Friendship before mentorship


"You should run your startup like a cult" -- Peter Thiel, "Zero to One"

Short version: If you are a graduate student who do not want to become friends ever with your PhD advisor, then my lab is not a good place for your PhD study.

When it comes down to what graduate students to work with, I am very picky.

I believe that a graduate student and his/her advisor (note not a supervisor) should at least be friends. Otherwise, they shouldn't work together. Of course, there are many positions and professional relationships that are not like that. But I cannot work with people who just treat me as another piece of equipment.

By friend, I mean a person that you feel comfortable sharing the following information with:
1. I had a dog when I was 5. And the dog passed away tragically. (because you seek sympathy from a friend)
2. I broke up with my girlfriend last week. (because you seek support from a friend)
3. I got Nobel Prize in 2017! (because you share happiness with a friend, or you just wanna show off)

You don't have to be a friend with me right now. But if you anticipate that you cannot become a friend with me after a semester, maybe you shouldn't walk into my office and ask "Are you taking any graduate students?"

No comments: