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20:19 - Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
running into old grad school friends in the elevator
They want me to ask about their thesis. Do they want me to ask about their thesis? I dreaded people asking me about my thesis. We all practiced ‘elevator pitches’ for this moment, whittling our days down to fifteen seconds. For me, it was a fabrication, and something told me that for everyone it wa a fabrication, but I never knew for sure, since you can’t just go around asking people if their lives are a lie, constructed to sound impressive in elevators.

I used to think this was a grad-student-only question, since it’s all a game of selling yourself to get funding, but it’s, I think, a people-who-have-to-look-competent-and-important-for-a-living thing, which, really, is almost everyone.

Anyway: do I ask them the question I used to dread?

The other thing is, I don’t care about their thesis. What I care about is whatever they really want to talk about. Whatever they secretly wish I would ask them. That’s what I care about.

How’s your advisor, have you advanced, who’s on your committee, what’s your research on now?

I 99% think those are questions everyone else dreads answering too, but then I see a huddle of them in the kitchen talking earnestly and intently about Latin American conflicts with beers in hand, and I have to think again.


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