Before the Kardashians were exposing themselves (ahem) on TV, the U.S. had Hunter Thompson exposing the Hells Angels and Woodward and Bernstein exposing Richard Nixon. Roguish Irish journalist Donal MacIntyre exposed the British underworld and even New Zealand had hard hitting investigative journalism in the form of Target exposing the tastiest corn-chips.
This time the tables have turned on the Graduate Research School when charismatic megafauna, World Wide Fund for Nature mascot and undercover bear, Panda B. Ear, spends time inside GRS. What Panda finds inside the Clock Tower may change you forever*.
In a two part exposé, first as a doctoral candidate and then as a member of staff, Panda puts the spotlight on Otago University’s support for thesis candidates.
* The chances are slim to vanishing.
This is Part One of Panda’s story…
Given that there were no current vacancies in the Graduate Research School, I decided to go undercover as a student first. My rugged good looks mean I am hard to ignore. I stayed up late reading about total fraud and has-been, Winne-the-Pooh; this gave me that haunted dark-circles-under-the-eyes look that so many grad students seem to have. I blended in perfectly and no one noticed anything amiss.
I’d heard that the Manager of the School was good for a chat so I went to see her about my “thesis”.
I discovered I could talk to her forever and soon I was telling her about how I didn’t feel like I fitted in and that my supervisor did not realise how rare and precious I was. I explained that sometimes the University feels like such a zoo; I’m unique, don’t treat me like one of the pack!
I also asked for some Excel advice and for some help with some quadratic equations. To be honest, she was completely useless regarding the latter issues but she did help me to stop being so black and white. I knew I’d said too much when we explored my bamboo habit and my relationship with my mother. I’ve never known such tiredness.
I’d found out all I could about life as a doctoral student. GRS’ most heinous crime was in its choice of marshmallow confection. I sensed there was more to this story and I started to plan how to get behind the (frankly crazily high) reception desk.
Panda B. Ear