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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Plastic mattress

I'm staying at the student housing at Duquesne University and sleeping on a plastic mattress. It's been a long time since I lived in a dorm and I guess I had forgotten how much they resemble white-collar prisons. At least the sheets are clean. My main complaint is that the internet access we were promised has not materialized. First I was told I had to come back on Saturday from 10-6 to get a username and password. Then I was told I had to go to the library to get it. But at the library they told me had to go to the computer help desk which, of course, is closed till Monday. Even then, I will need to find a place to buy an ethernet cable because the stone-age facilities do not include wireless access. Fortunately, the Westin has gotten their act together and fixed their wireless network, which enables me to log on and vent my complaints into the blogosphere. On the up side, the doctoral consortium has been a great experience. Despite having to get up five hours before my normal waking time, I've found the whole event engaging and rewarding. I was the second speaker yesterday and I got a lot of great feedback on my work. It's obvious what's in it for the student speakers: this sort of thing is a rare opportunity to get frank, constructive suggestions about one's work. But what's in it for the panelists? It seems that it's just a selfless act of community service: two days out of their lives exclusively for our benefit. After the talks, the group went out to dinner together and I had a chance to chat with Michael Littman, my external committee member. Even after eight hours at the consortium and two hours at dinner, he wasn't finished but instead headed upstairs to help another student with her slides. My hero.


Blogger Swan said...

I have to agress that doctoral consortiums are an awesome thing. I got lots of great feedback when I presented at one a few years ago as well.

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