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Author Topic: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week  (Read 13507 times)

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Shopaholic

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Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« on: November 24, 2011, 08:38:10 AM »
1)
I met an acquaintance in the elevator at my university today. His wife works with my husband, and we are in the same general field, went to the same alma mater.

I said "Hi! What are you doing here?" in a casual manner.
He replied "Visiting, what are you doing here?" in the same casual, jokey manner.
I replied" A PhD."
His companion, whom I have never met, said "If I were you, I'd go with 'riding the elevator'."

I don't know if she was implying that a PhD is nothing to be proud of, or if my current university is nothing to be proud of, but I was speechless.
Acquaintance then said "So, what stage are you in?"

2)
BG: The entire building shares a dark room. It is built to accomodate more than one person at a time, and the common course of action if the room is in use is to knock on the door, and it is opened as soon as the lights can be turned on. For the use the dark room is intended, if there is only one person using the room, this should be no more than a few minutes.

I had to wait for 10 minutes this week for the room to free, this means that my experiment was wasting away...
After 5 minutes I knocked for the second time, and got some very annoyed banging as a reply.
After 10 minutes the door opened, and it was only two women who were obviously working together.

I said "You know, this room is intended for multiple users. It's not like a bathroom stall."
Woman A turned to Woman B and very audibly said "Meow!"

I resisted the urge to reply with "Woof! Woof!" and went with the much more mature silence, but I really don't think she cared.

Shores

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 08:44:42 AM »
Interesting. In the first, it sounds like the companion may have felt you were being a bit show-offy. You could have just said "I go to school here" or "I have class here" but answering with "a PHD" after the other person has said "visiting", may have come off a bit superior, depending on the tone.

In the second, I'm sorry, but YOU come off as the one with the attitude. Obviously they were in the middle of something if they were unable to open the door to talk to you. A dark room is designed so as not to let light in, correct? It's possible opening the door may have ruined whatever they were working on, which is no less important than whatever you had to do. And simply because you've never worked on something that takes more than a few minutes doesn't mean that such things don't exist. Your story reads as though you bit their heads off before they could apologize or explain.
Wherever you go.... there you are.

Larrabee

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 08:45:12 AM »
For incident 1, I don't think the companion was implying you shouldn't be proud of your PhD, more that it may have come across as a little, perhaps boastful?

I don't think you were wrong, but maybe next time go for something like "Oh I'm just on my way to the lab to check on my experiment" and then the other person can ask a follow up question if they're interested in hearing about your studies/work.


For incident 2, they were definitely incredibly rude.  The meow is just, wow, these are adult women?

Although I'd be tempted to say 'Is there a cat loose in here' and start pretending to look for it, what I might do in future is instead of the second knock to call through the door 'How long do you think it'll be till you can open the door?  My experiment is a little time sensitive'

Maybe you could go to someone in authority at the university and ask them to clarify the rules of the dark room and maybe put a sign up/send out a mass e-mail, then there can't be any confusion.

Shopaholic

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2011, 08:57:02 AM »
Interesting. In the first, it sounds like the companion may have felt you were being a bit show-offy. You could have just said "I go to school here" or "I have class here" but answering with "a PHD" after the other person has said "visiting", may have come off a bit superior, depending on the tone.


I didn't mention this earlier, but acquantaince has a PhD himself, and last time I met him we spoke about my PhD. It's a university, after all. A good percentage of who you meet either have a PhD or are working on one.

Phoebe

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2011, 11:17:39 AM »
In the first incident, my first (and only) impression is that it was meant to be a joke...you *were* riding the elevator, after all.  I can see myself saying the same thing.  In fact, if I'd been you I probably would have said "riding the elevator."  ;D

In the second, I'd say you were both rude, but the women more so.


rain

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 11:52:55 AM »
um....  :-[ am I the only one who took/read "doing" a PH D as sexual comment?  :-[
-maybe the other person took it the same way I did


In which case (to me) the elevator remark made sence
 
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Sharnita

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 12:10:09 PM »
um....  :-[ am I the only one who took/read "doing" a PH D as sexual comment?  :-[
-maybe the other person took it the same way I did


In which case (to me) the elevator remark made sence
It was not just you

Shopaholic

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 12:18:33 PM »
um....  :-[ am I the only one who took/read "doing" a PH D as sexual comment?  :-[
-maybe the other person took it the same way I did


In which case (to me) the elevator remark made sence
It was not just you

Lol! We weren't talking in English, though, in the original it couldn't have been construed that way ;)

I do admit I was a bit, er...catty, with the dark room remark. I've been using these rooms for a good number of years now and no one has ever made me wait for 10 minutes, nor have I ever made someone wait so long. You know the room is communal, and you make the necessary adjustments to be as accomodating as possible to others.
But the "meow" remark really surprised me.

TurtleDove

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 12:47:03 PM »
Interesting. In the first, it sounds like the companion may have felt you were being a bit show-offy. You could have just said "I go to school here" or "I have class here" but answering with "a PHD" after the other person has said "visiting", may have come off a bit superior, depending on the tone.


