Rent Or Conference Registration? A Guide For Graduate Students

Lazovich, T., Ito, R., Springer, D., Island, J., Singh, A., Graham, L. et al

As an institution of learning and research, the university expects all of its students to attend research conferences all across the globe in order to increase its prestige. These events provide an invaluable opportunity to network, present your research, and learn from others. However, we wanted to make it clear to all of our students that we will not, under any circumstances, prepay your conference registration fees*. 

We understand that these registrations can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. But if we were to pay these fees for, say, one thousand graduate students a year, this would constitute 0.0033% of our 30 billion dollar endowment. This is an unacceptable expenditure. Instead, we expect all students to decide whether they would rather pay up front for a conference fee, airfare, and hotel to attend events several months in the future, or “pay rent” and “have enough food.” 

We recognize that these are real tradeoffs for some students, and therefore we have put together this helpful set of guidelines so that you can maximize your academic opportunities.

Find Outside Support

 It’s important for scholars to have outside financial support like grants or rich relatives. Do you have a rich uncle who might be willing to cover the fee for you? If so, go ahead and ask them! We’ve attached a one-sheet with the benefits of conference attendance to this email. If not, consider begging a random rich person for funding.

Crowdfund Your Project

Websites like GoFundMe are a great way to go on the internet and ask total strangers to support you, but they aren’t set up for scientific research projects. Luckily there is a workaround! Simply put a picture of your poster looking a little under the weather, and watch those sympathy dollars flow in! Or if you’re feeling saucy, make an OnlyFans account and snap some exclusive content of your poster in some hot lingerie.

Enact Your Squatters Rights

Do you really need to pay rent this month? Some cities let you miss two months of rent before you get evicted. A few nights on a friend’s couch would totally be worth it if you get to meet your field’s rockstar scientist for 3 seconds!

Intermittent Fasting

Only eating ramen from 12pm-8pm for a month would likely free up enough cash for this. Or make something fun out of the black crust in your microwave. Don’t worry about starving, just think of all the free finger sandwiches at the conference!

Audit The Conference

Fun fact! For the price of a lanyard and some paint, you can actually attend any conference.

We thank you for your perseverance as we continue to navigate this time of budget cuts and hard decisions. Good luck advancing your career!

*Also, reimbursements will take 6-24 months to arrive. If you graduate before then, tough luck.

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About Author

Tomo Lazovich

Tomo Lazovich is a research scientist by day and comedy writer and performer by night. His work has appeared online at McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, and Robot Butt. He also writes a monthly satirical column for Funny-ish called Our Dystopian Future. He regularly performs improv and sketch comedy in the Boston area and has studied satire writing with The Second City.

About Tomo Lazovich 5 Articles
Tomo Lazovich is a research scientist by day and comedy writer and performer by night. His work has appeared online at McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, and Robot Butt. He also writes a monthly satirical column for Funny-ish called Our Dystopian Future. He regularly performs improv and sketch comedy in the Boston area and has studied satire writing with The Second City.