Adjuncts are planning a nationwide walk-out on Feb. 25. In my ideal world, any student seeking a PhD would be unable to register for the GRE or request recommendation letters until they submitted documentation that they had attended the protests and had written a 5-page essay on “What I learned from attending the National Adjunct Walkout Day protests.” Those seeking a STEM PhD would also be required to spend a day shadowing a disgruntled 6th-year postdoc.
Med schools want applicants to shadow practicing medical doctors to get a feel for what they are getting themselves into. This practice should be extended to all doctoral programs.Here's my suggested list of things that a prospective chemistry graduate student should have to do before they sign on:
- One full iteration of "someone should organize this flammable cabinet" at group meeting.
- Be forced to have a 20-minute conversation with a 5th-year graduate student that stayed up all night running a column and rotovapping fractions.
- The discomfort on a PI's face when asked "so where have your students gone over the last 10 years?"
- Fill out 20 applications to various entry-level Ph.D. positions in industry. You cannot leave until the phone rings or you get 5 rejection letters.
- A required signature from the 10th-year graduate student who arrives in the lab at 11 pm each night to work the overnight shift.
- Sign-off from NMR staff scientist, asking "so what do you think of my chances?"
- Required 30 minute conversation with department chair, mostly consisting of awkward pauses.