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Getting my MIT Ph.D continued (II) 精选

已有 4125 次阅读 2017-11-10 20:27 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:科研笔记

Partly due to the reception of his first article about earning his Ph.D,  my friend Art Chen wrote a sequel to the article below which contains another life lesson that I totally agree with and tried to practice to the best of my ability.  

Earning my Ph.D. (cont’d) -- How a Secretary Helped me

Art Chen

My piece on Larry Ho’s blog http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=1083829 received many readers.  So I thought it may be interesting to share some additional stories  from my life. This one is the continuation of my previous piece  on my path to earn a Ph.D. from M.I.T.

Before I entered the Ph.D.program I was in a work/study program,  which cumulated in a combined B.S./M.S.degree in five years. I had  completed my M.S. thesis with a project at Bell labs and was  finishing my fifth year. However I needed three additional credits to fulfill the official requirements for a M.S. degree. Thus I took a small self study effort with the senior professor to earn the few needed credits. The subject was superconductivity.

Near the end of the academic year I became ill and was in the  infirmary when I received a surprised visit from the senior professor. He then proceeded to give me a short oral exam on the subject. Like many or few students, I had put  off in the study and hoped to cram for the subject in the last few  weeks of the term – but was interrupted bymy illness.  Thus I  did not answer the professor well.

So he said to me, “look you have not done the work and you cannot  get your degree until you finish – next year.” Since I did poorly I  could not complain.

A few days/weeks after I got out of the infirmary and saw this professor down  the “infinite corridor  (MIT's famous walkway that connects every buildings on the campus)”. He stopped me and said “you should go out and  buy a nice present for the senior secretary in the graduate office”.  He explained that the secretary had told him that as I was admitted  to the Ph.D. program why hold up my M.S.  degree for the measly three credits. So he gave me the credits  and I graduated on time. I of course bought a very nice present for the  secretary.

I think from then on this professor thought that I was a little lazy  and thus also gave me a hard time in my thesis defense.  As I wrote in the previous piece, once my thesis was accepted as a peer reviewed article in the Physical Review, this  professor had to accept my Ph.D. thesis.

Lesson: always treat everyone well, especially secretaries.  I always do in life. You never know who could have influence in decisions that may affect your future. Who knows what was the senior professor’s story during his student days at the  graduate school atM.I.T.”  And don’t depend on cramming for the next exam.

Current perspective: I havebeen retired for over 22 years. Before I retired, GE started a 360-degree review process in which enable  your  subordinates to provided reviews on your performance as well  as your boss. This is similar to students providing feedback to  professors. So now all of us will be facing reviews from “everyone”.   Now there are no “secretaries” but executive assistants. But,  organizations still depend on these people to keep organizations  running smoothly. So their opinions still count.

10/7/17




http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-1084717.html

上一篇:The Last Challenge to Earn My Ph.D. From MIT
下一篇:Luck and my MIT Ph.D Saga (III)
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