Saturday, September 15, 2012

maybe it's hopeless; maybe i should just give up

i haven't had a decent meal in way too long. i haven't had a decent night's sleep in even longer. i am extremely frustrated with this whole school endeavor thing that i stupidly took on. all of this makes me grumpy. i am also dangerously close to feeling sorry for myself, which is probably the number one thing i hate in the entire world (even worse than tofu and mixing up your/you're), and that makes me even grumpier. i want to sit in a corner and cry and throw things and rant and sleep and eat and i can't. this was basically a disclaimer/my excuse for why this post might bounce between whiny and angry. i will try to keep it from doing that, though.

so yesterday i go to see my phd adviser (after he ignored my emails for a week and i practically had to beg him to see me). i've discussed a potential dissertation topic with my forensics professors and we reached one that was interesting, doable, timely, and addressing an actual topic that actually needs addressing. (instead of another one of those stupid projects that only interests and is useful to the four people who work on it.) so i sit with my adviser and tell him my project. after i describe all the chapters i would include and give an overall summary of the whole thing, we have this conversation:

him: *sits smiling*
me: so... what do you think?
him: *still smiling*
him: how would you write five technical papers on that? and i mean, the law stuff? you would have to talk to a lawyer.
me: well, we actually took all of the law stuff concerning this topic in my classes so i should be okay.
him: *smiles*
me: so you don't think it will work?
him: no.
me: okay, well... do you have any ideas for topics?
him: *smiles*
me: (about ready to smack the smile off his face) you said you were working with another student doing forensics. am i allowed to ask what his project is?
him: *smiles* *thinks* blah blah blah... a bunch of things i didn't ask about the student's history... file system forensics. but it's a lot of programming.
me: oh. i don't program.

then he went into an explanation about the problems with mason's IT department. (did i ever mention on here how the rest of the engineering school always looked down on our dept? yeah, they hated us. apparently they also hate the forensics department because most of them are not phd people. stupid pretentious professors. i'd choose a class with a forensics dude over them any day of the week and would learn way more.) eventually he stops and i ask him if there are any programming classes he'd recommend.

him: oh no, it's not something you can take a class in. you would need years of experience programming. this is a problem we face with most people who come up from the IT dept. they don't have the background to do a phd.
me: so there's no other option?
him: if you don't do programming then you would do theory. but you'd need years of experience with that and we don't have any classes that teach deep enough theory to help with a phd. *smiles*
me: so what am i supposed to do?
him: well we did have one student who did really well in his classes and passed all the qual exams. he didn't know much programming and he worked really hard for a year. then we all realized that he didn't have what it takes and he quit.
me: um.... okaaaaay. (so much for inspiration.) so what am i supposed to do?
him: *smiles*
me: okay, thanks for your help.
him: you can try talking to people in the electrical engineering department. i don't know them, but maybe they won't need you to do programming.

and then i left. feeling way worse about this whole thing than i did going in there. and the professor with a phd with an actual interest in this stuff was hired in a weird way and not allowed to be on committees. and the other guy that was my adviser for my masters is apparently retiring and can't be on any committees. and all of the forensics people are not allowed on committees. and i am so totally screwed.

*Maybe - Sick Puppies


  1. my pre-professional advisor is like that. he gave me depression junior year.

  2. this guy is giving me depression now. people like this should not be allowed to talk with students.