It is also one of the reasons I am hesitant to donate any money to any of the schools I have attended. I would rather fund my former departments vs. the school, who waste $ on this crap (sports that is). Sorry, just the way I feel.
The other night the school where I got my M.S. call me and actually have the gumption to ask me for $1000 donation! I just laugh at them and tell them that I don't think so. Then they ask for $500. I keep telling them that I have no extra money, especially to give them, and she just keeps on! $250! Then $50. Then 4 installments of $25. NO!!! WHAT DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE WORD NO!! Very annoying.
Enough ranting, check out PhD Comics for more fun!
Tell them not to call you and to take them off their list! Usually they'll do that. I prefer getting that kind of thing in the mail because I can make choices on my own time with no one breathing down my neck.
If they send stuff in the mail, then you can usually specify where you want your money to go to, or contact the Geology Departments or the Library or Something to see if they have funds to contribute to - but only when you feel like you can.
Do grad students make that much because it includes post-docs? As a T.A. I made $300/month - let's see that was before 1980 dollars. For 1975 dollars, $3600 converts to $13,300. Wow! I made more than I thought! (I found a conversion chart.)
I told one of the callers from my alma mater that they should not bother calling anyone in graduate school and asking for money. I'll name drop them every time I get to let folks know what a great geology department they have, but there is no such thing as extra money to a graduate student!
As an assistant curator in a state museum, I make about halfway between the grad students and the untenured professors.
Needless to say, they don't get much from me.
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