This week's email brought an avalanche of requests from grad students. Mr. I. M. Smarterthanyou asked when I would "like to meet" to discuss his dissertation prospectus. It seems that he's on a tight schedule and can't wait for the start of fall classes. He also can't imagine that I don't actually WANT to look at his prospectus again.
Another student, who added me to her exam committee a month ago, needs to throw together--overnight--an exam reading list, because she wants to sit for the exam six months earlier than she had initially planned. She can't seem to locate--or plagiarize--the sample exam lists I posted online.
The bane of my existence, Christina Crisismode, sent her weekly "ohmygosh I don't know what I'm doing please help me" message, asking for the umpteenth time for an adjustment to her exam reading list and asking me to administer--and comment on--a series of practice exams. We have been having this same conversation for a year.
My overachieving grad student sent me 6 times as much written material as I had asked him to produce (as if I have time to read it all), and Ms. Lackluster Eagerbeaver invited me to proofread--for the third time--an article she's working on (her citations are still not right and I can't believe that an ABD doesn't know how to use the handbooks).
There was also an email from a student in my fall class, wanting a copy of the syllabus so that she could get a head start on the reading. I told her that the syllabus does not yet exist and that she should spend the rest of her summer doing something else. As a grad student, she should have plenty to do.
My unwritten message to all of them: leave me the hell alone. I've got my own shit to do over the summer. Besides, grad students should be more independent than this. No one held my hand through the process. Is there any way to make graduate education something other than a massive burden for faculty? How do you make grad students behave like grad students?