Now the Student Has Become the Master (an "Ah, hell..." moment)

In honor of the music meme that has made these few days of blogging so much easier, I was tempted to title this "Maybe I'm just like my father: 2 bold." The sense that we become our parents - or our advisers - is palpable.

Plus this way, I can reference kung fu.

When I was in grad school, one of the ways I came to choose my committee was to watch how various departmental members behaved at the defenses and presentations of others. At the Ph.D. level there was never a question of who my adviser was going to be though. My work was close to what my adviser's was and far from what anyone else did.

At defenses, my adviser was known - or I knew - did two things: make faces at answers they didn't like and, sooner or later, ask the same question. It isn't to say that they were a one-hit wonder, though they were pretty entrenched in a particular view of the world. But the question was about something they saw as fundamentally lacking in most critiques of things (at least in American critiques). Sometimes the question was more valid than others. But you could count on it happening.

Back here in the present, where I've earned my wings and am advising my own monkeys, I just found myself writing the same question on my best student's paper. And though it was appropriate - and my advisee started it - still, I have a slight chill. I guess I'll just hope that my dragon style is up to the task.


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