In which I blur the line unacceptably

I try to keep a more-or-less sharp division between what I do for a living and what I do on this blog. I am not ashamed of my job (in fact I’m quite proud of it), nor am I aware of any official department policy prohibiting me from sharing my opinions online. I enforce this ‘rule’ about keeping my worlds separate simply because at some point there may be a conflict, or I might piss off the wrong political nutjob, and there will be an exploration of my personal life and my professional life. I’d prefer to give that kind of witch hunt as little ammunition as possible. In fact, if you read the FAQ, I specifically disavow any connection between Crommunist the snarky-yet-perennially-delightful blogger, and Ian Cromwell the person who exists and has a job in meatspace.

That being said, I received some very good news today that I am going to share here because it pleases me to do so:

Dear Ian Cromwell,


On behalf of Dr. Susan Porter, Dean pro tem, I am pleased to notify you that you have been offered acceptance by the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies into the PHD program In Population and Public Health for the 2012-2013 Academic Year with the start date of September 2012, pending the dispatch of our official paper admission letter.

So this fall, I will be joining my illustrious colleague Jen McCreight in the happy throes of grad-studentdom (although, obviously, not at the same school). Unlike Jen, however, my blogging interests and my academic interests have very little overlap, so you will be sadly deprived of the blow-by-blow of the minutiae of life as a student (to the same extent that you are deprived of the facts of my professional life). Indeed, should I manage it correctly, my life will not be changing that dramatically. This may indeed be the last time you hear about my degree plans until I have the thing in my hands.

Anyway, self over-disclosure time is over. Here is a gif that approximates my current mood:

A level of celebration that can only be described as 'excessive'

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  1. carolw says

    Congratulations! I hope you’re either independently wealthy, or like living on peanut butter and celery. Welcome to the starve-y life of a grad student!
    (cyber-handshake and back-pat)

  2. carlie says

    You are so awesome! It’s a long road ahead, but you will easily kick grad school’s butt if need be and come out with some fantastic experiences and knowledge and stuff.

  3. jolo5309 says

    How come you dancing in the gif and you in the picture look so different, I mean besides the beard.

  4. says

    You are so awesome!

    I know this was meant to be a compliment, but I am laughing myself sick right now at the juxtaposition between “being a grad student (again)” and “things that I consider awesome”.

    Seriously though, thank you.

  5. says

    Getting into grad school radically changes your appearance. Before my Master’s degree, I used to be a middle-aged Thai woman. It’s science.

  6. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    This sort of thing happens in grad school. Before I got my Masters I was young and beautiful. Now I’m ancient and decrepit.

  7. Sheila says

    Major Congrats! You deserve them. My secret desire is to someday apply to graduate school myself. My degree is a BS in Medical Technology. I have two teenagers to put through college first though; a daughter who is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major, and a son, still a junior in high school.

    I really enjoy your blog! Thanks so much for sharing yourself.

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Hey, good for you!


    I don’t know if you’ve seen or cared about any of my comments – I’m mostly on Pharyngula, but I’ve appreciated your work and commented here a couple times.

    But I am suddenly more interested: the news hasn’t gone out yet, but I am a candidate for UBC’s Faculty of Law. There’s no particular reason to think that I’m going to get in or not get in – my grades were bad in my first school many years ago, but since coming back to school I’ve gotten one B in 90+ credits. I really think I have a very good shot of getting in… and then, hey, we’d be starting in the same school this fall, though different programs. Might be nice to meet up.

    Please enjoy your high. I’ll stop by to let you know if I got in much MUCH later (the faculty of law doesn’t make decisions til april and/or may. Who knows why.


  9. says

    Are you in Vancouver now? No need to wait until my occasional attendance at UBC to meet up. We’ve got Skeptics in the Pub this Wednesday.

  10. Desert Son, OM says


    I hope the experience proves a great one!

    Still learning,


  11. katie says

    Congrats! UBC is a fant-freaking-tastic place–I was there a few years ago for a conference and hope to come back in some sort of paying capacity soon (depending on whether we lose even more NSERC post-doc funding).

    My very favourite memory is staring in at the whale skeleton at the Biodiversity centre before it opened…and then having some really nice people on the inside let me in for a private tour! Great people, beautiful campus.

  12. thaismcrc says

    Congratulations! I have friends who are professors there. They are truly awesome. I hope you end up working with one of them 🙂

  13. Leni says

    Oh grats! That is really awesome!

    But Dr. Crommunist is way, way too long.

    Docrummist, maybe. Sounds more badass, like a giant communist dyslexic alligator or something. I love it! Grats again!

  14. Contrarian says

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope it’s short and relatively painless.

    (I’m in grad school right now.)

  15. Hank Fox says


    (Sure, go on. Join the ranks of the snooty elitist clique of over-educated academics. This is me driving by in my mud-spattered pickup, yelling “Hey, College Boy! Study dis!”)

  16. says

    Congratulations. Make it fun. (As much as you can.) And try not to feel too weirded out when it’s all over. I still look around for my dad when anyone calls me “Dr. Boyce”.

