Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Advising Ape

I told a fellow grad student that I think she should finish her master's and have babies.  I have mixed feelings about it, and I never would've suggested that if she hadn't said that
1) she really wants to have babies, lots of them,
2) she doesn't think she's smart enough to get her PhD, and
3) she's thirty-one.

When she first came to ask my opinion, we discussed the marriage thing, the baby thing, and the PhD thing.  She's as sweet as can be, but I can tell by the way she talks about math that she isn't PhD material.  I'm nowhere near the perfect judge of such things, but there are signs.  I don't love all math, but the area of my focus I truly enjoy.  I get excited about it, and I love to talk about it.  She doesn't have that.

I'm not sure if it's because she hasn't found it or if it isn't in her, but she's out of time.  She's at the crossroads of six more years and no babies (or have babies and flunk out or quit) or one year and babies.  When I asked her why she wanted the PhD, she said for the money.  You don't get a PhD for the money.  You go the easy route and get an Ed.D. for the money.  I told her that, and she seemed to understand and agree with me.

She seemed infinitely happier that someone besides her mother gave her permission to do what she wanted to do.  I'm only a couple of years older, but I have already made the decisions she's facing, twice.  I hope I did right by her.  Hell, I hope I did right by myself.          

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