Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Talking shop

This is a funny story but for non-academics I may have to explain why it's funny:

I'm taking a fitness class at the university rec center.  Coincidentally, a fifth year grad student in my research group is taking the same class.

Just before class yesterday, she and I were doing some warmup stretches and discussing how funny it is to still get crystal axis directions confused even after working with alternative crystal orientations of a hexagonal wurtzite crystal structure for years.  (Blah blah blah, technical lingo, etc.)

A younger girl warming up nearby overheard our conversation and commented, "You two must be in the same major!"

HA!  Undergrads!

Why this is funny:  
Graduate students and post-docs refer to their field by "department," and if you want to get more specific than that you refer to "whose research group are you in." 

I haven't referred to my field of study as my "major" since my undergrad days.  For some of us that's a long time ago, and talking about majors just sounds silly and childish, like wearing a backpack, taking classes, or caring what your parents think about your life choices.

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