I like dealing with students. They are young, full of…hope, and interested. (I’m lucky, I have a good population to work with). Sometimes you get tired of the same old, same old questions “Dr. Z, how do you know that’s a liver cell?” and the same old answers “Because that’s what a liver cell looks like.” Sometimes you get the cool, neat-o questions from out in left field, and a totally new way of looking at problems.
Graduate and professional students are also slightly older, and are paying for their education themselves. Therefore they have skin in the game. But they are still young, and youth can lead to bad decisions. I recently came across the student of a colleague of mine, a young woman, who put her telephone number on-line to get as many amusing voice mails as she could. She wanted to post the voice mails online. This concerned me.
I usually try to act as if other adults are competent, and can take responsibility for their own actions. I suppose it is sexist on my part, though that this bothered me. I’m a big, ugly, armed, full adult male; and I consider putting my personal contact information on line…unwise. (bloody damn stupid, if you ask me). The Shadow asked “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” I’ll tell you, anyone who has worked in the criminal justice system, that’s who.
Now, with licenses and other stuff, five minutes work will come up with my contact information, but you don’t need to borrow trouble. For a young (and naive) woman to do that? That seemed even more unwise. The Internet is forever, and people must be careful about bad judgement. Not only for the trouble that it can get you into now, but also in the future. “Well, it seemed a good idea at the time,” sounds kind of lame. Particularly as a response to the question “What were you thinking?”
UPDATE. I spoke with my colleague, who spoke to the student. The phone number was that of a pre-paid single-purpose cell phone, thank goodness.