Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Converting from TA to the more "prestigious" position of an RA is, in reality, no reason to celebrate. As a matter of fact, it is a reason for dismay. It shall be elaborated in the following text.

The people who decide the payscale of graduate students are not professors on a noble mission to spread education to the world. They are engineers with a simple mission: to screw graduate students off as much cash as they possibly can without it fitting the definition of slavery. For slavery is illegal in this nation.

I was a Teaching Assistant till now. The department took care of all my tuition and fee. The tuition is a significant amount: and the univeristy mandates its payment by professors/departments for graduate students. So, the tuition has to be paid inevitably. The fee is less significant: rougly equal to one month's salary. It is "optional" for both the professor or the department to pay this. It was paid last year for me: they were trying to "attract" new students.

So, essentially, the university pays the same amount every month to me (preserving my pay scale). But I have to pay the fee too! And so, the upshot is that I am being screwed off $254 every month. That's a good 20% of my pay. (And my guide notionally thinks that he is preserving my pay-scale).

But I think I should shut up and not complain about this. The conditions of graduate students (assistants) were uttlerly wretched a few years ago. I have heard horror stories of students living 9 in an apartment! I have heard PhD students living with $600 a month. Conditions reminding one of those Chawls in Mumbai.

I'm living more respectably, for sure. I have a bedroom and a bathroom (more or less) of my own. I have a nice car. I have a steady job and an exciting guide. A nice sum in the bank too. No moral authority to complain, actually. And I'm here to work, not to complain about these things.