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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1856864
Phoenix consults his professor about his thesis ideas...
Phoenix showed up early to turn in his graduate statistics homework.  He realized as he glanced one last time at it that he had forgotten to italicize some of his variables.  He decided to turn it in, anyway.  What he was really hoping was that his department chair would be in his office so that he could finally catch up with him.  Phoenix had several issues to discuss with this professor regarding his thesis.  The chair was not in, and neither was the statistics professor, so Phoenix underlined the variables that should have been italicized and wrote a note to the effect that they should have been.  He left his statistics output with his flawed results section in the statistics professor's mailbox and told the temp secretary that he would be back around 1300 to talk to the other professor.  Phoenix drove back home and corrected the mistakes in his results for statistics, printing out another copy to turn in when he went back.  He slept for a bit before playing his guitar and burning incense until it was time to grab some lunch.  He stopped at a fast food restaurant and then headed up to the college.  The temp secretary was about to leave, but allowed Phoenix to stay in the office.  The dean stopped by, asking for the professor that Phoenix was waiting for.  When he finished lecturing, the dean hit him up for a few minutes of his time before his office hours officially started.  Phoenix waited patiently.  He was finally going to get to talk to the chair about his thesis ideas.

Phoenix wanted to talk to the chair for several reasons.  First, he respected that particular professor very much and wanted his opinion and advice on the subject.  Second, this professor would actually offer him some guidance as to how to go about formulating his ideas instead of telling him to go talk to someone else or just look it up like the rest of the professors had.  Third, he was hoping that he could get a solid bead on an idea that would work from this professor, and there was a good chance of that happening simply from the other reasons that Phoenix was consulting him.  Phoenix would not be disappointed.

The chair invited Phoenix into his office and apologized for them missing each other so many times over the last few weeks.  Phoenix quickly got into the subject of his thesis by asking how it was to be registered on the class schedule.  "It gets registered as an internship, and actually another professor supervises that, in addition to the professor you end up working with on your thesis."  That was news to Phoenix.  "Don't do it backwards, though.  I have students come in and tell me, 'This is what I'm going to do and you're going to supervise me,' and their pet project is just not going to work.  So don't do it backwards and sign up for the internship, then try to get a professor to supervise a project.  Talk to the professors first.  Sometimes you might not be able to do exactly what you want to do, but maybe you can get into something that's close."  Phoenix explained that he was not stuck on his idea, by any means, but that he was interested in it because of his own background and due to a conversation that he had had with a physician about the subject.  The chair suggested research that several professors were doing on the subject of stress, which was as close to researching PTSD specifically as Phoenix was going to get.  Phoenix decided to mention his other idea, this one related to Asperger's and autism.  The chair lit up.  Now that was something they could work with and, as a matter of fact, something the entire faculty was interested in in relation to work another student was doing with the board of a company set up to work with Asperger's patients.  If Phoenix could come up with a proposal that would appeal to the interests of this company's board, there was a lot of money to be had for research and the study Phoenix wanted to do.  Phoenix may even be able to take the other graduate student's place on the company's board.  "Then all you'd have to do is get it by the IRB.  Until we have a proposal we can look at and pass around, though, we don't really know what resources you'd need and all that.  If you could get it done by summer, that'd be best.  Then we could pretty easily make it into something that will work, I think."  Phoenix was so excited about the possibilities that he forgot what else he had come to talk to the chair about, but it did not matter.  He had time to talk to him later about whatever it was that he had forgotten.  It would come back to him.

A thesis idea that could actually work was within Phoenix's grasp now.  He was so glad he had overcome his fear of the chair and talked to him.  The fear was not of the man, but of the expectations that Phoenix had for himself.  Again, Phoenix respected this man greatly, and therefore, Phoenix did not want to look like a fool in front of him.  The meeting had gone swimmingly.  Now Phoenix had to come up with a research proposal...
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