Monday, July 7, 2008

Ask Dr. Cog for All Your Relationship Advice

We've discussed in the past how I'm interested in the search phrases that bring visitors to this here blog. Often some poor soul is seeking advice, knowledge that I feel I should provide, even if it is only "what is the stupidest question ever asked" or "is a B minus a bad grade." And today's question truly inspired me, leading me to wonder if I could not perchance use my 95%-completed Ph.D. to help the afflicted and stricken who so desperately need advice, for my advanced degree to mean something good rather than something irrelevant evil.

Periodically, when my mind accidentally lights on something particularly loathsome I wonder, how does one become a pundit? WTF kind of qualifications does one need to make 100K a year, besides the ability to be convincingly loud and a blowhard on every conceivable topic? Why, I surely could pontificate emptily on all subjects at least as well as any pundit and for only, say, 80k a year to start with even! (*Note: offer is null and void if the President of the University of California job comes through.)

But now I realize my true calling, which is not to be a beacon for the many but a helper, a guide for the few, those unfortunates who have dilemmas, who are lost and confused but can still get it together enough to search the internet, albeit not with any sort of spelling skills.

In the past, I have turned my beneficence towards those who wished for guidance through the tangled maze known as the job market. There are many such helpful screeds in my archives. So, not today will I answer such impassioned pleas as "how to get a teaching job with no experience" or "why can't I get a prestigious postdoc." No, today this Cog has been intrigued by the following, possibly metaphysical, question:
do women like grad students
Hmm. What a fascinating area of contemplation you have opened up here! I am sure you have already considered this preliminary hypothesis, that indeed there are many types of women, and many types of grad students, and that surely some subset of the former does, indeed, "like" some subset of the latter. No no, I understand you have already worked through these preliminary mental maneuvers, and that you have arrived here for the perspective of the Cog, for something straight from the horse's mouth, as it were, if you were to substitute "woman" for "horse" and promise to never, ever again make such comparisons in front of a feminist.

For, in truth, I am a woman! And I do like grad students! Some of them quite a bit! I would even venture so far to state that certain types of grad students I don't just like, but like like, if you can here catch my drift and special use of the "language of the school yard," as it were, which I think you can, considering the situation you appear to be in and your preferred method for seeking out advice. In fact, I like my grad students to be as grad-student-ly as possible, and, considering that I am a 95%-completed-Ph.D. advice columnist who is soon to be famous, I must humbly say that I am quite a catch.

I would even go so far as to suggest that perhaps you are pursuing the wrong subset of "women," or perhaps are falling into the null space between "not-at-all-like-a-grad-student" and "the-epitome-of-a-grad-student," and thus not appropriately niche marketing yourself. Are you presenting your non-grad-student qualifications to the grad-student-liking women, or possibly the mad grad student skilz to the non-grad-student-liking women? Matching desired skills to the appropriate demographics is highly important, you know.

Or perhaps, I delicately suggest, you are not working hard enough on your grad student skills, that you are resting on your laurels, as it were, thinking that mere enrollment or passing some comps would be enough to attract the true grad student fetishist? There is, I might point out, currently quite an oversupply of grad students at the moment, as the many posts here about the job market will testify.

The discerning liker of grad students is a true connoisseur of grad student-ness, wanting to enjoy the subtle variations in research and writing rather than accept simply the mere presence of grad students. Can she be sure that you will please her in the archives, that you know your way around her microfilm machine? (Here, go drop off these ILLs before you start transcribing those fiche.) Can you balance the difficult task of simultaneously meeting her needs in research (you'll need this bibliography) and teaching (the red pen is behind you) while still having the stamina to produce excellent writing for extended periods of time? (I'm on a deadline on that last chapter, you know.) Talk is cheap; CVs are easily compared. You will have to prove yourself, to do whatever it takes (dishes, laundry, dry cleaning? Be creative!) to make sure you stand out from the rest of the pack.

So, anonymous internet questioner, be bold! Dream big! Reach for the skies! Just be sure to have those books highlighted and back here by five, because I that's when I need you to de-worm the cats.


Flavia said...

Sis, I am no longer a grad student. But I think I might love you. Please tell me: do I stand a chance?

Ancrene Wiseass said...

To any winsome young graduate students longing to learn whether women like them, I'd like to offer the chance to win my affections through ironing. I have quite a stockpile upon which some ambitious lad might prove his mettle.

Bardiac said...

I'm no longer a grad student, but I'd follow up Ancrene's offer for some dishes, vaccuuming, or laundry...

Belle said...

And for those out there seeking solace and grace from a more mature cog in the academic world, I offer my place. No de-worming, but the litter box is back there.