Friday, July 16, 2010


There are many days when being a graduate student feels just like being a member of the faculty. You teach classes. You grade students. You go to meetings. You sit on committees. You research. You write. You meet with colleagues. In each of these ways there is no discernible difference between the one life and the other, save that faculty get paid considerably more. Inevitably, however, someone or something returns you to reality, you are dashed out of your happy illusion, and you run smack into the existence of the hierarchy. This happened to me today, and in order to have catharsis, I intend to write about it.

Gilman Hall is the center piece of Hopkins' Homewood campus. It is the heart of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, though there are never any sciences present in Gilman. No, that lovely building serves as the home of the school's various humanities departments. In the new Gilman, that is the Gilman post-70 million dollar renovation, three of those departments share space. Specifically, the graduate students of the three departments share a lounge and a workspace room. While seated in the lounge this afternoon, I overheard a conversation between a member of our faculty and an administrator from another department. You see, the issue at hand was the large and lovely pantry (complete with fridge, cabinets, microwave, and sink station), which is a wonderful feature of the new Gilman. Alas, I heard, and had later confirmed, that this lovely space was for faculty and staff only. Graduate students were forbidden to use it. The tone of voice of the speaker made it incredibly clear that a hierarchy did exist, and we didn't measure up to the ability to use the "big people" pantry. Instead we have a destitute little unit of our own.

Ah, graduate life. The sooner you are over, the better.

Time to research.

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