Monday, March 10, 2008

Overheard in the Office

Grad students in my department have little clusters of offices, and mine is right next to the grad student lounge. I overhear quite a lot when I decide to leave my door open. This is often, as grad students are not entitled to such things as "windows", and open doors alleviate claustrophobia.

This put me in a position to overhear brief comments between two other grad students. In true cocktail party fashion, I was ignoring a conversation until I heard my name. This turned out to be:

"[Grad Student] dominates when she talks, but she doesn't talk a lot."

Blinking (trying to be sure they were talking about me, since my name is rather common), I discovered the discussion was about the dynamics of the graduate student seminars. The seminars are populated by a mix of first- and second- year students, and the discussion was between a current 2nd year (who had seminars with me) and current 1st year (who probably wouldn't recognize me by sight). The 2nd year student wasn't so much complaining as contrasting how different it was (the current 1st years are apparently a quiet bunch who need to talk up more).

I certainly have no problems with the statement - anyone who has sat through a seminar with me would say the same thing, if I didn't say it first. I usually just listen and think, but if I have a point to make I want to make it now and I want to make it clear. It was just an odd moment, mostly because I'm even quieter outside of seminars and was shocked anyone would talk about me in general conversation. Still, it's a reason I keep comments on other people to closed-door situations.

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