with apologies to Julie B. Beck
Grad Students Who Know Write Papers
Grad students who know write papers. While there are those in the world who decry the old values of "publish or perish," in the culture of graduate school good students still believe in writing papers, preferably as many as possible. The wisest advisers teach that first year graduate students should not postpone writing papers, and that the requirement for righteous graduate students to multiply and replenish the library remains in force. There is academic power and influence in writing.
Grad Students Who Know Honor Academic Obligations and Commitments
Grad students who know honor their academic obligations and commitments. I have visited some of the most prestigious universities on earth, where grad students fulfill all their responsibilities, despite walking for miles or using sketchy public transportation. They drag themselves onto campus no matter how little sleep they got the night before or how unfinished their course projects are. These grad students know they are going to classes and seminars, where free food might be offered. They know if they are not going to class, they are not impressing their professorial colleagues, and, also, they might go hungry.
Grad Students Who Know are Studiers
Grad students who know are studiers. This is their special assignment and role within the plan of a university. To study means to observe, analyze, contemplate, or learn about. Another word for studying is procrastinating. Procrastinating includes blogging, talking to friends, and, sometimes, in times of greatest stress, washing clothes and dishes, scrubbing floors and toilets, and keeping an orderly apartment. Studying grad students are knowledgeable, but all their education will avail them nothing if they do not have the skills to procrastinate. Grad students should be the best procrastinators in the world.
Grad Students Who Know Do Less
Grad students who know do less. During the last few weeks of the semester, they permit less of what will not bear good fruit academically. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less social activity, less leisure reading, and less time devoted to the basics of hygiene, nutrition, and exercise. Grad students who know are willing to live on less so they can spend more time with their homework: more time thinking, more time reading, more time writing, more time talking to their adviser. These grad students choose carefully, and do not try to choose having a life outside of academia. Their goal is to get their PhDs, so one day they can prepare a rising generation of grad students who will take their pet theories into the entire field. That is influence; that is power.
It is my sincere hope that we all, in these last days of the semester, can strive to become graduate students who know, and I testify that the dean will reward us for doing so.