3 Questions You Should Never Ask a PhD Student
If you are so unlucky to be the friend/significant other/neighbor of a PhD student, this short list may help you avoid some awkward social terrain:
1. How’s it going?
Terrible. Don’t ask.
Though a more offensive sub-variation of this question is “How’s your paper/essay going?” My paper/essay is going fine because it was 500 words
and I finished it as a first-year undergraduate. I am doing a DISSERTATION. (throws self on floor kicking and screaming in the manner of a cartoon dictator. Makes bodysuit out of puppies)
2. When will you be finished?
As I have told you repeatedly for the last coughcoughcough years, I have no fucking idea. It’s done when it’s done. I am not trying to be coy or zen about this, I swear. I honestly have no fucking idea.
Sometimes people will ask follow up questions like, ‘well how many pages does it have to be?” Again, see my answer to numero dos, part 1. Nobody knows any of this shit. The requirements for a phd are about as clear and factual as a campfire ghost story. In fact, nobody in my department is willing to give concrete numbers. The advice is usually something really helpful like, “it shouldn’t be short. but you don’t want it to be too long either. And beware of a scratching disembodied hand on the roof of your car if you’ve parked at Lookout Point.”
3. No, seriously! When will you be finished?