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TheSquirrel

PhD student hanging out with MA students?

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It's the fact that you keep calling them MA students, rather than grad students, for example. This alone shows that you think of them as separate from you, and in conjunction with some of your other comments, think that they are below you. We wouldn't have taken offense if you had phrased the problem differently. If you had said "I noticed some of the grad students at my school are immature and I have difficulty interacting with them" it would have taken a completely different tone. Instead you have decided to class them specifically as MA students, yet claim that you do not think all MA students are like that.

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I think your reaction provides a textbook example of the type of MA student I was talking about.

Interesting comment. I actually will be starting a doctoral program in the fall and have the maturity and professionalism not to believe that I am somehow superior to anyone else in my department.

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It's the fact that you keep calling them MA students, rather than grad students, for example. This alone shows that you think of them as separate from you, and in conjunction with some of your other comments, think that they are below you. We wouldn't have taken offense if you had phrased the problem differently. If you had said "I noticed some of the grad students at my school are immature and I have difficulty interacting with them" it would have taken a completely different tone. Instead you have decided to class them specifically as MA students, yet claim that you do not think all MA students are like that.

Yes, I do think they're separate from me. That's why my department has a MA and a PhD program, and that's why my profs have different requirements for MA and PhD students in the same courses. If you have a beef with the fact that there are MA and PhD programs, take it up with universities, not with me.

The gist of my post was about how a good chunk of the MA students (as opposed to PhD students) at my department are immature. I have noticed that this is not so much about individuals, but about career choices -- the people who are doing the thesis option in the MA program are serious, the ones who are doing the internship option are the more immature/gossippy kind. Like I said, I indicated that it might vary from university to university, since my university has that internship option (and in my field, that's very rare). I'm not sure why this seems to be the trend among internship students. It might be the fact that they don't take coursework as seriously as thesis students do. At any rate, I think I made it fairly clear that I am biased in favor of thesis students for that reason. I was not portraying MA students as inherently evil, and PhD students as the good. Geez. As I said, PhD students, too, have demonstrated similar immaturity, but it's been rather rare compared to MA students.

Edited by TheSquirrel

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Interesting comment. I actually will be starting a doctoral program in the fall

Goes to show that some students never grow out of their immaturity. Really dude, grow up, and stop seeing things that aren't there, and picking fights for no reason. It's not fitting for a grad student.

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Yes, I do think they're separate from me. That's why my department has a MA and a PhD program, and that's why my profs have different requirements for MA and PhD students in the same courses. If you have a beef with the fact that there are MA and PhD programs, take it up with universities, not with me.

The gist of my post was about how a good chunk of the MA students (as opposed to PhD students) at my department are immature. I have noticed that this is not so much about individuals, but about career choices -- the people who are doing the thesis option in the MA program are serious, the ones who are doing the internship option are the more immature/gossippy kind. Like I said, I indicated that it might vary from university to university, since my university has that internship option (and in my field, that's very rare). I'm not sure why this seems to be the trend among internship students. It might be the fact that they don't take coursework as seriously as thesis students do. At any rate, I think I made it fairly clear that I am biased in favor of thesis students for that reason. I was not portraying MA students as inherently evil, and PhD students as the good. Geez. As I said, PhD students, too, have demonstrated similar immaturity, but it's been rather rare compared to MA students.

While they may be separate from you in degree status, they are not separate from you socially, and you were asking a question regarding social interaction. Hence I (and others) see absolutely no need for you to have made a distinction.

What are your friendships like outside of school? Do you have any? You general attitude suggests that you look down upon those that don't pursue academia as their main career goal. There is nothing wrong with students choosing a more professionally-oriented Master's degree, and in fact, they might have better job prospects as a result.

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I've gone out for drinks many times with said MA students. I know them well enough. I'm not close friends, obviously. But I think I know what they're all about, judging by their actions. Having some of them around is just like having a walking-talking tape recorder that records everything you say about anything, and then uses it against you when you "stray" from their childish agendas. That's not exactly in tune with my definition of maturity. Maybe it is in tune with your and others' definitions of maturity.

I do not understand. It sounds like you don't enjoy their company. Why are you bothering to ask us if you can hang out with MA students if you dont even like hanging out with them?

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Goes to show that some students never grow out of their immaturity. Really dude, grow up, and stop seeing things that aren't there, and picking fights for no reason. It's not fitting for a grad student.

