Last April, my adviser (that’s, like, your boss in graduate school) informed me that he didn’t think I “had it in me” to finish a Ph.D. and that he was washing his hands of me. He then ordered me out of his office with a grandiloquent, “Thank you, Mejs!”
In the fifth grade, I once forgot to do my spelling pre-test. The teacher wrote my name on the board. I nearly toppled from mortification.
The good news is, I was not nearly as mortified at the prospect of being kicked out of graduate school. I think this shows great personal growth.
But despite my “God’s in his Heaven, all’s well with the world” approach, I was pretty sad. I was never going to be an expert on using satellites to study rivers and coasts. I wouldn’t finish reading the 3,000-page journals of one of my favorite authors (she who wrote “Anne of Green Gables”) on the eighth floor of Davis Library. The ragwort in Coker Arboretum would still blow, golden and tipsy, every spring — but it wouldn’t be mine. And I would never again write a Daily Tar Heel column, and I think that made me most miserable of all.
I had to find new advisers or else. I went through the list of professors I could possibly ask and shrank within myself. At least one of them knew me only as the “weird one who never opens her mouth.”