Posted by: unlikelygrad | May 11, 2011

the fountain of youth?

When I was TA-ing last year the lecture prof (let’s call her Dr. Sharp) and I were sitting around one day gossiping about who in the department was retiring/going on sabbatical/etc. Dr. Sharp mentioned that there were more people due to retire soon than I might think.

“You see,” she said, “one thing about academia is that it keeps you young. You would not believe how old some of those profs are. Not that I’m going to actually say how old everyone is…but go look at some CVs. You’d be surprised.” One of the profs she named was Dr. Catalyst, whom I would have put at 55. Surprise! He was nearing 65. Another was Dr. Catalyst’s friend, whom I would have estimated to be 60 tops. Surprise! He was past 65. Then, just for grins, I looked up Dr. Sharp herself; I thought she would be 40 or so. But no, she was 50!

Of course there are a number of people in the department who do look their age. (I won’t name names, to protect the innocent.) But I had to wonder if there was something to what she was saying.

I was reminded of this conversation recently during the last lecture of one of my classes. My prof, who looks like he might be in his early 40’s, closed by saying: “Well! That’s the last class of the year–my 25th year of teaching!” You’ve got to be kidding me.

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