I didn't mention this earlier, but acquantaince has a PhD himself, and last time I met him we spoke about my PhD. It's a university, after all. A good percentage of who you meet either have a PhD or are working on one.

With this additional information I think you come off as intentionally boastful since he already knew you were working toward your PhD.  I would imagine the person who commented about "riding the elevator" was irritated by that.  To me it would be like me running into someone when I was in law school and bragging to them about how I am in law school.  Um, yes, almost everyone in this building is.

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 12:53:49 PM »
In the first incident, my first (and only) impression is that it was meant to be a joke...you *were* riding the elevator, after all.  I can see myself saying the same thing.  In fact, if I'd been you I probably would have said "riding the elevator."  ;D

In the second, I'd say you were both rude, but the women more so.

I agree with this 100%

If the women had called out "Just a minute, please" or something else to indicate they knew you were waiting, it would have saved all the hard feelings.

Arizona

Shopaholic

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 01:53:52 PM »
Interesting. In the first, it sounds like the companion may have felt you were being a bit show-offy. You could have just said "I go to school here" or "I have class here" but answering with "a PHD" after the other person has said "visiting", may have come off a bit superior, depending on the tone.


I didn't mention this earlier, but acquantaince has a PhD himself, and last time I met him we spoke about my PhD. It's a university, after all. A good percentage of who you meet either have a PhD or are working on one.

With this additional information I think you come off as intentionally boastful since he already knew you were working toward your PhD.  I would imagine the person who commented about "riding the elevator" was irritated by that.  To me it would be like me running into someone when I was in law school and bragging to them about how I am in law school.  Um, yes, almost everyone in this building is.

You and I must come from totally different places because I don't see telling someone I'm a grad student as boastful. Especially not someone I know from undergrad who already has a PhD. Especially not at a university where 30% are grad students, 30% are med students and 30% are faculty and staff (most of whom already have a PhD).
Amoung my friends and acquantainces saying "I'm a PhD student" is not boasting. Saying "I've got a job." is much more so.  :D

hellgirl

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 01:56:49 PM »
Well, now I feel awkward. I've told plenty of people I'm doing a phd when they've asked  about my official occupation (I'm more obviously a sahm) and never thought of it as boasting. They asked, I told them what I do. Honestly given my rate of non-progression it's more a source of embarrassment than pride for me, and while this may be a cultural difference, it's never been something to be burstingly proud of - it was the qualification needed to do the job I wanted.
At uni saying I'm studying seems somewhat redundant and not very informative - it's a uni - unless you're teaching you're probably studying.

Now I worry I've been boasting all this time for honestly answering a question.

The first guy was rude - if only for making a joke that you weren't likely to get.  I read it as he was joking, knowing the futility etc often felt by phd students (a la Piled Higher and Deeper comics), but it's not something you joke to a stranger about (if nothing else it's often bad form to disillusion newbies!).

In the second case they should have acknowledged you were waiting at the very least.

hellgirl

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 01:59:28 PM »
snip... and last time I met him we spoke about my PhD. ...
Quote
With this additional information I think you come off as intentionally boastful since he already knew you were working toward your PhD.  I would imagine the person who commented about "riding the elevator" was irritated by that.  To me it would be like me running into someone when I was in law school and bragging to them about how I am in law school.  Um, yes, almost everyone in this building is.

Or it meant they spoke about her starting one, and she was letting him know she'd gone ahead with it.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 02:01:03 PM by hellgirl »

TurtleDove

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 02:03:48 PM »
You and I must come from totally different places because I don't see telling someone I'm a grad student as boastful. Especially not someone I know from undergrad who already has a PhD. Especially not at a university where 30% are grad students, 30% are med students and 30% are faculty and staff (most of whom already have a PhD).
Amoung my friends and acquantainces saying "I'm a PhD student" is not boasting. Saying "I've got a job." is much more so.  :D

I maybe wasn't clear.  I do not think there is anything particularly boastworthy about getting a PhD, especially when talking with other people who have or are working toward a PhD.  I am saying that the fact you mentioned that you were working toward a PhD, while at the school, to someone with whom you had already discussed this fact, made it appear as though YOU believe it to be something to boast about, otherwise, why would you mention it?  He already knew.

Shopaholic

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Re: Two silence-inducing incidents from the university this week
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2012, 02:13:20 PM »

I maybe wasn't clear.  I do not think there is anything particularly boastworthy about getting a PhD, especially when talking with other people who have or are working toward a PhD.  I am saying that the fact you mentioned that you were working toward a PhD, while at the school, to someone with whom you had already discussed this fact, made it appear as though YOU believe it to be something to boast about, otherwise, why would you mention it?  He already knew.

OK, I think I understand what you're saying now. I said it in a "stating the obvious" kind of manner. It also seemed that he didn't remember who I was at first, so I later reminded him how I know him.

I think his companion's comment was odd because she doesn't know me and I wasn't talking to her.
I felt her comment was kind of derogatory - for one of two reasons:
a) she considers choosing to do a PhD a bad idea - in that case, well, no one asked her.
b) she considers my department to be a bad place for graduate studies - then again, no one asked her.

And it's always possible that she just has a lame sense of humor and I'm totally overthinking this.