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Annoying things early grad students do?


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So I've seen some comments from older grad students on this forum about grad or visiting students being generally clueless/annoying. Reading these and rotating through new labs every few months, I wonder if other grad students think that about me when I ask a ton of questions/ am slow to figure things out. What kinds of things do early grad students do that make you crazy?

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Edited by Butterfly_effect
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For me, it all pretty much falls under one category (although there are many flavors):

Not listening to advice because you're sure it doesn't apply to you.

There's the variant of asking for advice and ignoring it, then wondering why things didn't work out. There's telling everyone you're different (and special) and you're going to do things differently/you're own way, despite all suggestions to the contrary. 

All older grad students and faculty aren't infallible, surely, but there's pretty much always advice worth listening to from people who went through things before you did, and can speak to either success or failure. 

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3 hours ago, Butterfly_effect said:

So I've seen some comments from older grad students on this forum about grad or visiting students being generally clueless/annoying. Reading these and rotating through new labs every few months, I wonder if other grad students think that about me when I ask a ton of questions/ am slow to figure things out. What kinds of things do early grad students do that make you crazy?

Stealing seats at a seminar when someone left to go use the restroom....

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17 hours ago, Quantum Buckyball said:

Stealing seats at a seminar when someone left to go use the restroom....

This, and also trying to save seats for your friends at a full-crowd seminar. If they're not present on time, that's their problem.

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17 hours ago, Quantum Buckyball said:

Stealing seats at a seminar when someone left to go use the restroom....

People actually do this? This seems insane. :wacko:

I'm glad that the department I'm attending in the fall is the size of a flea. The classes are small enough that I shouldn't run into this.

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On May 11, 2016 at 6:20 PM, Eigen said:

All older grad students and faculty aren't infallible, surely, but there's pretty much always advice worth listening to from people who went through things before you did, and can speak to either success or failure. 

I think I'm on the other side, worried that the older students will think I'm asking TOO many questions! I just have a lot of questions....and they are so much closer to the finish line than me, so why not listen to them?

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28 minutes ago, Cat_Robutt said:

I think I'm on the other side, worried that the older students will think I'm asking TOO many questions! I just have a lot of questions....and they are so much closer to the finish line than me, so why not listen to them?

I hesitate to say there's no such thing as too many questions (because I've experienced some fringe cases), but it's usually pretty easy to read when you're pushing someone to that level. 

In general, I think it's worth erring on the side of more questions rather than less.

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@Eigen thanks for your input! As an adjunct, it sometimes surprises me when students don't know or don't care when they are asking questions we've gone over several times––that's when it gets frustrating for me. Or, as you said, they ask for advice and then discard all of it. I just think––if your professor suggests you look up something, incorporate a certain cite, or try a new methodology, it's in your best interest as a student to take that advice to heart, right?

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Not so much an annoyance, but I couldn't believe that a first-year masters student in her second term thought it was a good idea to do a presentation in short shorts and a sheer shirt under which we could clearly see the brand of her sports bra.

 

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5 hours ago, shadowclaw said:

Not so much an annoyance, but I couldn't believe that a first-year masters student in her second term thought it was a good idea to do a presentation in short shorts and a sheer shirt under which we could clearly see the brand of her sports bra.

 

Just how? Why? I'm not even sure I'd wear that outfit in the gym! Presentations means professional clothes, maybe not suit and tie but certainly button-down shirt and chinos/black trousers in my department for both genders.

I'm not an old grad student by any means but I've noticed the superiority complex. It ties in to what @Eigen says about thinking advice doesn't apply, but also thinking they're better than everyone just because they got into a graduate program. I mean I'm at an excellent school but it's not one of the top and some of my peers refuse to talk to the undergraduates because they are beneath them (?!?!). I find that astonishing. 

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On 5/11/2016 at 9:20 PM, Eigen said:

Not listening to advice because you're sure it doesn't apply to you.

