Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's to rambling!

Well, so if you are really really sure I can ramble on I'll do it!! Thank you so much for the comments girls, we'll see how it goes with some normal posts then.

Work is really busy at the moment, you see, although exams only happen in December, staff have to submit exam questions in early October (4 weeks into term!) for the external examiners to review them and come back with comments. This system is ridiculous of course (how can someone in a different Country appreciate the type of questions you prepare and judge if they are appropriate without knowing the content of the module??) but it has to be done. And so we rush. Rush to prepare exam questions even before you'll know what you will teach during the semester, rush to comment on the external examiner comments, correct your questions (here is not like in the States, students must be given options within a question so that they can pass knowing 40% of the contents...ridiculous), rush them to the secretaries for printing and then rush some more when your colleagues do not stick to the deadlines and you look bad too. Ah well that's done now.
But the most demanding thing now is my research group. I have a 7 PhD students at various stages and 2 Post Docs. 3 of the students are finishing up and have started writing their thesis and one of them is having a nervous break down. Seriously. She is such a bright student, so mature for her age and in a day she turned into Satan. Still seriously. She wasn't herself, she was very aggressive with me (the boss!!!) and absolutely out of control. Believe you me girls, I actually didn't know what to do. After a few days she improved a bit and I waited a few more days and then talked to her. The poor thing was in tears every few words, she's worried she's in fact breaking down, she can't sleep, can't work or not work, she realises there's something wrong with her and doesn't know what to do. Needless to say I'm very worried for her. She's been my first student and it's like a daughter (now....I'm not that old!! and she's not young enough to be my daughter, but you know what I mean), she'll be going to the UK for a post doc, and she'll be alone over there. I tried to be very supportive, she was so apologetic and so on. I mean...I cannot go and phone her mum up can I? I'll keep a close eye on her though, hopefully she'll ake the advice of going to see a doctor soon.

Tomorrow I'll upate on the house!


  1. So good to hear how you're doing! I've missed you! Your student sounds like a heartbreaking case - she reminds me of an employee we've had working for us. I hope she gets the help she needs! Thanks for your kind post recently, my dear. XOXO

  2. Further proof that you're just as awesome and caring as I always think, Fran! I hope that your student takes your good advice and gets some help. I'm sure it has been a help knowing that you're there for support.

  3. I love your stories...about work, home, anything! Wow, all the rushing! Although the exam process is different here, I think professors still go through a lot of turmoil. I had to laugh when you said the student is so bright and mature, but in a day turned into satan. That had to take you by surprise! Some students are book-smart but have few coping skills. So good of you to try to guide her and comfort her. You may not be old enough to be her mom, but your ability to nurture is evident.

  4. Sounds like a very stressful time for you. Your students are very lucky to have you. Wishing you and your students the very best!

  5. Oh the poor girl! Is there student counselling that she could go to? It sounds like she needs some professional help. I think it's great that you are there to listen to her and worry about her.

  6. You sound very important:) what do you teach? Some kind of science methinks! Good for you! The exams sound like typical bureaucracy too - boo!
    My dear, you are such a sweetheart to worry about this student. I gotta tell you, as a psychiatric social worker, this girl needs serious help now. Nervous breakdowns don't just go away. Many serious mental illnesses have an onset in late teens and early twenties. Early intervention by a team of professionals is what is needed. I don't know what your average student counseling center is like, but unless they have a really good psychiatrist I would give them a pass. You're in Dublin, right? I am sure there are some excellent doctors there. She needs a psychiatrist and a therapist/ counselor / psychologist and / or a social worker- and some really good support. And I think you should tell her that you are worried enough to call her mother. I doubt there is a rule against that. Sorry for the lecture but that happened to two people I know at University and it took them a long time to get help. And many of my clients got sick at this age too. Many of them are doing very well- but they got help. Okay, off my bandwagon now! Pls feel free to email me if you feel like it:) (((hugs)))

  7. Hey Sweetie....Just stopping by to let you know I was thinking of you. :)


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