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There are two kinds of grad students. There’s the kind of grad student that gets up early, and there’s the kind that gets up at two in the afternoon. I was more of the one to get up early in the morning. There used to be a grad student house; it was maybe a mile away from here, called Hawthorne House, that I lived in for seven years. A surprising fraction of all grad students in my day who went through this Department lived in Hawthorne House at one point or another.
Usually we would have a class or two, somewhere in the morning. It depended on when the faculty member decided he wanted to teach the class. So you’d take a class or two; you’d maybe be working on problem sets or something he would give you.
Otherwise you’d be working on your science. Usually what happened is you signed up with an advisor somewhere, and he would have some projects you were working on. What you’d do is you’d go to a computer or you’d go to the lab and you would start working on making incremental progress on whatever you were doing.
I was working on solar system dynamics. I was working on the computer code, or in some cases I’d just go in the library and read papers and other things. That actually takes up a lot of your day. With that, you’re joking around with your friends, you’re having fun, you’re seeing what other people are doing, you’re talking to them about their research.
On a normal day, usually you’ll see grad students working late. Sometimes you’ll go out and play volleyball or basketball or something around five or so. Not everyday, but a surprising number of days, you’d go out and have a beer or two. Especially at the grad student house, because all the parties were focused there.
If there was a push on, often you would see people here late at night. If there was a test the next day, or you had some project you had to get done, or you had to give a talk or something, then you’d be working very late. You’d see people here roaming around at midnight. There’s also, again, these night-shift people. Some of them were observers, so they got used to working nights. Some people would be here at three or four in the morning, so they’d just work all night and sleep during the day. It’s a very strange schedule.
But that would be our day. If there was something going on among the grad students, we’d assemble usually at the grad student house and sit around and drink beer and do whatever we want.
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Department of Planetary Sciences
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
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