Yes, BUT my problem is not that they don't listen to advice. I mean, it's up to them. You don't want to listen, fine, whatever. The problem is when these beings grow into advanced students and give TERRIBLE advice. Or they defend a thesis/prospectus/dissertation of VERY questionable quality without taking any advice from the faculty that challenge them. 

I would phrase it as people that come to school to show how much they know instead of coming for learning. 

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Treating grad school like high school or undergrad, i.e., not coming to classes well-prepared, expecting to have the professor do a knowledge dump that you can somehow upload to your brain.

Not treating funded grad school like a job. It's your job. Half of your time is for your TA or RA work, and the other half is for your writing. Do the writing and outside reading.

Being disrespectful of professors - badmouthing them to other students, surfing the web during class, Facebooking, etc. Yes, there are grad students who do this juvenile stuff. Don't be that person!

Not working to advance the health of your department and school. If you want funding to exist in future years, including your own future years, you have to do your part.

Being too loud/rude/messy in shared office space, including kitchen and restroom space. OMG. Clean the microwave after you use it. Don't steal food from the department fridge. Lower your voice to conversational level while you are working. 

Dressing too casually for teaching assignments. Granted, grad students don't have a clothing allowance, but graduate school is professional preparation.

Not keeping track of deadlines or reading emails, and expecting others to remind you of these responsibilities.

Hoarding books from the library that everyone in the course needs to access.

I think I'm a bit cranky today.

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1 hour ago, Agrippina said:

Being disrespectful of professors - badmouthing them to other students, surfing the web during class, Facebooking, etc. Yes, there are grad students who do this juvenile stuff.

This! I don't know if they are young or seasoned grad students, but I've noticed a few students who do this crap. In one seminar-type class, a girl would be on her laptop looking like she was taking notes, but a few times I sat close her, she was writing emails and working on assignments for other classes. In another class, one student would be on her phone through the entire lecture and then wouldn't have anything to say during our discussions.

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3 hours ago, shadowclaw said:

This! I don't know if they are young or seasoned grad students, but I've noticed a few students who do this crap. In one seminar-type class, a girl would be on her laptop looking like she was taking notes, but a few times I sat close her, she was writing emails and working on assignments for other classes. In another class, one student would be on her phone through the entire lecture and then wouldn't have anything to say during our discussions.

I've seen a mix of new and seasoned grad students do these things. It's really more of a personality thing than an experience thing.

People who are disrespectful, badmouthing, surfing the web etc... tend to just be those types of people. They don't usually change. There are plenty of people in the professional world who do this too. 

And to be fair, I've had my fair share of tenured faculty playing on facebook on the job, badmouthing other professors, undermining the wellbeing of others in the department, dressing like the just woke up, etc. Again... its the type of person. (And sometimes these are oddly successful people)

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11 hours ago, Agrippina said:

Treating grad school like high school or undergrad, i.e., not coming to classes well-prepared, expecting to have the professor do a knowledge dump that you can somehow upload to your brain.

Not treating funded grad school like a job. It's your job. Half of your time is for your TA or RA work, and the other half is for your writing. Do the writing and outside reading.

Being disrespectful of professors - badmouthing them to other students, surfing the web during class, Facebooking, etc. Yes, there are grad students who do this juvenile stuff. Don't be that person!

Not working to advance the health of your department and school. If you want funding to exist in future years, including your own future years, you have to do your part.

Being too loud/rude/messy in shared office space, including kitchen and restroom space. OMG. Clean the microwave after you use it. Don't steal food from the department fridge. Lower your voice to conversational level while you are working. 

Dressing too casually for teaching assignments. Granted, grad students don't have a clothing allowance, but graduate school is professional preparation.

Not keeping track of deadlines or reading emails, and expecting others to remind you of these responsibilities.

Hoarding books from the library that everyone in the course needs to access.

I think I'm a bit cranky today.

I'm with you, cranky and all.

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6 hours ago, sjoh197 said:

I've seen a mix of new and seasoned grad students do these things. It's really more of a personality thing than an experience thing.

