PhD Comics – Dante’s Inferno (Academic Edition)

Hat tip to Gorden for sending me this PhD Comic from last week. Dante’s Inferno tells the (largely invented?) story of the nine pits of hell, and it has been recreated by Jorge Cham just for graduate students! I believe that according to Dante, a sinner is meant to spend eternity in only one of these circles, but to be honest, I have committed all of these vices at one point or another in the past academic year (with the exceptions of levels seven and nine), and I think that I am currently inhabiting levels one, three, and eight simultaneously this summer.

Limbo (Directionlessness), Gluttony, and Fraud. Even at the best of times, my doubts get the better of me, and as I endure the hellish summer heat of Korea that grows worse and worse with each passing day, I resort to gluttonous over-consumption at my local Sulbing — a popular chain of Korean shaved ice cafes, or Baskin Robbins, known here in Korea as 베라! Ha. I kid, but really, I do often wonder what I’m doing here.

Indeed, my summer is not going exactly as I had planned. Suffice it to say that I had two main goals for my time in Korea, and only one of them — the less important of the two — is currently on track to being accomplished. Depending on how you look at it, that could be fine (you win some, you lose some), or it could be 50%, which is an F. But I think I’ll be all right. A part of me is dreading leaving Korea, where I am otherwise having a great time, to go back to full-time classes and research. But I’m also beginning to look forward to the beginning of a new school year. I have a little less than one month left here. 시간이 빨리 간다! Here’s to making the most of what’s left and gearing up for what’s to come.


Word of the Day: paraclete, from the Latin and Greek for “comforter” or “person called in”, refers to the Holy Spirit when used in the context of Christianity, but more generally can mean a mediator, advocate, or helper. It appears most often in the Gospel of John and in the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, but is otherwise an extremely rare and recondite word. Why bother with it? I don’t know… Perhaps a bit apropos of my earlier discussion of hell, I think I really would like a paraclete to help me with my research, to get in touch with my advisers on my behalf as I am too scared to do so myself, or maybe just to buy me some ice cream.


About Andrew C.

I'm a grad student at UC Berkeley.
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