At the end of an earth science lecture last year, an undergraduate student leaned over and started asking me about my fellowship. She was curious how it was a middle-aged guy came to be in her science class. The more I told her, the more questions she had.
So you can take any classes you want?
Pretty much, I answered. So long as the professor approves. Of course, some courses aren’t appropriate — like labs where there is limited space.
And you don’t have to do any of the work?
I couldn’t tell if her question harbored jealousy or concern. Either way, that’s mostly right, I told her. Oh, I do the readings (usually), but not the problem sets or the papers or tests. Except in some rare cases.
And they pay you?