Within one week I shall leave my present institution, where I felt severely mistreated around salary payment and work conditions for 2 years, as a postdoctoral fellow.

The PI who signed my contract (theoretically my supervisor) has played passive-aggressive “not-here” all my stay while consistently demanding honorary, corresponding authorship status in any piece I happen to publish, from any source. In fact I had never heard of this person prior to signing my contract from abroad, over which I was dealing with another local professor. They had made some kind of agreement.

Soon I will leave, at the official end of my contract. I am wondering whether I should give this person a symbolic departure gift, especially in front of the other lab mates. I am not culturally hierarchy-oriented but displaying respect to hierarchy is seen as a strong moral virtue, where I am, in China.

Relevant: I am not staying in China, but I might keep in touch with one or two current lab mates after I leave. I am afraid that an act of offering him a gift will communicate a wish to continue “guanxi” which is his understanding probably means I will forever offer him credit over my work, favors.

Please, what do others suggest?

I recently finished taking an undergraduate class and I enjoyed it. I was thinking of emailing the prof and saying this, but I don’t know if it’s appropriate or not, for a few reasons…

1) I would have already said this in the class evaluations, which the prof will read.

2) More importantly, I recently received my final grade and it was good (A to A+). If I email now, it might come off as an implied “thank you” for giving me a good mark, even though I mean nothing of the sort.

My question is whether or not such an email would be appropriate. In the email, I would also express gratitude for the extra effort the prof put in (as they gave me resources to study the subject deeper on my own).

A postdoc has published some works that I am interested. I have some questions about the work, and I would like to share some idea about the topic.

Is it considered polite to send the email to the postdoc and CC his PI? If I email the PI only, I might have to wait for a long time. However, the postdoc could not even be in the city. So I am not sure what is the best and politest practice.

Let me first say that the I am a first semester student studying in North America coming from a very different cultural background, so I get confused as to what would be okay in not just college but also this part of the world. I am reaching towards to the of my first semester one of my professors has really inspired me and I would like to appreciate them. However I am confused if I should just write an email or give little handwritten card/note. Some questions that come to my mind are:

  • Should I give the note to the professor at the end of the last class (would my class mates judge me?) or give it during office hours?

  • I am performing really well in the professors class do I need to wait till the grades are in or is it okay to give it before that?

  • Is it okay to say “I hope I can take another class of yours in the future semesters”

My question might sound silly to ask this but I just don’t want to make the teacher uncomfortable especially since this is the first time for me in college and in such an environment.

Say I got a Master’s degree in Machine Learning and had 3 years experience as a machine learning engineer and 2 years experience as a software engineer. Would it be possible to do freelance/consulting work during the evening after I’ve already put my most productive hours into research earlier in the morning and afternoon?

How likely is it that my time would be better spent wrangling data/reading papers or that my program wouldn’t allow external work such as this?

How about doing this work over the summer while also doing an internship? I’d like to make a little more than the stipend a year to put in the bank, and I want to work in industry research after my phd.

In the French system and other francophone systems, tenured faculty is divided in two categories: maitre de conferences, equivalent to associate professors if I understand correctly, and professeurs, equivalent to full professors.

I’m preparing a list of people for a meeting. I am required to distinguish between no title, Dr., and Prof. The question is simple: should I call the maitre de conferences “professors”? On the one hand, their title is not formally “professor”. On the other hand, their rank is equivalent to “associate professor”, and so they deserve to be called “professor”.

I am interested in a general answer. Not necessarily only for my situation. Call this curiosity if you wish.

I’m an incoming grad student at a US university and I’ve been asked to set up my email alias. The university doesn’t have an explicit policy on what the aliases should look like, but I’ve noticed most faculty and grad students have gone with either of the following:


However, my first name is shorter, available, and easier to spell.
It’s an unusual name in the US (which helped me secure firstname.com), but it’s four characters and hard to get wrong.
Therefore, I’m thinking of going with:


Could that be interpreted as inappropriate/unprofessional/overly casual by some, or would it be fine? It’s one of the top-five programs in economics in the US – everyone seemed friendly on my fly-out and they’re probably among the less formal departments I’ve visited.

I’m an incoming grad student at a US university and I’ve been asked to set up my email alias. The university doesn’t have an explicit policy on what the aliases should look like, but I’ve noticed most faculty and grad students have gone with either firstname.lastname@acme.edu or lastname@acme.edu. However, because my first name is shorter, available, and easier to spell, I’m thinking of going with firstname@acme.edu — could that be interpreted as inappropriate/unprofessional/overly casual by some, or would it be fine?

Recently I have finished my Masters. My relation with my thesis supervisor is very bad. He is a professor. I am very disappointed with his mentoring. He is very lazy and always kept himself busy in works except researching. I expressed my dissatisfaction toward him directly. That makes him furious on me. I have planned to pursue my Masters degree from university in North America region. Three reference letter are required. I don’t want my thesis supervisor as a referee. Other faculty members in our department are agree to refer me. But will it affect negatively in the admission procedure if I don’t submit any reference letter from my thesis supervisor?

I am a master’s student in the US studying international relations, and I had a negative experience in one of my classes last week. It is my last semester of my master’s program, and I feel very exhausted from being a student. I have a story about what happened in one of my classes last week, and would like to know how I should cope in the class for the rest of the semester.

Last week, in one of my classes (in a subject I am not too familiar with), I had to give a presentation based on a paper I wrote. The assignment involved writing a paper based on the course readings for the week that we signed up for and presenting it on the due date. I presented, but I admit that my presentation was quite poor because of my lack of confidence in my paper. This was definitely a situation of the input being much greater than the output, which is definitely one of the greatest frustrations that anyone could ever have. I know that it is a stupid calculation on my part, but I was just planning to present in a dull way so that other people would not ask any questions; the presentation did not seem to be weighted much. The professor attacked my presentation in front of the class and gave it as an example of what not to do. However, I would have preferred that I just receive a bad grade in private, as opposed to having to feel embarrassed in class. I could tell that the professor was quite disappointed. ‘Humiliated’ might seem like a strong word, but I felt very embarrassed and helpless for the rest of class. I am from a non-western culture, and in my culture, it is considered one of the worst insults to publicly embarrass someone; this is done in cases when the person is mean-spirited or it is likely that the people involved will never see each other again. There are three weeks left of the course, and I feel like I would not want to stare at anyone in the remaining class sessions. I am considering training my mind to think of myself as a corpse for the two-hour duration of each of the remaining classes. The papers for last week are already graded, and based on what happened in the class, I am already mentally prepared for the worst in relation to my paper grade.

So, my questions are, is the professor’s reaction common and justified in the US or other western countries in situations like mine across different fields? And, how should I cope for the last few weeks of the semester? I just can’t wait for this course to finish. If such an experience were to occur, I would have preferred that it happen on the last day so that I would not have to look at familiar faces in the classroom ever again.