Friday, February 10, 2012

the "little girl"

A few month ago a new PhD student started in our group and as she decided to work in my field I became her co-supervisor. She is pretty smart and picks up new stuff very quickly. She is always well prepared for her meetings with our professor and gives nice talks in the group seminars, where she appears as very confident about her topic. But beside this "confident PhD student" there as well exists the "little girl". As soon as her talk is over the "little girl" takes over, which means, she does not just walk back to her seat, but she sort of runs with tiny girl steps. Sometimes the "little girl" even shows up during meetings and makes the "confident PhD student" press her hand on her mouth, giggle and blush for no specific reason. But what concerns me the most is that, even though the "confident PhD student" asks all sorts of questions about her project and even defends her ideas, when the boss doesn't agree right away, the "little girl" is too shy to tell him, when she literally doesn't understand a word he says, because her English is not yet good enough. So she sits in our meetings and smiles and nods, just to ask me directly after the meeting what the last 10 minutes were all about.

Luckily, she is at least not too shy to ask me about it later on, but I really wonder how I can move her, to tell us right away, when we talk too fast, with too much accent or just not accurate enough. 

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