You and your PhD advisor

(Updated repost.)

Dear academic reader, your advisor was or will be chosen by rolling a one hundred-sided die against a table much like this. You may find this explains many things.

Roll : Result

1-2 : Nice

3-12 : Raving lunatic psycho

13-14 : Serial killer escapee

15-17 : Rubber fetishist

18-21 : Charles Manson

22-23 : Mute

24-25 : Ex-drill sergeant

26-27 : Narcoleptic

28-29 : Affable but clueless

30-32 : Feedbacker (“Ah, but what do you think about what you thought about what I said about your feelings?”)

33-35 : Unstable (“And this form of an integer is, is fine, because it decomposes better than the rotting body of a skinned lady-of-the-evening in a midsummer Tuskegee swamp!” (blinks) “I didn’t mean anything by that.”)

36-38 : Stalker (“This is normal academic supervision. Now proceed with the lady, please.”)

39-42 : Recursion tasker (“Easy. You prove Lemma A with Theorem C, just add that. C is proven with E — add that — that’s a corollary of Theorem 5.1, easy to add, which follows from chapters 1-4…”)

43-44 : Law savvy (“Well, actually, I do own you. Study plan section 5-C.”)

45-46 : Zen (“When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear. You clearly aren’t ready yet.”)

47-48 : Believer (“Problems with your thesis? Let us pray.”)

49-51 : Token hippie (“Turn on, tune in, drop out.”)

52-57 : Fund-a-mentalist (“Ah yes, you… I have funding for you from the Imperial Zoo of Hamburg. The cage arrives tomorrow.”)

58 : Tinfoil man (Has an irrational fear of cellphones and computers. Communicates by slips of paper thrust under his office door. Attends official functions in a tinfoil suit.)

59-61 : Technohazard (He enters your room and your thesis is replaced by the Blue Screen of Death. If you don’t use Windows, a hamster runs in instead, dives inside your machine and spontaneously combusts. Then he asks: “Any new developments?”)

62-65 : Mystic (“I cannot help you. You must seek the answer from Beyond.”)

66-67 : Yoda (“Mudhole? Slimy? My office this is!”)

68-69 : Chewbacca (Has some communication problems.)

70-74 : The Emperor (“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.”)

75-77 : Darth Vader (“You have failed me for the last time!”)

78-81 : Saruman (“And yet you did not have the wit to see it. Your love of the Halflings’ leaf has clearly slowed your mind.”)

82-84 : Sauron (Secretary tells you that “My Master, Sauron the Great, bids thee welcome. Remember, he doesn’t allow his name to be spoken or expressed in any form.”)

85-89 : Gollum (“My preciousss… Precious funding… Gone! All gone! The grad student! We hates it! We hates it forever! It shall pay!”)

90 : Cthulhu (“Ph’nglui mglw’bhok Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” or “In his office at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”.)

91 : Conan the Barbarian (“Black-haired, sullen-eyed, […] a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth.”)

92-93 : Sadist (“Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”)

94 : Proverber (“If you don’t crack the shell, you can’t eat the nut. Understand?”)

95-96 : Lao Tzu (“Wise men hear and see as little children do… Wanna cookie! Wanna cookie!”)

97 : The advisor is dead, but the department can’t afford losing his prestigious name. The secretary recommends using an Ouija board.

98 : The advisor is held in the local correctional facility. He apparently did something to his previous grad students. You have to remove your tie and shoelaces before you’re allowed to see him.

99 : The advisor is a foreigner from Pongo-Pongo. You have no common language, and you have a terrible doubt that he keeps spiders in his room.

100 : The advisor is a difficult person.

4 Responses to “You and your PhD advisor”

  1. Elissa Says:

    You forgot substance abuse!!!

  2. masksoferis Says:

    Substance abuse? Er, I’ll have to remember that for possible later recalibrations of this text.

    (Writes down: “[number] : The advisor is a substance abuser — this, however, is no reason to be (s/gl)ad since this means he daily pours ketchup into his underpants while blissing out over the feeling.”)

    (Continues writing: “[number] : Substance abuser, harmless. While you’re in his smoky office, it seems nothing is difficult and all the secrets of the universe are within your reach, moons and planets of titillating possibilities whirling round and round in your head, emitting blue moans and intoxicating tastes — but when you get back to your room and take up a pencil, nothing but a headache remains.”)

    (“[number] : Substance abuser, almost harmless. Your thesis draft comes back with notes written in some messy red liquid. The advisor giggles, then assures you that he’s not the kind of a lunatic that’d write notes in his own blood. You sigh in relief, but then see his other grad student walking around, looking wan, with his arm in a sling…”)

  3. Allergies - Which Affects the Skin? | Skin Rash Information Says:

    […] You and your PhD advisor « Masks of Eris […]

  4. Narco Says:


    […]You and your PhD advisor « Masks of Eris[…]…

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