People who are disrespectful, badmouthing, surfing the web etc... tend to just be those types of people. They don't usually change. There are plenty of people in the professional world who do this too. 

And to be fair, I've had my fair share of tenured faculty playing on facebook on the job, badmouthing other professors, undermining the wellbeing of others in the department, dressing like the just woke up, etc. Again... its the type of person. (And sometimes these are oddly successful people)

Well, yes, that's true. I just didn't think to address that part, as I was on a roll answering the question! Hah! I think I could have gone on, but that is when I realized I was cranky!

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I'm hoping my PhD program is different, but things I found irritating in my Master's program were.....

Students that didn't know the difference between debating and arguing and then ignored subtle or blatant requests from the professor to just shut up.

 Students whining about the volume of assignments or reading because of their personal life challenges or choices.

Students not knowing how to do basic things like properly use research databases, paper formatting, etc and then not understand that the research librarians are there to assist them with that, not professors during class time.

Not using spell check.

Being casual instead of professional in emails to students, professors, etc.

Eating something smelly, messy, or loud in class.

Rolling in late and then noisily taking a seat, pulling out a notebook, finding out what's being discussed, etc.

Being that slacker, procrastinator, or otherwise crappy student and then asking to borrow other peoples notes.

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8 hours ago, Agrippina said:

Well, yes, that's true. I just didn't think to address that part, as I was on a roll answering the question! Hah! I think I could have gone on, but that is when I realized I was cranky!

Lol. All of the things you mentioned drive me nuts and I cant stand people who behave this way.

However, I have found that my generation seems to have some really obnoxious problems that aren't just a matter of poor personality, but poor upbringing.

The everybody wins problem. Crushing under the reality that not everyone wins at a poster contest... And that not everyone gets an A just for showing up and trying half-assedly.

The my problems are more important problem. Thinking that everybody will give you some slack for your outside problems. (Most grad students have their own struggles and unless they're your bestest friend, probably just want you to stfu and pull your weight.

The I'm an exception problem. Thinking that rules should be bent because you're a special little flower and rules don't apply to you. (I once saw a guy turn in a 35 page paper in a format that wasn't the very specific format layed out by the professor because "He didn't think it was a big deal, and the way he did it looked just fine." He then contested the 15 points that he lost on the project.)

The my time is more important than yours problem problem. Thinking that your time is more important than other peoples time (I get that free time is important, and your social life is important. I actually believe these things. However, your Friday night booze fest isn't more important than my Friday night movie marathon. And I you have a killer party hangover on Monday from your weekend... No I'm not going to do your work.)

The dogs are better than cats problem... Just kidding. This has always been a problem. ;)

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On 5/11/2016 at 9:20 PM, Eigen said:

For me, it all pretty much falls under one category (although there are many flavors):

Not listening to advice because you're sure it doesn't apply to you.

There's the variant of asking for advice and ignoring it, then wondering why things didn't work out. There's telling everyone you're different (and special) and you're going to do things differently/you're own way, despite all suggestions to the contrary. 

All older grad students and faculty aren't infallible, surely, but there's pretty much always advice worth listening to from people who went through things before you did, and can speak to either success or failure. 

Yes! In total agreement! I've spoken to a lot of prospective and incoming students and it can be cringe-inducing when, for example, you tell students that the average time to completion in your program is 6+ years and they nod and say "That's nice, Imma do it in 4!".

Also annoying: people that are dicks to the departmental grad secretaries/admins. Not only is this generally uncouth and unkind, it's very short-sighted - you want these people on your side, for sure. Yelling at admins because you're frustrated by institutional bureaucracy or whathaveyou = very unwise. My departmental admins are amazing people generally, but they're also great resources for info and assistance - don't make it difficult for them to be your advocate by being a dick.

