Monday, May 12, 2014

Your Auntie-Advisor

Sometimes I’m auntie-advisor. Not for my own students, of course—because I’m their advisor, not “auntie-advisor.” But for others’ students, auntie-advisor is a great role to play.

When you’re from where I’m from, auntie and anti- are homophones, and that’s just as well, because auntie-advisor and anti-advisor are both relevant descriptions.

Your auntie advisor makes no demands, sees and appreciates all of your hard work, and cheers on your every wonderful scientific progress and outcome. I never had an auntie-advisor when I was growing up as a grad student, but I love being one for my colleague's students in my dept. and those that I meet while visiting colleagues' labs on the road.

As you progress, there will always be plenty of colleagues who will dole out constant criticism, might show you the exit door, will be hard on you, and demand more and more. Of course I can add to that--I've been trained to do so! But who is around who will only be supportive of all of your efforts? Understands the hard work and occasional misery? Empathizes with the human investment of trying to achieve at the pinnacle? Your auntie-advisor of course!

I’m sure it will be even more-so when I become Grandma-advisor. 
Can’t wait.