Les Miserables Look Down, Look Down the PhD Version

In the opening scene of the new Les Miserables movie, Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) is one of many shackled prisoners trying pulling a large ship into a dry dock during rough seas. The work song, “Look down, look down” is quite dramatic and the whole scene is cinematically spectacular and a powerful opening to a great film.

After reading the latest edition of PhD Comics’ parody of Les Miserables, I thought back to the opening scene in the movie and the prisoner work song. The song’s parallels with PhD student life were striking.

Thus, in the sprit of the the PhD Comics parody, I present a PhD student version of “Look down, look down”. Apologies to Victor Hugo, and all musical productions of Les Miserables.

Look down, look down
Don’t look em in the eye
Ad-vi-sor comes
Don’t let em see you cry

Look down, look down
Your funding’s gone away
No grant renewed
You’ll have to stay T.A.

Look down, look down
Rejected you have been
Reviewed with scorn
Submission number ten

Look down, look down
Your data seems all wrong
Your test has failed
Your research takes too long

Look down, look down
No correlation here
P value high
This is your greatest fear

Look down, look down
Your findings don’t add up
Reject H-1
Perhaps you should give up

Look down, look down
Your database has crashed
There’s no backup
Your research has been trashed

Look down, look down
Your thesis is a mess
You can’t finish
You might have to confess

Look down, look down
Your research goals not met
One more review
You can’t defend just yet

Look down, look down
Not yet a PhD
May never come
You’re not as good as he

Look down, look down
Five years are all but gone
Too late to quit
You’ll have to carry on

Look down, look down
Don’t look ‘em in the eye
Look down, look down,
You’re here until you die

Dropbox – A Dissertation’s Best Friend

For the past few months I’ve been greatly enjoying the ability to sync files between my PC laptop, Mac laptop, iPhone and the web and can’t say enough about how excellent Dropbox is.

Dropbox installs on your computer and appears like a folder. You work with it like you would any folder. You can drag and drop files into it, save files directly to that folder, etc. However, when you put files into your Dropbox folder, those files are automatically synced to your secure and private Dropbox account where they are stored offline (and even versioned).

I’ve been using it to backup important documents and also store files I’m actively working on, such as my PhD dissertation – something I want to ensure gets automatically backed up with every change.

I’ve also noticed that I stopped putting files on thumb drives when going between my work, school and home computers. I just store the files I’m actively working on in my Dropbox folder; I load them and work with them from that location. When I save the file, the changes are automatically made available to me on any computer that I’ve installed Dropbox on. So I can start a document at school and then pick up where I left off at home, or vice versa.

It even came in handy once when I needed to show a PowerPoint presentation to a colleague. I didn’t have a copy with me but remembered that it was in my Dropbox folder. So I used the Dropbox iPhone app to load the presentation so I could show it.

Dropbox also allows you to share folders. I’ve started using Dropbox to exchange files with my ecology and informatics colleagues. What’s great about this option is that once someone shares a folder with you (and you accept their invitation), the shared folder appears in your computer’s Dropbox folder and the files any authorized user puts into that folder are automatically synced.

So if I want to share a file with my colleagues, I just save it to one of my shared folders and the file syncs to the web and then automatically syncs with each colleague’s’ computer when they are on the internet. Dropbox even displays a pop-up a message letting me know that new files were added or updated to my shared folders.

Dropbox will give you a 2GB account for free; no strings attached and no credit card required.

Once you sign up, you can invite your friends and colleagues to join and earn 250 MB of free bonus space for each person that signs up. You can do this to get a maximum of 8GB of free space (something that I’m obviously trying to do by posting about it).

But really, everyone I know who’s installed Dropbox has loved its ease of use and functionality. So I encourage you to try it and if you click one of the links here you can help me earn more free space 😉