Mini-column ‘Alison in Wonderland’, published in the Observant, Maastricht
In the library, you can always tell the undergrads and PhD students apart. Undergrads have a neat stack of prescribed textbooks and pretty coloured highlighters, diligently taking notes from the assigned chapters for some well-defined assignment. PhD students, meanwhile, tend to be buried under a pile of obscure books in vastly different fields, desperately seeking some dubious link between, say, the present economic crisis and Spartan military history, French thinking of the Enlightenment or 18th century romantic poetry. Or they have no books at all, and just sit, wild-eyed and crazy-haired, staring manically into space as though the answers are out there, somewhere. There is hope, though. As my supervisor likes to say, after four years, you’ll definitely, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, understand the question a lot better. The answer, of course, is something else entirely.