I'm immature? That's funny...you automatically assumed I must be a masters student because I have a problem with your initial posts. That's not a bit foolish? Someone who is mature wouldn't make such generalizations. As someone who calls themselves a doctoral student, I am very confused as to why you would make such an artificial divide in your initial posts...like others have said, why not simply say that you have a problem getting along with other graduate students...why specifically pick out MA students. I wouldn't be surprised that the problems you have had with MA students in your program are a direct result of the way you view them.

Edited by ZeeMore21

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Also, I don't understand why you are arguing with us. You went on the internet asking for help with a problem you didn't feel comfortable approaching without hearing the advice of others. People gave you their opinion. If you don't like the opinions that you yourself ask for, then dont act on them! Why are you arguing??

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Yes, I do think they're separate from me. That's why my department has a MA and a PhD program, and that's why my profs have different requirements for MA and PhD students in the same courses. If you have a beef with the fact that there are MA and PhD programs, take it up with universities, not with me.

I'm quite sure your department has not prevented you from having social interactions with MA students. Don't try to hide behind your department and tell us that we should blame schools for having a distinction between degrees in the first place. What a silly argument...are you sure you are a doctoral student?

Edited by ZeeMore21

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While they may be separate from you in degree status, they are not separate from you socially, and you were asking a question regarding social interaction. Hence I (and others) see absolutely no need for you to have made a distinction.

My question was about exactly that , and what others' experiences have been like. There was no need for that hypersensitivity on the part of some. Your input is much appreciated.

What are your friendships like outside of school? Do you have any? You general attitude suggests that you look down upon those that don't pursue academia as their main career goal. There is nothing wrong with students choosing a more professionally-oriented Master's degree, and in fact, they might have better job prospects as a result.

Yes, sure, seeing as I have only lived in this city for a year now, I have a fairly good number of friends, from all walks of life. Some of my friends have vocational degrees, and others PhD degrees (or in the process of getting them). As I also stated, I have undergrad and MA student friends, too. I have a certain dislike for those who do the internship option of the MA program in my department (btw, for some perspective, there are only three thesis students in the entire MA program), but that is only because of my not-so-great experiences with them, and not because of their career choices (in fact, I've often said that they seem to be smarter than the rest of us who have chosen academia, because they will definitely have better job prospects). Anyhow, I do talk to them on a day to day basis, and often socialize with them, but after strained relations with quite a few of them, I was wondering if I made the wrong decision, and if I should've kept my distance.

Edited by TheSquirrel

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I'm quite sure your department has not prevented you from having social interactions with MA students. Don't try to hide behind your department and tell us that we should blame schools for having a distinction between degrees in the first place.

I'm sorry -- what on earth are you talking about? Do you even read? You don't seem to be someone who has the habit of reading -- you seem to just pick and choose phrases and take them out of context or say totally unrelated things in reply.

What a silly argument...are you sure you are a doctoral student?

Oh, here we go: the last trick in the book of the desperate: cast doubt on someone's very credibility. Let me guess, now you're going to ask for proof that I'm in a PhD program, that I'm actually in Montreal, and so on and so forth.. Textbook definition of troll. You've finally managed to get yourself onto my ignore list. Congratulations.

Edited by TheSquirrel

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I have a certain dislike for those who do the internship option of the MA program in my department, but that is only because of my not-so-great experiences with them

I don't understand how you don't see yourself generalizing. I do agree with one of the posters who was comparing your POV to that of one with racial prejudices...every person who goes through this certain MA program is somehow automatically seen by you as immature and childish. It really is a shame.

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Also, I don't understand why you are arguing with us. You went on the internet asking for help with a problem you didn't feel comfortable approaching without hearing the advice of others. People gave you their opinion. If you don't like the opinions that you yourself ask for, then dont act on them! Why are you arguing??

Yes, a few people did give their opinions. A few others are trolling. I don't like trolls, if that's what you're wondering about.

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I'm sorry -- what on earth you're talking about? Do you even read? You don't seem to be someone who has the habit of reading -- you seem to just pick and choose phrases and take them out of context or say totally unrelated things in reply.

Oh, here we go: the last trick in the book of the desperate: cast doubt on someone's very credibility. Let me guess, now you're going to ask for proof that I'm in a PhD program, that I'm actually in Montreal, and so on and so forth.. Textbook definition of troll. You've finally managed to get yourself onto my ignore list. Congratulations.

Trust me, that is absolutely fine. This thread is a bunch of nonsense. I think it is funny that you have just made pre-conceived notions of who I am based on my disapproval of your post. Don't be surprised if others take an opportunity to tell you what they think you are.

You are clearly here to find support for your decision to separate yourself from others in your programs. As the majority of posters here are mature, professional, and good people, you won't find that support here. Sorry. Perhaps you will find support in another forum. Obviously, I don't discount that you are a doctoral student...but you are a condescending one at that.

