Friday, December 01, 2006

D-6, pt. 2

The department hosted a late Thanksgiving dinner, buffet style, tonight in one of the classrooms on first floor of our building. I was sitting with two of our research group's newest group members and talking about our usual business when suddenly came Dr. Y claiming a seat next to me. I've known her all these years. Come to think of it, my brain started turning into a mushier mush sometime around my taking the first Chem E class during sophomore year, the one she taught eight years ago.

We never talk about anything more than classes and school and work in general. When we passed by each other in the elevator, in the hallway, it was always with the "Hi, how are you? I'm fine, thank you, how are you?" But tonight, the catching ups were beyond the usual.

We talked about our school branch in Q*a*t*a*r, how she spent a full year preparing class module and designing the accompanying lab. She actually got to teach one semester there. "It was a lot of hard work, but it didn't work out. I just gave up the idea to ever teach in there."

And then we talked about her home country.

"Say, Dr. Y, is the Blue Mosque in Turkey?"

"Ah, you must be watching the Pope visit."

"Yeah. Really the mosque is so beautiful. But the Pope, hm, sort of not very welcome there? I mean he didn't really smile or his body language, it looks like he does not belong there." (I had read a piece by a German journalist the other day, describing the less friendly atmosphere surrounding the visit)

"I too watch the program every night. The last Pope was more popular. He kissed the ground. This one, he didn't. The last one was also more charismatic, he smiled a lot. This one, not so much. So, maybe that's part of the problems." She elaborates.

Somehow the conversation sort of turn into more personal topics, both ways, if you must know. Here is just a part of it.

"Is your daughter still in med school? John Hopkins isn't it?"

"Yes, she is. And it's Cornell. She almost graduates, at least I know she already has enough to graduate. In their field it takes seven years to get a PhD."

"Oh, she is on the PhD side of med school...how cool."

"And Cornell med school is actually in the middle of Manhattan. They have subsidized apartments right next door to the campus. That's where my daughter lives."

I was all wide-eyed by this story of a young woman, pursuing a PhD in a respected major in a top notch school, in the middle of Manhattan.

"Oh wow. What was her undergrad on?"

"She was a double major in UT in Cell and Molecular Biology and the other one was in Liberal Arts."

"Gosh, she's one well rounded person. That is one very interesting resume."

"I know. But sometime, you have to get in touch with reality, to graduate and to get a job. She can open a consulting business and start to make money. It seems that school is dragging her too long. I hear that in that major they have to take a Post Doc afterward. The money is a little bit better than being research assistant, but it is still not a real world, you know. Ah, I just don't want to think about it now."

"Hmm....she must be my age."

"How old are you?"

"Twenty-seven."

"Yes she is your age, and the same problem too."

"I know I should've gone straight instead of getting that master's first."

"Yes you should. It wouldn't take that long for engineering."
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From these snippets of conversation, my point across is that profesor itu manusia juga. I used to think they are a breed of superior beings who always happen to achieve success without being emotional about it. It turns out they have simple aspirations, they weep over failures, and they too act like any normal parent.

4 comments:

nadia said...

are u gonna be a prof? :P

Xinda said...

NOOOOOOOO. I'm not qualified anyway. :)

kodoque said...

holy shit. PhD. Med school. Cornell. Manhattan. Double major. Liberal Arts. HOLY MOTHER!! *cross my heart*

belajar nya itu gimana yaaaaaaaaaah? ada yah org2 hebat spt itu...you included kak...

Xinda said...

What more could we expect from her. It's in the gene, in the environment, Mom and Dad are both professors...HA HA HA.

and I'm definitely not one of those kind of people. But you ARE! Look at you, 21 and almost with a Master's degree among other stuff going on with your life. :D