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What Not To Ask A Grad Student

I love academia and I love what I study more than anything in the world. I love talking about my research with other scholars and academics who get me. What I don’t love is when people who don’t know how this process works or what I study ask and/or give me advice.

Here are a few questions and pieces of advice that I have been asked and given mostly by friends and family members this summer?

  • Why would you write about that?
  • You should wrie about this instead. (In my case, my father wants to know why I am not writing about the Rotary club in my thesis.)
  • How does that have to do with literature? (I’m a rhetoric scholar, but people hear English and assume things.)
  • Are you allowed to write about that?
  • How is your thesis going?
  • Why haven’t you been writing your thesis this summer? (I’ve been working full time and some change.)
  • Why aren’t you done with my thesis? (My favorite since I just started the process recently and I have this whole year.)
  • Aren’t you done reading yet? (Nope, this is grad school!)
  • It can’t be that hard for you to sit down and write your thesis.
  • Can I read it when you are done? (This is coming from someone who fell asleep when I gave him a basic article on object-oriented rhetorics.)
  • You’re writing about rhetoric? You should totally focus on Donald Trump’s speeches.
  • Doesn’t rhetoric deal with political speech? Because looking at political speech would be cool.

Unfortunately, I have a lot more questions ahead of me.

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