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Simple

November 17, 2005

Work

At the moment I'm suffering a little bit due to lack of regular sleeping patterns. It's hard at university to maintain regular sleep, due to the pressures of work and social life.

As an example, I was quite proud to have stayed up until 5.00am on Monday working. I got all the work done that I needed to for a supervision. Unfortunately, having done all the work I got quite bored in the supervision itself, and started arguing with the supervisor...

One of the problems at Cambridge is that the supervisors mostly tend to be young people. Most of my supervisors tend to be PhD students, luckily with a little bit of knowledge, but every now and again you hit a "dud." I have heard of supervisors who only graduated the year before! Although these young people know the course itself quite well, they don't have the in-depth knowledge of the subject which is required for teaching. Often one asks a question and gets blank looks, or an answer which is incomplete but makes you shut up. This was the problem with the chap the other day.

The problem was that he was using exactly the same set of lecture notes that I was, and we often didn't agree about minor points. Time and again we'd go back to the lecture notes and check. He didn't know them well enough to provide answers, and I rapidly lost faith in his ability to teach me anything.

Most supervisors are quite good, however, and some are truly brilliant. In my previous years of university I've had some really good teachers. This year is more of a problem, however, with the department offering 40 or so different courses, making it very hard to find enough people to teach.

I don't know if there's a way to solve my problem at the moment short of putting a lower age limit on supervisors. Young students will always be attracted to the job as it pays a little and helps them through study. Older students, for example Fellows or even Professors have less need of the cash. I always knew the answer would be financial.

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