Wednesday, November 07, 2007


This morning I've been monitoring oncobiology oral exams - an independent monitor is required to make sure that the examiners don't display bias, bully the students or receive any outrageous bribes. Basically all I do is welcome the student, introduce the examiners, explain the interview process, then sit back and try not to look extraneous as the students chatter away about endothelial cells and nucleotide excision repair and the examiners nod sagely.

Since the students are nervous they tend to speak quickly, so I generally lose track around the first use of any word with more than five syllables and ending in "-ology". So about 12 seconds in, on average.

Once the exam in underway I have nothing to do and nowhere to look. If I look at the student, they take it as a cue to look at me, and then I have to look as if I'm following whatever the hell it is they're talking about. Smiling and nodding as if to say, "Ah, yes, stromal carcinomas, hmm," is exhausting.

On the other hand if I just look at the desktop, or the wall, or my paperwork, I can simply think about the things I usually think about: Mystery Science Theater quotes, cocktail recipes and whether or not I left the iron on.


Anonymous Tara said...

Did you?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

I don't know. At that point I got distracted by something about microsatellite instability.

2:22 PM  

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