Thursday, October 8, 2009

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A Graduate Student Checklist

6:30 am Wake up and lie awake in bed.

6:31 Realize you spent $18 on last night's dinner, means no eating out
for the next 6 weeks.

6:32 Hit snooze button. Go back to sleep.

7:00 Wake up suddenly with heart in mouth when you realize you didn't
hit the snooze button -- you turned it off.

7:01 Fall asleep again.

7:44 Wake up with heart in mouth again.

7:45 Get ready to go to school, will shave tomorrow, will eat early
brunch at (Denny's/Penny's/Lenny's/Dinko's whatever cafeteria).

8:03 Arrive at school. Realize your foreign office mate arrived
earlier today must have got more work done.

8:04 Pass by Advisor's office, chat with Secretary to find out if he
is coming in today. He is, darn. Need to start work on the
draft due this afternoon.

8:15 Read electronic mail.

8:20 Delete mail from students taking CMPSC201 regarding questions
about the class. Hate your TA job. Depression: too much
work to do today.

9:00 For jump-start: go to Pepsi machine.

9:05 Kick Pepsi machine; promise yourself to call up the company
and ask for your money back. Wonder why they would believe you.

9:33 Start printing out loads of stuff that may be vaguely related to
your work.

9:41 Early morning stupefaction. Mutter racist comments to yourself
about your office mate.

9:43 Curse your office mate in a low tone he would not comprehend.
Feel good about him not grasping English well.

9:58 Finger everyone in the department and most people half way
around the world (using the "finger" command, of course)

10:19 Feel sleepy, should not have stayed late playing Tetris last

10:31 Momentary panic attack!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:43 Edit .plan file. Write a shell program to edit .plan more

10:59 Drop in at advisor's office and borrow something you don't
need & and kinda make him aware you are working hard on your

11:05 Perverted daydreams.

11:11 Read electronic news. Midmorning yawn time.

11:34 Start typing junk at a very high key-in rate to pretend
you are working hard as your advisor passes by from outside.

11:35 Press the BackSpace key for one and a half minute until all
the garbage you typed in is erased. Realize that you can type
more than 256 characters per half minute.

11:41 Flirt with the new girl in the department.

11:45 Print out some slides for afternoon's draft + presentation.

11:47 Print them again, you forgot to change the date from last

11:49 Print another copy in case this one gets lost.

11:51 Completely forget about suing the coffee machine company.

12:15 pm Hunger pangs:

12:20 BigMac/Fries time. Drink a not-so-cold generic can of cola
from your desk. Ch-Ching, you just saved 35 cents by buying
bulk cola.

1:00 Group Meeting with advisor.
1:14 Sudden awareness of one's shallowness. Resentment towards foreign
office mate for sucking up to your advisor. Get reminded by your
advisor that you need to do some more work for your literature

1:51 Advisor hands you the reddened copy of your draft for corrections.

1:51:02 The 49 second urge to murder advisor begins!!

1:51:52 Realize that he controls your assistantship/grade/
graduation possibility/graduation date/all job opportunities/
and the rest of your life.

1:52:53 Thank him.

1:52:54 Thank yourself for not saying something stupid to your advisor.

1:53:00 Splitting headache #1.

1:59 Check electronic mail, don't reply though, you are too busy
to do that.

2:06 More generic cola.

2:17 Oh No, it is my turn to cook tonight. Sad

2:30 Sit through the class you were told to sit through.

2:39 Look outside the window make unrealistic plans to quit this
degree program and take up a job. Wonder why blonde girls are
so pretty.

2:48 More perverted daydreams. Close the office door and open a
few .gif files. Sharpen pencil.

3:06 Worry about never graduating. Time to write a letter -- NOT!
no time for that. Rearrange desk. Call up bank; see if you
have any money. Fear of losing aid next fall. Read latex
manuals to figure out how to put &$%&% in %$^% format.

3:43 Watch the clock. Make plans to do a all-nighter tonight. Vow to
watch only 2 TV programs

4:58 Notice Advisor leave.

4:58:01 Sudden sense of freedom. Go home for quick, short dinner break.

9:00 Come into the office.

9:01 The hard working grad student you are, you have to come to the

office late at night to "get the work done."

9:03 Check electronic mail. Decide it would be a good time to attack
those ftp sites since network won't be loaded. Run into "since
network won't be loaded" traffic and get the pictures into your
machine. Compress all unwanted research/class directories to
make space. Back up all your pictures.

10:11 Admire pictures. Begin work. Realize you need references.
Realize its too late today to go to the library. Sudden feeling
of having wasted the day.

10:49 Sudden feeling of possibly having to waste the night. Decide to
turn in early and come back very early tomorrow morning. Decide
to play a Tetris on the system to put yourself in a good mood.

11:15 Play game after game after game to improve your score and get on
the scoreboard. Realize that your office mate is still at number
6, two notches above you on the scoreboard.

12:20 Play until you beat your office mate into the 7th place. A sense
of achievement!! Yes, today was not wasted!! Return home to find
your roommate watching David Letterman reruns on NBC. Tell him
about the "hard working grad student day you had." Discuss
philosophy with roommate

1:09 Think about becoming a philosopher and dining with 4 others.
(The Dining Philosophers problem, hee hee Smile (Comp Sci joke)

Argue with him about politics, why people prefer Japanese
cars and whether it is better to set the heat to "hot" or "cold"
to defrost the windshields faster.

1:49 Realize neither of you have bought milk today. Get reminded
of the "too much milk problem"

2:04 Forget about getting up early. Turn the phone ringer off and
go to sleep.