We have received a comment from one of our blog readers, reacting to our article “PhD Comics” (and apparently, to “Sit Down and Write”, too)
“No offence, I love PhD Comics – both the comic strips and the PhD movies – I really do. Jorge Cham and his team have created something unique, entertaining and impactful over the years. I have been following their work for years. However, it also seems to have an effect I noticed among my fellow PhD students. Some people spend too much time identifying with the state of mind of the protagonists, instead of doing actual work.”
One of our faculty colleagues also noted: “I didn’t even know the word “procrastination”, (nor the concept of “procrastination”), until I have read PhD Comics one day. Not because English is not my mother tongue, but I come from a place where people work hard and try to make ends meet, instead of complaining about “First-World Problems” – as they simply do not have those problems. My folks regard university education as a privilege, not an obligation. To me personally, this whole procrastination topic sounds irrelevant.”
We would never throw stones at PhD Comics, because they are great, and we respect their work very much… but you may also find by observing some some of the grad students you know in person, that they would be better off by simply sitting down every morning, thinking in silence, and writing 250 words, no matter what, instead of sinking into self-pity and submerging themselves into the cultivation of that “procrastination” BS and complaining about “how hard the life of a grad student is”.
Some folks in deed seem to think that procrastination can be good for you, it has to be part of faculty life, and talking about it will make them special. No, it is not cool, it makes no one special, and most importantly: it doesn’t help anyone graduate.
To be fair: the phenomenon of cultivating procrastination is not the “fault” of PhD Comics – it is just a comic strip, after all. Nobody’s supposed to rail against the creators of Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, or Dilbert for expressing their opinion, either – but it’s still reasonable to say: procrastination is not cool.
If you think that declaring procrastination “unwelcome” among your colleagues may help raise morale (and awareness): Get an anti-procrastination t-shirt in the PhD Store!