Day: September 20, 2018

To Advise or Not to Advise

Last year was good in terms of grants, so I am entering the next three-year period well funded (knock on wood). I also have a relatively new group, with only one senior person and the rest are brand new or only a year in. I have enough funds to cover everyone for the next three years, and also funds to pay self summer salary and not stress out about going on a yearlong sabbatical next academic year. The group members seem bright, content, and jovial.

Then comes an additional student who wants to join the group.

Pro: He seems to be really strong in math and physics and really into the type of stuff we do. Based on what he’s done so far, he might be an outstanding talent.

However, there are two cons.

Con 1: He is extremely uncommunicative. I don’t know if he’s shy, socially awkward, terrified of me, or perhaps he’s simply not neurotypical. My students who met him all brought this up with concern. He has serious issues respecting personal space (stands really close to people), which really weirds me out. Honestly, I don’t know that I have it in me to deal with all this.

Con 2: I didn’t actually plan to hire anyone else. I would love, for once, to not have to stretch every last penny until it breaks. I want to pay myself more than a month of summer salary and not always have to use that money to cover additional students instead.

Basically, he might work out great, but it would be tough money-wise (not so much tough as not as relaxed as I’d hoped) and I have serious concerns about my ability to work with this kid and about his ability to become part of the group.

Esteemed academic blogosphere, what say you? Would you take a chance on this kid or not?