Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Christmas letter for your family

A Chemjobber Christmas tradition, updated for 2023. Send a PDF to your family - try it, it works! 

December 20, 2023

Dear family member:

This holiday season, your relative is in his or her fifth/sixth/seventh/_______ year of graduate school in chemistry. This is a delicate time in your students’ lives -- please make interactions smooth for all by following these simple suggestions:

  1. Please supply lots of fresh fruit and vegetables -- they are in short supply. 

  2. Do not offer pizza, which is an all-too-common part of their diets. 

  3. Sleep is a rare commodity in graduate school; please turn down sheets and fluff pillows. Be prepared to see them about 24 hours after they get home.

In attempting to communicate with your graduate student, please avoid asking the following questions: 

  1. When are you going to finish? 

  2. What can you do with your degree? 

  3. Will you be the kind of doctor that helps people? 

  4. Can you make Ozempic? I heard there’s a shortage. 

  5. There's a clinical chemistry department at my hospital -- can you get a job there? 

  6. Why do you need a postdoc? Haven't you gone to enough school? 

  7. Did I hear your paper was on PubPeer?

  8. MEGABIOGENE has opened a facility nearby -- can you get a job there?  

  9. How about a startup? I hear AI is still hot. 

  10. I see [insert high school rival here] has finished medical school -- how much will they be

  11. Have you thought about teaching? I heard professors have a stable job. 

  12. When are you going to finish? 

In following these simple suggestions, I trust that you, your graduate student and your family will have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Very sincerely,


1 comment:

  1. Amazing how these stay current every year. Well I remember the day when my mom's Uncle Ray decided it was ok for me to go to chemistry grad school when he found out that I would be paid while I was there - the amount didn't matter.

    Happy Holidays!


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