I climbed into my bed in the lobby of the London hotel under the watchful eye of the staff on the reception desk. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, one of them informed me that a PhD student of mine had checked into the same hotel.
Surely this was a mistake? My student had no need to be in London, and certainly couldn’t afford the room rate. The reception staff passed me a small sheet of paper. On it were notes in my handwriting that included the names of two of my PhD students. Their other guest had used this as a form of currency when checking in.
The next morning at 07:30, my student sneaked past my lobby bed on her way to the reception desk. She was attempting to check out without my noticing. When I intercepted her, she explained her overnight stay was a London lay-over on her journey home to the US for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“Haven’t you forgotten something?” I asked, “Like the conference in a fortnight that you and I are organising?” I had no idea how I would get through the next two weeks without her help.