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Grad school advisor retiring, student wanting pictures/messages

As I was composing this post in my head I mostly made my decision, but what the hell, I'll run it by you all just to make sure I'm not being terribly rude.

I completed a graduate degree in 2004. One of my co-advisors for that degree is retiring this year. His current student contacted all of his past students via email, including me, asking for pictures or messages to be included in a printed and bound book for his retirement.

I did not keep in touch with this advisor after I gradated. It wasn't a close mentor/mentored relationship. It wasn't awful, it just wasn't anything. He was chair of the department while I was his student and I feel like I fell through the cracks. Of course a bad case of procrastination on my part didn't help much either.

I haven't responded to any of the student's messages yet and I'm leaning towards not responding. I might have pictures on an old hard drive somewhere but I can't remember and I haven't taken the time to dig it out.

Or I think I could send a message of "Best wishes on your next adventure!"

I'm feeling slightly guilty as the student sent a follow up message, which to me suggests people haven't responded.

What would you do?

Re: Grad school advisor retiring, student wanting pictures/messages

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I agree with @sparklepants41 and her wording of the message is appropriate. I think if you just ignore the request, you are being rude since this student has no idea of your relationship with the professor.

  • @sparklepants41 has it right. Keep it simple or just politely decline. This is pretty common in academia to reach out to former students, so if you don't really have anything to say, just decline. 
    short+sassy
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