Edited by ZeeMore21

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I don't understand how you don't see yourself generalizing. I do agree with one of the posters who was comparing your POV to that of one with racial prejudices...every person who goes through this certain MA program is somehow automatically seen by you as immature and childish. It really is a shame.

I would argue that most people perform some sort of generalization, whether consciously or not. If you have a negative experience with certain types of people repeatedly, it's not unusual for someone to generalize the whole group. This is rarely done through a conscious decision on the part of the individual to generalize a whole group of people.

You have a continuous habit of getting too emotionally involved in many of the discussions on these forums, and as a result you sometimes fail to construct a strong argument. You have stooped to insulting the OP, which is arguably immature.

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Oh, here we go: the last trick in the book of the desperate: cast doubt on someone's very credibility.

And you haven't cast doubt on the ability of MA students in your program? The hypocrisy is killing me here. I will try to observe this post from the sidelines now, it really doesn't help arguing against someone who has already made up their mind.

I just think it is really unfortunate that you know full well that there are MA students that use this forums, and didn't even think to word the title of your post differently. You have no respect.

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I would argue that most people perform some sort of generalization, whether consciously or not. If you have a negative experience with certain types of people repeatedly, it's not unusual for someone to generalize the whole group. This is rarely done through a conscious decision on the part of the individual to generalize a whole group of people.

You have a continuous habit of getting too emotionally involved in many of the discussions on these forums, and as a result you sometimes fail to construct a strong argument. You have stooped to insulting the OP, which is arguably immature.

I am a passionate person by nature, that is not something I am willing to change. I do regret letting this poster get the best of me, but I don't see how I am being immature. The way he is putting down MA students is just wrong, and having been one myself, I felt the need to say something.

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I am a passionate person by nature, that is not something I am willing to change. I do regret letting this poster get the best of me, but I don't see how I am being immature. The way he is putting down MA students is just wrong, and having been one myself, I felt the need to say something.

I'm not suggesting you change your personality or remove that passion. I am suggesting that when taking part in an argument or debate you take a little more time to fully construct your arguments based on a thorough (and perhaps less emotional) reading of the post you are responding to. This is especially important when using the Internet, because the words you and others use is all there is to go by. There is no knowledge of your personality or tone.

While I do not doubt that you are adept at reading and critical thinking, I sometimes notice your responses fail to show that you fully read and understood the post you are arguing against. It does appear, occasionally, that you do pick and choose which sentences and responses to react to, which does not give credit to the poster's full argument. This in turn makes your argument seem less well thought out, although I doubt that is truly the case.

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I'm not suggesting you change your personality or remove that passion. I am suggesting that when taking part in an argument or debate you take a little more time to fully construct your arguments based on a thorough (and perhaps less emotional) reading of the post you are responding to. This is especially important when using the Internet, because the words you and others use is all there is to go by. There is no knowledge of your personality or tone.

While I do not doubt that you are adept at reading and critical thinking, I sometimes notice your responses fail to show that you fully read and understood the post you are arguing against. It does appear, occasionally, that you do pick and choose which sentences and responses to react to, which does not give credit to the poster's full argument. This in turn makes your argument seem less well thought out, although I doubt that is truly the case.

I definitely see what you are saying and will apply it to my future posts. When I do feel attacked, yes, I do rush my arguments. The OP had made the assumption that I must be a MA because of my disagreement with him, and that did set me off.He should take responsibility for his remarks as well.Though generalizations are common, I don't think it makes them right. I also don't think that using them as a way to navigate academia is beneficial.

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Well, I didn't read much of this thread beyond the OP; it seemed to go downhill. Everything I'll note has probably already been said. You simply can't make generalizations about this. In the OP's particular case, since I believe you were the one I asked about being at Concordia, you just have to look northeast aways (on a Montreal compass, that is) to see what I experienced as a different situation. When I was an MA at McGill, I found almost all the MA students to be serious, dedicated people, and not at all like 'typical undergrads', whatever that means. Graduate students of both stripes hung out together all the time. Granted, there were a number of PhD students which I 'heard about' but never saw around, but that's likely due to their research and where they are in the program. Once you're ABD, not doing coursework, perhaps not TAing, etc., you probably don't have to come to campus regularly, so you're a little removed from the social life of the other grad students and the department. Or you may be doing field research for months at a time in some far-flung region of the world.

