Here’s part III in the series How to Win at Being a Grad Student. It is a compilation of pointers from NPSIA faculty and staff regarding the dos and don’ts of grad school. You should find the advice below quite helpful. You’ll likely also find it quite candid…
An introduction to etiquette for the grad student
In class – be involved
Don’t be frightened of asking questions, about procedure or substance, inside or outside of class.
You do not necessarily have to be formal in your interactions with faculty, instructors, staff, external speakers etc., but you do need to be professional. Ask yourself if you would do something at a job interview or a networking event? If the answer is no, then don’t do it at NPSIA.
You should find NPSIA a generally informal and collegial place to study and interact with others, but it is still a place of work. Faculty are generally friendly, but that is not the same thing as being your friend.
Your opinions are fine and part of the discussion, but if your opinions are devoid of connections to the evidence and theory you are supposed to have read for a class or course then expect some push back and a requirement to explain yourself. “I think…” will only get you so far after week two.
Read the [effing] syllabus. When in doubt, read it again, before going to the prof with questions. You should know the requirements in it better than the prof so only ask if something is genuinely confusing or contradictory.
Don’t ask for an extension on an assignment because you are busy and/or have other assignments due in another course – it is your workload; you are responsible for it.
If you missed a class, never ask the prof if you “missed anything” or if “anything happened” in the class. Why? Because the answer is always YES! Furthermore, you should not expect/request a private command performance of the seminar or lecture from the prof during office hours. Instead, see if any of your classmates are willing to share their notes. Or, better yet, don’t miss class.
Office Hours – Use them. You can understand the expectations of your professor by utilizing office hours to clarify the expectations of any assignment. Also, if concepts are not clear, use the office hours to seek clarification. And please respect the time of your professors: if you cannot meet them during office hours then set an appointment, don’t expect them to be available if you ‘drop by.’
Got a complaint – let us know. There are multiple people to talk to or approach within the School and the University.
You are busy: so are we. A gentle reminder that we have not done something for you is sometime required.
Also in this series: