Image by Flickr user Digital Sextant and used under the Creative Commons licenseHalloween on a college campus is a wonderful time of year. Free candy can be found in bowls on every secretary’s desk, normal clothing can be eschewed for fun t-shirts and costumes, and we’re all given a short break from reality. However, the tricks and treats of this day can be found throughout the year for grad students. Sometimes it can be hard to identify the goblins and ghouls that haunt you when they aren’t dressed up, but they’re still there.

1. Zombies: these are the easiest to spot. Other grad students from your cohort can be found wandering the hallways moaning for caffeine to stimulate their over-worked brains. A quick shot of espresso can get rid of these demons and allow you to easily get back to work. To avoid becoming one yourself make sure to get enough sleep.

2. Vampires: we all have limited time and energy, and there are always people waiting to suck it out of us. Professors may have a paper they need research for, students need help writing papers and studying for exams, and our professional organizations need volunteers. Do what is necessary, and say no to anything that is too much. When in doubt, garlic breath will prevent them from talking to you for too long.

3. Werewolves: watch your back for these people- at first they’re your friend and next they’re snarling behind your back, sharing your secrets and going for your funding. The silver rule for preventing this is to be professional at all times and not get too personal with your colleagues.

4. Mummies: don’t get too wrapped up in your own work. It can be easy to be consumed by your research and forget about the outside world. It can be easy to focus too much energy on the afterlife (i.e. the completion of the degree), but remember to enjoy today!

So this Halloween, get out of the your secret lab, escape from the witch’s tower, and enjoy yourself. But stay alert for the monsters during the rest of the year and you’ll be rewarded by the treats of your labor!

Inspiration for this post came from PhD Comics: Halloween 2011

[Photo via Flickr user Digital Sextant]


One Response to The Ghosts and Goblins of Grad School

  1. […] From @GradHacker, a typology of the Halloween characters lurking in your graduate program. […]

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