In your personal situation, if you don't want to socialize with some particular group because you find them annoying/immature/whatever, then by all means don't. I'm sorry that you feel your school has attracted this bunch. I'd just add that the five or so master's students with which I took the inter-university course at Concordia seemed like good people who were serious about their studies. That was a few years ago, and I didn't get to know them that well, but that's my impression.

P.S. My first impression upon walking into Concordia was that it looked like a high school, especially with the rows of lockers lining the walls. I'm sure that's not reflective of the student population, in general, it just struck me kind of funny/odd.

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OK, so I read through most of the thread.

Do you hang out with MA students in your program? Should I avoid them in general? Do you feel like a PhD student who hangs out with MA students in general, gives the wrong impression to faculty, etc.? I mean, I don't mind hanging out with serious MA students. There are 2 MA students who have told me they don't like hanging out with their MA peers because they're immature, and prefer hanging out with the more mature/serious PhD crowd. What are your thoughts on hanging out with MA students? Also, what are your thoughts on getting involved in the department's graduate student association? Is that something that MA students usually do and PhD students don't? I'm kinda involved in that, but I'm wondering if I should withdraw from it? Do you think PhD students should distance themselves from MA students, and act more formal with them?

Considering you explicitly use 'in general' a number of times, and it's implicit in the rest of the paragraph, I'd say the 'criticism' of generalization is warranted. It goes from being about your specific situation (which, as I said in my first post, seems very irregular) to about an abstract PhD student and abstract MA students.

I guess this thread really links up with my post in one of the other threads, about profs looking at PhD students as soon-to-be-colleagues, whereas MA students are typically viewed as, just out of undergrad, or, at best, as aspiring PhD students. My profs talk to me differently than the way they talk to MA students. It's quite obvious that they consider us as almost their equals, whereas MA students are mostly seen as, well, students.

Again, your situation doesn't define the world of possibilities. I have not found such differentiation as you describe to be the case, and I'm sure others concur.

Superior in what way? Superior in rank? Absolutely. If MA and PhD were one and the same, they wouldn't be called different things. There's a reason why, in my field at least, people are rarely if ever accepted into PhD programs straight from BA. In science fields that may be the case, but in my field, where you're supposed to have done tons of reading, yes, there is a huge difference between MA and PhD. And, for that matter, between a PhD student and a PhD candidate. If you think hierarchies don't exist in academia, you're mistaken.

First, yes, there are distinctions between MA and PhD, but there's a reason another term exists, namely, graduate student. The gulf between MA and PhD students is, in my view, much smaller than, say, that existing between graduate students and faculty. Yes, hierarchies exist: by that token, would it make sense to ask whether faculty should socialize with graduate students, in general, or assistant professors hang out with associate professors? Professors with Professors Emeriti? Some users called you elitist. I wouldn't necessarily say that's the case (I'm actually an unashamed elitist politically, i.e., against populism, but that's a different story), but your implicit connection between academic 'hierarchy' and social relationships certainly can be seen as an aspect of what might be called 'social elitism'. You've expressed worries that socializing outside your station might be detrimental to your prestige or status ('in the eyes of faculty', and so on). That seems to me textbook elitism.

Second, it's simply untrue that, in your (and my) field, people rarely get accepted straight to PhD programs from undergrad. That happens all the time, and is the regular route to doctoral programs, in a small, obscure country I like to call the United States.

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About your refutation of the metaphor of racism, it's pretty dead on since racism doesn't have to be overt hatred -- if you have a generalized sense of superiority over any people, then I'd call you a racist if said people were a minority. Someone can have a 'friend' whom they don't respect. This is why rising star stated that your argument is like saying "I'm not racist! I have a black friend!"

You continue to create a sensationalized story account about MA students and just throw out that you have some MA friends. That is fallacious and doesn't mean anything about your elitism.

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But lately, I've been feeling that I'm kinda "above" that crowd. There's been a lot of drama among the MA students, and I have had strained relations with a few of them myself. I feel that they are, in general, rather immature and childish, and that we really don't get along all too well. Most of them are still in that childish / undergradish partying/gossiping/badmouthing phase (actually, one of the PhD students still is, too), which really is not my kinda scene (I prefer hanging out with friends and having discussions and debates over beer, etc).

Questions

  • Is the gossip among the MA students different than the gossiping you do in the OP?
  • What "phase" of development are you in (other than being "above" your peers)?
  • Have you shown character by addressing these behaviors with your fellow students?
  • Have you demonstrating leadership by conducting yourself in a manner worthy of emulation?
  • Or do you just gripe about your peers behind their backs?

    Recommendations
    • Look in the mirror to see if you're part of the problem you're experiencing.

