Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Before I forget them all...a primer on grad school

So as most of you know I just finished graduating with my Master's from a very prestigious Southern California University (well that's the line they feed the donors at least), hence the picture of me in cap and gown. During my brief period of time there (a little less than 2 years) I was able to meet some fabulous people who I will continue to keep in touch with and who I'm sure will be able to give me a great job in the future. Unfortunately, I also found some aspects of grad school troubling, I will detail them below and for those of you who have gone through the same situation please feel free to add to the list.

Pet Peeve #1: People who over exaggerate their work experience and academic achievements, particularly if it has been less than 2 years since you graduated from undergrad. One example, are people who double majored who feel the need to either say this at every opportunity given and/or claim to have two bachelor degrees. A) Why would anyone want two bachelor degrees? B) The majority of people who didn't play NCAA sports Division 1 double-majored, get over it. Also, are people who talk about unpaid internships as life changing work experience; coming from someone who has been an intern TOO many times to count, I know first hand that being an intern is low-man on the totem pole, even below the Temps.

Pet Peeve #2: Some students transferred from the Master's program to the PhD program. Which is great, congratulations! But, please don't spend the next year and a half correcting everyone about how you're a PhD student now. For the most part we take the same classes, you just spend the next few years trying to figure out what to write a really long paper about.

Pet Peeve #3: People not from L.A., who like to compare everything in L.A. to places they are from. I admit I love L.A. more than most people, but I don't go to New York, Italy, Denver, etc. and walk around talking about how much better and well ran L.A. is than these places. We have our own problems here and if you'd like to attempt to fix them please by all means, but whining about the traffic, smog, stuck-up people, lack of public trans, etc. is just being A) plain lazy B) very small-minded.

Pet Peeve #4: Students who once they learn the jargon in the field, only use jargon for the remaining 3 semesters. I have had actual conversations with people and have not one clue what they were saying. It becomes all about the methodology, the meta-analysis, slack variables and primary source documents instead of our work plan, compare/contrast, the stuff left over and talking to the person in charge.

Pet Peeve #5: Anyone that is too busy to do anything other than school ALL of the time. I'm sure that your coursework is challenging, but give me a break on Friday night at 11pm are you going to be reading or writing that paper due in 2 months? No, you're going to be watching TV or drinking two-buck-chuck, and everyone understands this. Don't pretend that you spent the entire weekend doing work, it won't win you many points with either professors or students.

Okay enough of my lists and rants, I will work hard tomorrow on putting something a bit more informative and a little less personal.


Jessica said...

Of course I love Pet Peeve #1 but I also REALLY love Pet Peeve #4! Stop trying to show/prove how smart you are by mimicking your professors...get a clue! Unfortunately you cannot learn or buy this in grad school.

betsey said...

All these are so great! And I had someone in mind from our grad program with everyone of your pet peeves. Is that bad? Probably.

#4 is one of my major pet peeves as well. I think that once some people learn a few of the buzz words in the field, they will just repeat those words, really having no original thought or reflection. Drives me nuts.

Jennifer said...

Okay, so while my rant is geared more towards the Conservatory (since I went there for grad school), my biggest pet peeves are:

1) People who are in the grad program who do not work hard. They are there because they've studied with a certain teacher for a long time and/or just can't seem to get out of the same school they've been going to since undergrad. Some of us had to work hard to get into grad school.

2) People who gossip endlessly about mundane stuff, like who is dating who? Really...this isn't high school anymore. Some people let the gossip ruin their lives too.