Keep in touch

At the end of another successful oral exam the other day I shook the still-dazed student's hand and said "Keep in touch, let me know where you end up working!"

I went off for a coffee with my fellow examiner (I was no longer teaching at that school and had we had not seen each other for a while). Over Chai Lattes she asked why on earth I had asked my student to keep in touch. I was a bit surprised by the question, as I do like most of my students, and especially the ones that I have worked closely with on thesis topics. They are nice people, and I really do care where they go, what they do, and enjoy hearing their stories, even if I don't have time to read all their blogs.

Oh, I work closely with my students while they are here, she said, but when they are finished, I cut the umbilical cord. I don't have the energy to keep in contact with so many people.

I don't really think that this costs a lot of energy - they don't normally write me weekly letters, but usually when they change jobs they drop me a line. And when they have a job to offer that fits our profile, they write, too. And if I need someone in company X, after 14 years of teaching, I usually do know someone at the company if it is largish.

Maybe I am just a people person, I like to know people and I like to network.

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