      • You are feeling isolated for a reason.
      • You are getting hammered in this thread for a reason.
      • And I don't think that reason is because you're being misunderstood.

      [*]Keep in mind that your professors may have the same doubts about you that you have about those whom you feel "above."

      [*]If you don't want to participate in the activities of your peers, then opt out but keep your options open. (It sounds like they're blowing off steam.)

      [*]Seize every opportunity to build the skill set you'll need as an academic.

      [*]Do not post anything on line about your peers that you'd not say to their faces.

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wtncffts, having interacted with some MA students from McGill, I have to say that their level of maturity and commitment far exceeds that of MA students and even PhD students at my university. I once went to a talk at McGill that was mostly attended by MA students (mostly because the prof teaching the course they were taking had organized that talk and had made it a requirement for students to attend the talk), and was thoroughly impressed by how knowledgeable and serious those students were. They were engaging the speaker in a discussion far better than most MA students at my university could, and far better than I could. There's no comparison to be made there, IMO. And part of *that* may be because McGill's MA program is geared towards academia (as far as I'm aware, you don't have the internship option). At any rate, that's exactly what I'm talking about -- students at my school and more specifically MY department don't seem to have that level of commitment/maturity/ call it whatever you will. I somehow can't imagine that the brilliant students at that talk would engage in petty bickering and badmouthing. They seemed far too professional for that. I guess professionalism is what I'm getting at here.

As for the high school-like lockers, well, actually, I felt the same way about it. Heh! And well, I guess it sorta is that type of an environment.

Considering you explicitly use 'in general' a number of times, and it's implicit in the rest of the paragraph, I'd say the 'criticism' of generalization is warranted. It goes from being about your specific situation (which, as I said in my first post, seems very irregular) to about an abstract PhD student and abstract MA students.

What criticism is that? Sure, I'm generalizing, about the students in my department. Is it generalization about all MA students? No. If anything, I wanted to hear what other PhD students' experiences were with MA students in their program. If I had generalized about all MA students and labeled them all as immature, I wouldn't have been asking *that* question. Anyhow, that there may have been valid criticism of the way my post was phrased does not mean that it was aired appropriately. Most of the replies that were supposedly "criticisms" of my post were really aimed at insulting/trolling me.

Again, your situation doesn't define the world of possibilities. I have not found such differentiation as you describe to be the case, and I'm sure others concur.

I *never* stated it did. I expect (and clearly stated) that there are differences across universities and programs. Profs at MY school interact with PhD students and MA students differently.

First, yes, there are distinctions between MA and PhD, but there's a reason another term exists, namely, graduate student.

Nearly everything in my department is divided into MA (in this case, MPPPA) and PhD. PhD students are almost never categorized as "grad students", and the same goes for MPPPAers. Even among MPPPA students, a clear distinction is always placed between thesis option students and internship option students. In fact, where "grad student" is used, it is usually understood to refer to PhD students.

would it make sense to ask whether faculty should socialize with graduate students, in general, or assistant professors hang out with associate professors? Professors with Professors Emeriti?

Actually, YES it *does* make sense to ask. There's nothing wrong with that question IMO. Among professors, it's a bit different because profs (at least in my department) tend to hang out with people who are in similar subfields. But yes, I have noticed that some profs actually hang out with other profs who are, for example, tenured, etc. By the same token, I'm assuming all those who frowned upon my question, will, once they become professors, chill out with undergrads and MA students? After all, using the same logic, what distinguishes a fourth-year BA student from a first year MA student?

Edited by TheSquirrel

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ctually, YES it *does* make sense to ask. There's nothing wrong with that question IMO. Among professors, it's a bit different because profs (at least in my department) tend to hang out with people who are in similar subfields. But yes, I have noticed that some profs actually hang out with other profs who are, for example, tenured, etc. By the same token, I'm assuming all those who frowned upon my question, will, once they become professors, chill out with undergrads and MA students? After all, using the same logic, what distinguishes a fourth-year BA student from a first year MA student?

Don't worry TheSquirrel, I will be cool headed. My apologies for attacks. But still, I have problems with your argument. I think for professors, there are professional reasons why they don't socialize with their students...they want to keep their authority as the head of the classroom. And plus, professors may fear of breaking any school codes about spending time with students outside of the classroom.

I don't see how you can compare the professor-student relationship with a doctoral student-MA student relationship. Regardless of the difference in degrees, doctoral students and MA students are both graduate students. There are no lines broken by doctoral students socializing with MA students, and I don't see how and why professors or the department in general would disapprove of who a doctoral student decides to spend time with outside of the department.

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