long to express it).

    Hope things turn around soon….

  2. […]  No news is good news, right?  This strategy hasn’t really worked out that well (see “advisorspeak dictionary: the crawl in a hole and die edition,” if you want the miserable details).  I have to wonder if things could have been better if […]

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