Last year, I wrote an article, Somebody That I Used To Know: 4 Types of People of People You Went To College With. I believe it’s self-explanatory. Currently, I’m in my second quarter of grad school, getting a Master’s, which makes me practically an expert on who’s who in the program. I didn’t want to include all grad students because PhD students would have to be included which can be a whole different set of people. But Master’s students are my bread and butter so if you’re thinking of getting into a Master’s program, I want to introduce you to some of your future fellow classmates:
Natalie has a full-time job in her field of study. She works 70 hours a week and spends half the time in class checking her email on her iPhone AND her Blackberry. Of course she never gets caught as she still participates in the class discussions fully and does all her papers two weeks in advance. In her spare time, she runs marathons and owns a side non-profit that provides water for an entire village in Haiti. Suffice to say, everyone hates Natalie but almost everyone secretly wants to be her.
Colin is a hipster. He’s not quite sure why he’s in grad school and you’re not quite sure either. He hates all the articles and academia as a whole, and whether he’s sober in class is a complete mystery. But you’re grateful he’s in your class because no matter how unprepared you are for class, Colin gets on the professors nerves which means that you will always look better than he does.
The only person who irritates the professor more than Colin is Nick. Nick is “that” grad student – the one whose hand shoots up every 7 minutes to opine about the material or not about the material; it doesn’t really matter. It wouldn’t be so bad if Nick actually sounded like he was smart or if he made any sense at all. Every time he opens his mouth, the other classmates roll their eyes or sigh but there’s nothing you or the professor can do. Nick talks and you’ll learn to ignore him or make fun of everything he says with the person sitting next to you.
Margaret, pronounced with a French accent, is a future academic and she reminds you of that in every class. The annoying thing is that she actually is intelligent so you listen to her and so does the professor. She’s privileged enough to have a job for fun which she’s going to quit when she’s the graduate assistant in the next school year. When she isn’t quoting the recommended texts verbatim, she’s utilizing examples from her independent research in Morocco, Zimbabwe, and Panama, which of course she undertook while on family vacations as an undergrad. But you stomach Margaret because she’s always up for a drink after class and usually she’s buying.
Phillip is soft-spoken and everyone likes him because he’s paying his way through grad school and working two jobs. He’s also really smart and not condescending at all but sometimes you wonder what the hell he just said. Seriously, who uses the word “hackneyed” in conversation even at this level? He’s the main reason why your vocabulary has improved in grad school. Phillip is no fun though, and your offer to buy him a drink is always met with one response, “I have to get up at 4 in the morning.”
Paula is the middle-aged lady in the room meaning she’s as old as your professor so naturally she commands your respect. Her real world experience and examples are useful and she’s a lovely person to talk to. But she also over-shares and by that I mean she tells the entire class about how her bladder troubles are going, on a regular basis. You close your eyes and wish the ground would swallow you every single time.
Caitlin’s in the class but you’re mostly unaware because she never talks. Ever.
Still want to do a Master’s program? Would you be any of these classmates? If you’re in a grad program, can you identify with any of these? (If you know me well enough by now, do you think I identify with any of them? I won’t be offended!) I’m sure I’ll have a few more classmates for you as I go through my program!