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They roamed the engineering buildings as they were the driving forces of the universe. They ate all the free foods, i.e. pizza, drinks, cookies etc., and took all the free yet limited T-shirts at the events in September and November. :-|

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I hate when people complain about professors to me. Even if I agree on some level, I am trying to look for the good in this person so I can work with them for a semester or more and take their advice... I don't need to be nitpicking them or gossiping about them. People have even said stuff to me about my advisor! A) He's my boss so you're putting me in a weird position; B ) he's my mentor so obviously, if you thought about it for a minute you'd realize I don't agree. The things people have said to me about him and other faculty members, you would just get over in any other work environment.

I think this might be a work/life experience thing... I'm sure in undergrad I felt free to do that. As an adult I only had one close work friend with whom I would be candid about our boss-- and I never said anything to other people about their bosses. In general just don't say anything around the department that would embarrass you if it got back to that person.

Edited by themmases
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4 hours ago, themmases said:

I hate when people complain about professors to me. Even if I agree on some level, I am trying to look for the good in this person so I can work with them for a semester or more and take their advice... I don't need to be nitpicking them or gossiping about them. People have even said stuff to me about my advisor! A) He's my boss so you're putting me in a weird position; B ) he's my mentor so obviously, if you thought about it for a minute you'd realize I don't agree. The things people have said to me about him and other faculty members, you would just get over in any other work environment.

I think this might be a work/life experience thing... I'm sure in undergrad I felt free to do that. As an adult I only had one close work friend with whom I would be candid about our boss-- and I never said anything to other people about their bosses. In general just don't say anything around the department that would embarrass you if it got back to that person.

OH MAN do I have this problem too, especially at the uni that I adjunct at during summers... that I also graduated from. I have some old classmates that try to get me to trash talk the department or professors and its like, heeeyyy they're technically my co-workers now. Maybe we didn't see eye to eye when I was a student but now, its just awkward.

My partner has also had this problem both as a grad student/TA and now as an adjunct. Sometimes from undergrads who, probably don't know better, but sometimes from undergrads who are adult students / late 20s early 30s that SHOULD.

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On 5/21/2016 at 0:18 AM, MarineBluePsy said:

I'm hoping my PhD program is different, but things I found irritating in my Master's program were.....

Students that didn't know the difference between debating and arguing and then ignored subtle or blatant requests from the professor to just shut up.

Students whining about the volume of assignments or reading because of their personal life challenges or choices.

Students not knowing how to do basic things like properly use research databases, paper formatting, etc and then not understand that the research librarians are there to assist them with that, not professors during class time.

Not using spell check.

Being casual instead of professional in emails to students, professors, etc.

Eating something smelly, messy, or loud in class.

Rolling in late and then noisily taking a seat, pulling out a notebook, finding out what's being discussed, etc.

Being that slacker, procrastinator, or otherwise crappy student and then asking to borrow other peoples notes.

What IS the difference between debate and arguing? I'm always respectful to my advisor but he says I argue about my interpretation too often. I thought I was just airing my interpretation and not being pushy.

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On 5/23/2016 at 10:14 AM, themmases said:

I hate when people complain about professors to me. Even if I agree on some level, I am trying to look for the good in this person so I can work with them for a semester or more and take their advice... I don't need to be nitpicking them or gossiping about them. People have even said stuff to me about my advisor! A) He's my boss so you're putting me in a weird position; B ) he's my mentor so obviously, if you thought about it for a minute you'd realize I don't agree. The things people have said to me about him and other faculty members, you would just get over in any other work environment.

I think this might be a work/life experience thing... I'm sure in undergrad I felt free to do that. As an adult I only had one close work friend with whom I would be candid about our boss-- and I never said anything to other people about their bosses. In general just don't say anything around the department that would embarrass you if it got back to that person.

I had this problem with both undergrads and grad students. My advisor was a really great guy, but he was also no-nonsense and would call people out on their bullshit. So students would definitely try to trash talk him, and not only was it uncomfortable because I worked with him, but also because I genuinely actually liked him and thought he was a good professor, researcher, and person in general. 

 

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