Urk. I just committed an academic no-no. I’m innocently walking down the hall returning from the little girl’s room when I see one of the grad students standing in the hallway outside the large meeting room. He’s nicely dressed and rubbing his hands together nervously. Now, five minutes earlier, on my way *to* the restroom, I remember glancing inside the large meeting room and thinking it very odd that that student was apparently giving a talk to such a small (4 people) gathering.

Now I’m walking back and I’m almost about to cross his path when I realize what I was looking at. Either his advancement to candidacy talk or his dissertation defense. And just as I cross his path, his advisor steps out of the large meeting room and says the fateful words, “OK, you can come back in now.”

And I’m doing this inner *facepalm* thing. This is his big nerve-wracking moment, a moment that by all rights should be All About Him, and there I am stepping right between him and his advisor. Just trying to get back to my desk, you know, but… I couldn’t have waited five seconds?? Some moments are just sacred, you know.

At least I realized I was being utterly sacrilegious.

17 thoughts on “Oops

  1. Just trying to get back to my desk, you know, but… I couldn’t have waited five seconds?? Some moments are just sacred, you know.

    Like when you’re an intern, and you get between a General and that critical bathroom trip he needs to take before giving testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee…

  2. A secret about many guys – #2 is often when we achieve the clarity of mind necessary to stand up to such a challenging endeavor.

    Military historians note that Robert E. Lee’s unfortunate condition regarding this particular bodily function may have had a substantial influence upon his rather uncharacteristically poor tactical command decisions during the battle of Gettysburg.

  3. Givenhow there was no blood anywhere near my brain let alone my optic nerves during that time I wouldn’t be surprised if he was oblivious to your prescene. Me, for the masters (the doctorate was different we didn’t have a final one test that I remember), they asked me to leave the room so they could decide they meant go into the anteroom. I figured, they don’t want me here where I could overhear so I’m wandering the hall and they couldn’t figure out where the hell I went

  4. The worst one for me was the orals for my PhD exams. I went way down the hall because I did not want to hear any of it accidentally. A nice long wait. I’m thinking, “Oh, brother!” My advisor pokes his head out of the room and solemnly calls me back. I get in the door trying to act brave. My advisor says, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but.. You’re going to have to write a dissertation!”

  5. It was his Qualifying exam, which makes me feel slightly less bad than had it been his dissertation defense.

  6. Ah just a modicum less stress. My stress is going downstairs to find out why my heater just made an exploding noise that could be felt thru the floorboards. If this furance died again…I don’t know what I’ll do

  7. Yeah, that’s what other folks are saying. Moments like that tend to make your world very small and focused.

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