>So one of my grad students is spreading bullshit. S/he’s telling other students — who are then telling me — that s/he got into a very prestiguous Ph.D. program, with a fabulous fellowship, all within a few weeks of submitting the application this semester and then having a phone interview.
Um. Where do you start with “that’s not how it works”?
And that’s the problem I have. I really couldn’t care less that this particular student is parading around like a peacock based on total fantasy. Heck, it might even have the benefit of giving hope to our often self-defeating students. But the thing is, this story is not how it works (especially given the school s/he’s bullshitting about). And my students already have enough crazy misinformation and bad advice running around in their heads as it is. Knowing some of my students, if they submit applications and don’t get accepted until March, they might spend the rest of their graduate careers thinking they weren’t as nifty as the bullshitting student. Or, if they submit applications and have to wait until March or April, they might have neurotic fits of insecurity in the meantime. Seriously, the more neurotic fits I can head off at the pass, the better.
With the two students who told me this “news” about the bullshitting student, I had different reactions. To one of them, who’s a pretty reasonable person, I said, “Really?? Because that’s not usually how it works.” I’m pretty sure that planted enough doubt in her head that she checked things out for herself. And then the other student was so wowed by the very idea of fellowships that I decided to steer the conversation to that.
And maybe I just answered my question, which was what the hell to do about this, if anything. Thoughts?