Professor Studying The Effects Of Poverty On Depression Still Can’t Figure Out Why His Grad Students Are So Unhappy

Hascalovitz, A.C. et al

Though he has dedicated his life to studying how poverty can cause depression and anxiety,  psychology professor Dr. Henry Bashir says he still cannot understand why the graduate students in his department, who survive on a small monthly stipend, keep reporting that they are existentially sad.

“The alarming rates at which grad students are seeking our non-existent mental health resources has been difficult on academic institutions,” said one anonymous student Dean. “We have instructed several highly paid Principal Investigators to figure out the students’ difficulties, though none of them have figured out the root cause so far.”

Dr. Bashir noticed his grad students showed classical signs of the disorder but couldn’t seem to figure out why. “I don’t see what could be missing from their lives,” stated Dr. Bashir, who recently asked a student to work over the weekend to finish a paper on burn-out. 

“My best guess is that they feel entitled to some reward that they haven’t earned, so they feel bitter and disappointed with scraps that are perfectly reasonable,” reflected Dr. Bashir, who gets free housing from the university. “Maybe they should try practicing gratitude.” 

Grad student Sarah Baker, when prompted for her own point of gratitude paused, then said “I like the journal club because sometimes there are free snacks.” 

“I actually stay after everyone leaves and collect the pastry crumbs to feed graduate students in other departments,” remarked Baker.

Some younger researchers in the field say the root cause of graduate student depression is obvious. 

“The grad stipend hasn’t changed in the last twenty years and living costs have skyrocketed by 350%” said one researcher. “It’s like, duh.” 

When asked if this may play a factor in the student’s mood, the University president Dr. Alima Sindhu said, “we have taken the necessary steps to mitigate this change, such as making filter coffee available in the lab kitchen for free, so I don’t believe this plays a role.”

It seems that, as with most scientific questions, solving a problem like this will require more research.

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About Author

Ann (Chen) Hascalovitz

Ann Hascalovitz is an art and science enthusiast who loves merging the two worlds through music, writing, and comedy. She has a Master's from the University of Cambridge from the department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, and has worked in TV and Theatre, including at the BBC studios in London, UK, and Mirvish Productions in Toronto, Canada. She is passionate about science and political communication and hopes to start her own TV show one day!

About Ann (Chen) Hascalovitz 2 Articles
Ann Hascalovitz is an art and science enthusiast who loves merging the two worlds through music, writing, and comedy. She has a Master's from the University of Cambridge from the department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, and has worked in TV and Theatre, including at the BBC studios in London, UK, and Mirvish Productions in Toronto, Canada. She is passionate about science and political communication and hopes to start her own TV show one day!