  17. says

    Congratulations. My own experience with Grad school, albeit at the lowly Master’s level, was that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to say there weren’t some tough times, but it was a great period in my life.

  18. Simon B says

    Congrats Ian! That’s fantastic news! I’ve no doubt you’ll do a fantastic job in your PHD program. 🙂

  19. says

    Have you ever BEEN to Kits beach? It’s wave upon wave of hardbodies in various shapes, sizes, and genders. Bring sunglasses – otherwise you get caught staring. Vancouver is, incidentally, an incredibly gay-friendly city (if you weren’t already aware). You should definitely come visit just to see the city. There’s room on my couch.

  20. says

    Awesome! I was there last Summer at a conference and that’s when I was introduced to Wreck. It was totally awesome because it felt like a secluded wonderland. I’ll take you up on your offer for sure – I just need to sort out an excuse to go. Are there Freethought orgs in Vancouver who might like a visit? I’m heading to WA soon anyway to fundraise for the proposed Humanist Center there…

  21. says

    Imagine No Religion 2 is happening in Kamloops (about 4h outside of Vancouver) in May. A bunch of the Vancouver skeptics are going. Outside of Toronto, I think Vancouver probably has the most active atheist/humanist/skeptic community in the country. We’ve got CFI, BC Humanists, UBC Freethinkers, SFU Skeptics… there’s a whole loose affiliation. If you e-mail me I can put you in touch with a couple of the movers and shakers.

    Oh DUDE! We could do a DEBATE! How fun would that be?

  22. says

    Hahaha, I don’t think we’d have to look THAT hard, and if need be I will pretend to be far more opposed to something than I might actually be. When the chips are down, I can channel Gnu pretty hard.

  23. says

    Fantastic! I’ve sent a Facebook friend request, in case that’s a good way to get in touch. Perhaps we can have a debate, one of us can send an email suggesting the other made concessions, the other can call them a sleazy liar, and we can have a grand FTB ding-dong! =D

  24. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Skeptics in a Pub? Sounds delightful. I need to find community – this sounds fun. Also, I need to find a synagogue where I can go and feel comfortable/comforted by familiar ritual without having the rabbi get on my back because I change the words to the prayers so as to explicitly deny that I’m engaged in actual magic-worship. Ah, the wonders of psychology! But Judaism is still familiar and comfortable to me, so I’ll probably keep going on a semi regular basis for a while yet.

    I have not moved to Van yet, but I’ll be up there for almost 2 weeks starting around the 24th. Is this a “first Wednesday” thing – because I’ll be in Van on the first Wed of April.

    I’m also giving a short lecture at a conference @ UBC on some theoretical work I’ve been doing on how social power is acquired, transferred, used, misused, and normalized. It’s the kind of thing you might be interested in. It comes out of doing work at the intersection of race/ability/queerness/and gender with a side of class – not the focus, but rather discussed more as a feedback mechanism than an independent lens of analysis. Some will disagree with that approach, but I gotta be me.

    It would be wonderful to meet when I’m up there. If not in the last week of March/first of April, I’ll be back in May for Mom’s day to spend the holiday weekend with my partner & her kids. I’ll come up Thurs night and leave on Monday, so there’s a bit of time that will be free, but obviously not as much during the coming 2 weeks.

    After that, it’s likely not til July – but that’s when I’m moving up there….

  25. says

    There are several SitP events. The one I go to is the 1st Wed of every month (except in April I am playing a show with the band that Wed.).

    Definitely let me know about your conference/lecture. Assuming I can get away from the office (if it’s during the day) I’ll be there. If not then, July is a’coming

  26. mynameischeese says

    Congrats! I’m doing a PhD at the moment as well. Judging from the comments, it looks like you might as well do a PhD, if only to fit in with your readers.

  27. daenyx says

    From a second-year PhD student – congratulations on your acceptance into our wretched hive of scum and villainy, the “Liberal Academic Elite*!”

    *This word, unfortunately, does not refer to our paygrade. Ramen noodles are thattaway.

  28. Brad says

    Second. This comic strip will soon become a frighteningly accurate depiction of your life.

  29. efrique says

    Congratulations and commiserations both.

    I promise not to ask you how your thesis is going.

  30. Emma says

    Most of me says “congratulations!”, but the grad student part of me says, “RUN!”

    Good luck!

  31. Eric O says

    Congrats! UBC is one of the schools that I’d apply for when I work up the gumption to pursue a Master’s Degree. The BA that I got from that slab of concrete up on Burnaby Mountain is still pretty fresh, though, so I’m just enjoying the fact that I don’t have to worry about term papers and presentations for the time being.

  32. Anna Yeung says

    Congrats Crommie! A fellow PhD student in population health but I’m based in Australia, wanted to do it here instead of Toronto. Am doing my first major milestone presentation next week, professors will be deciding if I’m ready to be confirmed as an official PhD candidate…

  33. Tiffany says

    Congratulations Crom! One time for more education and a vow of poverty! I’m a fairly new (but huge) fan of your blog. However, I didn’t realize until reading this post and your “I quit” post that we’d met last summer at a conference in Toronto. Good luck with graduate school and I look forward to seeing you make great contributions in both the blogosphere and in professional journals.

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