Monday, October 13, 2008

The Sound of Your Advisor's Voice

Is it a good sign or a bad sign when you don't recognize the sound of your advisor's voice?

My advisor made a cameo at the (mandatory for grad students) department colloquium today, newborn in tow and toddler presumably left at the nanny. I didn't notice this before the colloquium began, possibly because she was not yet there to notice; she and her husband have a history of arriving 5-10 minutes late, but I myself was only just in time and was focusing on finding an empty seat rather than documenting attendees. So when questions began, there was a moment of puzzlement: That voice sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it. Even when I turned around, identified my advisor, and tried to make the connection, the voice sounded just a little off. It's only been six weeks or so since she last came to lab meeting, and I don't recall any such oddity when she returned from her first pregnancy. I had no problem identifying her husband's voice, which I'm much less used to, but then that voice is distinctive (read: loud).

The extremes of bad advising would seem to be when you cringe in fear at the sound of your advisor's voice, and when it is completely unfamiliar. This falls somewhere in between, on the side of unfamiliarity. Am I happily independent, or slightly neglected?

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