Today was a very abnormal day. Instead of having class, I had an on-campus conference to attend. The Journalism department hosted a really great event on political communication (which is right up my alley). We even had a professor from the department presenting late in the day. An even bigger surprise was that a professor from a really great university in a neighboring state was closing out the conference.
This is simply not just any professor. This guy is a badass in his own right. He used to teach at my university but went on to greener pastures. He has been published numerous times, and he knows my undergrad advisor, mentor, friend. They publish a lot together. They do a lot of projects together, and now I met him. I met this really great guy. At first I was sad because it seemed like he didn’t give 2 craps about meeting me (despite my saying that I was a student of ____). Here I was – hoping to make a connection that may lead to research glory, but it didn’t seem like it was meant to be.
Apparently at some point during that beautiful 9 hour long conference, he had inquired about me to another professor in the department (one I don’t know well because she has been called up on high (administration)). She admitted that she didn’t know me very well but that she has heard great things about me. This was enough.
Following the conference, I found myself in the company of him, the chair of the department, the graduate chair, and a couple professors. We were chit-chatting. The visiting professor asked me about my interests and whether or not I knew R (the statistical programming language/software) and I was able to say yes. I told him that I had been well trained and was interested in political communication.
I was then asked by the chair of the department to go out to dinner with everyone. I said that I could but that it wasn’t necessary to extend the offer because I felt like I would be intruding. He dismissed my concern and we all went to dinner. We went to a fancy restaurant. I ordered $15 chicken (which yes, I realize isnt all that fancy but in this state and at grad student pay, that’s expensive). It was simply delicious and the most amazing thing I have ever eaten. We had great conversation and laughed. It was fantastic to be around these people. I felt like I belonged.
I was asked to keep in touch with the visiting professor as we parted ways. I hope that this is the beginning of a fruitful relationship that yields research glory. In any event, I went out with professors as the lone grad student who was invited. I AM A BIG BEAR!