57 Ways To Screw Up In Grad School: Perverse Professional Lessons For Graduate Students

Paperback | August 15, 2015

byKevin D. Haggerty, Aaron Doyle

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Don’t think about why you’re applying. Select a topic for entirely strategic reasons. Choose the coolest supervisor. Write only to deadlines. Expect people to hold your hand. Become “that” student.

When it comes to a masters or PhD program, most graduate students don’t deliberately set out to  fail. Yet, of the nearly 500,000 people who start a graduate program each year, up to half will never complete their degree. Books abound on acing the admissions process, but there is little on what to do once the acceptance letter arrives. Veteran graduate directors Kevin D. Haggerty and Aaron Doyle have set out to demystify the world of advanced education. Taking a wry, frank approach, they explain the common mistakes that can trip up a new graduate student and lay out practical advice about how to avoid the pitfalls. Along the way they relate stories from their decades of mentorship and even share some slip-ups from their own grad experiences.

The litany of foul-ups is organized by theme and covers the grad school experience from beginning to end: selecting the university and program, interacting with advisors and fellow students, balancing personal and scholarly lives, navigating a thesis, and creating a life after academia. Although the tone is engagingly tongue-in-cheek, the lessons are crucial to anyone attending or contemplating grad school. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School allows you to learn from others’ mistakes rather than making them yourself.

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From the Publisher

Don’t think about why you’re applying. Select a topic for entirely strategic reasons. Choose the coolest supervisor. Write only to deadlines. Expect people to hold your hand. Become “that” student. When it comes to a masters or PhD program, most graduate students don’t deliberately set out to  fail. Yet, of the nearly 500,000 people wh...

Kevin D. Haggerty is a Killam Research Laureate and professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Alberta. He is also editor of the Canadian Journal of Sociology. Haggerty’s most recent book is Transparent Lives. Aaron Doyle is associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. His...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022628090X

ISBN - 13:9780226280905

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Screwing Up
Who are I?
Gendered Pronouns
Thesis vs. Dissertation
 
THE SCREW UPS
Starting Out
1. Do Not Think about Why You Are Applying
2. Ignore the Market
3. Stay at the Same University
4. Follow the Money Blindly
5. Do an Unfunded PhD
6. Do an Interdisciplinary PhD
7. Believe Advertised Completion Times
8. Ignore the Information the University Provides You
9. Expect the Money to Take Care of Itself
 
Supervisors
10. Go it Alone and Stay Quiet
11. Choose the Coolest Supervisor
12. Have Co-Supervisors
13. Do Not Clarify Your Supervisor’s (or Your Own) Expectations
14. Avoid Your Supervisor and Committee
15. Stay in a Bad Relationship
16. Expect People to Hold Your Hand
 
Managing Your Program
17. Concentrate Only on Your Thesis
18. Expect to Write the Perfect Comprehensive Exam
19. Select a Topic Entirely for Strategic Reasons
20. Do Not Teach, or Teach a Ton of Courses
21. Do Not Seek Teaching Instruction
22. Move Away from the University Before Finishing Your Degree
23. Postpone Those Tedious Approval Processes
24. Organize Everything Only in Your Head
25. Do Not Attend Conferences, or Attend Droves of Conferences
 
Your Work and Social Life
26. Concentrate Solely on school
27. Expect Friends and Family to Understand
28. Socialize Only With Your Cliques
29. Get a Job!
 
Writing
30. Write Only your PhD Thesis
31. Postpone Publishing
32. Cover Everything
33. Do Not Position Yourself
34. Write Only to Deadlines
35. Abuse Your Audience
 
Your Attitude and Actions
36. Expect to be Judged Only on Your Work
37. Have a Thin Skin
38. Be Inconsiderate
39. Become “That” Student
40. Never Compromise
41. Gossip
42. Say Whatever Pops Into Your Head on Social Media
 
Delicate Maters
43. Assume That the University is More Inclusive Than Other Institutions
44. Rush into a Legal Battle
45. Get Romantically Involved with Faculty
46. Cheat and Plagiarize
 
Am I Done Yet? On Finishing
47. Skip Job Talks
48. Expect to Land a Job in a Specific University
49. Expect People to Hire You to Teach Your Thesis
50. Turn Down Opportunities to Participate in Job Searches
51. Neglect Other People’s Theses
52. Get an Unknown External Examiner
53. Do Not Understand the Endgame
54. Be Blasé about Your Defense
55. Do Not Plan for Your Job Interview
56. Persevere at All Costs
57. Consider a Non-Academic Career a Form of Failure
 
Final Thoughts
Appendix: A Sketch of Grad School
The Thesis
The Program
Your Department
The People
Acknowledgements
Index
 

Editorial Reviews

“Graduate school is a high-stakes venture when you consider the time and cost invested in return for relatively meager job prospects. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School provides useful advice to make a student’s time in grad school as productive and rewarding as possible.”