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Time spent with cohort and lab members


SeanDDavies
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I'm starting to get situated as a grad student. I've noticed that I get along better with people from other departments. Some of the people in my cohort are just... we dont have much in common. Lab members are the same. So, how much time should i expect to spend with them? Do you travel together to conferences and such? Is grad school more independent where you do your own thing and dont have to worry about not getting along with these people? 

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Think of it more like a workplace. You need to get along with them because you'll be in classes together and, maybe, doing research together. But nothing says you need to be friends, just be collegial.

 

Also, nobody has to travel in a group to conferences but you'll probably save a lot of money if you can get along well enough to travel together. For example, my advisor would cover half a hotel room so I could either cover the rest myself or share, so I always shared.

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Oh Im definitely very professional. Its just that we dont have much in common and the conversations get awkward quick. Sure Ill attend classes with them and lab meetings but outside of that I dont know how much more time I could spend with them. Plus Im more of an independent person myself. I like to do things on my own when it allows itself. 

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As mentioned above, it's expected that you be friendly and try to get along with everyone. And if your lab/cohort ever has social events (lab parties, dinners out, etc.), or if people make a point of inviting you to spend time with them, then you should make an effort to go - partly just out of politeness, and partly because there really are advantages to having friends in your program. It can make conferences more enjoyable (and help you cut costs by splitting hotel rooms etc.) Senior grad students in your area can be an amazing resource for guidance and advice, especially people who are in your lab. And of course, having a friend or two in your classes can be extremely helpful, since you can help each other study and work out anything you don't understand.

 

But if you're happier doing those things on your own, then by all means! There's certainly no obligation to hang out with your labmates all the time or befriend everyone in your cohort. Don't make yourself annoyed and uncomfortable by spending time with people if you don't want to.

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  • 2 months later...

I think it largely depends on your cohort size and program. In my Masters program, we were all fairly close and would do a ton of things together. However, in my current program, it's not quite like that, even within lab members. My adviser doesn't do a lot of get-togethers or even lab meetings, so we don't see each other outside of school really. 

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