as the (lab) world turns (episode 5)

Super Bored Grad Student is sitting at her desk working hard on trying to come up with a new idea for her PhD project since her experiment last week so clearly showed that Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor’s miracle treatment that she is supposed to test for her thesis is a miracle dud. In pops Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor (which is never good).

Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor: So have you scheduled more experiments in the new animal species we’re going to use yet?
Super Bored Grad Student (shocked): No…Why would I continue the study when the stuff we’re testing doesn’t work? It doesn’t matter what animal model we use when the stuff just doesn’t work. You should talk to Dr. Happy Surgery Collaborator. He doesn’t think it works either and I don’t think he wants to continue the experiments.
Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor: It has to work. Dr. Probably Fudges Data at Other University uses it and it works.
Super Bored Grad Student: You told me he wasn’t using the same stuff.
Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor: He is.
Super Bored Grad Student: No. His stuff is produced somewhere else.
Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor (so clearly lying): No. I checked with him. It’s the exact same stuff. It works in his rodent model.
Super Bored Grad Student (sarcastically): And rodents have the exact same physiology as the much larger closer to human physiology animals we’re using.
Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor: Well, you have to do it or else you won’t finish your thesis.
Super Bored Grad Student (to self): DUH!!! But getting no results whatsoever and proving that something does NOT work is NOT a thesis. They won’t accept that. (to Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor): How can it be my thesis when it doesn’t work?

Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor storms off into his office and slams his door (who’s the professor and who’s the immature student here?!) and proceeds to call Dr. Happy Surgery Collaborator to bully him into agreeing with him (this wouldn’t be the first time) just to make Super Bored Grad Student look stupid (although who really looks like the idiot here? The grad student or the immature professor that just has to be right even when he’s not and turns everything into a pissing contest even though he should be older and so above such things?). Dr. Happy Surgery Collaborator must see Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor’s number on his caller ID and doesn’t pick up. That doesn’t stop Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor, of course, who sends out an email demanding a conference call on the matter tomorrow.

Super Bored Grad Student is so screwed. But she’s not going down without a fight. She sends Dr. Happy Surgery Collaborator the results in graphical form (for faster and easier interpretation while under Dr. Grumpy Old Major Professor’s rapidfire pressure) of all their experiments in the (slim) hopes that for once, Dr. Happy Surgery Collaborator will take her side (which is not likely considering he is paid to do these collaborations). And she will be taking this matter all the way to the person in charge of her program if she has to. She is not going to take 15 years to finish her PhD just because her Grumpy Old Major Professor refuses to admit that he’s wrong. But this battle has taken its toll on her. It’s been over two long years. Two long years of getting absolutely nowhere and being yelled at for trying to get somewhere, for showing an inkling of free thought (which was what she thought PhDs are supposed to do). She’s a feisty one, but she’s beginning to be worn down. We can see her frustration as she whips out her Nintendo DS Lite and begins to furiously play Trauma Center.

Tune in next time to see if Dr. Happy Surgery Collaborator takes her side or if Super Bored Grad Student will have to resort to blackmail to get her PhD.

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