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10 Things You Shouldn’t Ask Grad Students Over the Holidays

UL Grad School -- 11/22/2019

We’re in the last phase of the semester, and end-of-year holidays are on the horizon. But for grad students, this season isn’t about winding down -- it’s more of a mad dash to the finish line.

Here are ten questions you shouldn’t ask the grad students in your life over the holidays.

When will you graduate?

Even if everything is going to plan, the high-stakes pressure of finishing a graduate degree means this question can cause a grad student’s blood pressure to skyrocket.


Are you still writing your thesis/dissertation?

It’s a book! Writing a thesis or dissertation is hard work, takes longer than expected, and it’s awfully hard to see the forest for the trees while in the thick of it. Instead of asking a grad student this, try, “Oh look, a Starbucks gift card. Would you like it?”


What’s the point of your research?

It’s an important question, sure, but not necessarily one that can be summed up over a platter of crudités.


How do you plan to get a job with that?

Time management, check. Critical thinking skills, check. Resilience and perseverance, check.


When is your research going to be published?

It’s all about the peer review.


What year are you in?

Sadly, words like “candidacy” and “ABD” (all but dissertation) don’t necessarily hold the same cachet around the dinner table as they do on campus.


How long are you going to avoid the real world?

That stack of papers looks pretty real….


When do you finish?

Well, it’ll definitely be sometime during this decade! Instead of this, try asking, “Hey, can I treat you to dinner sometime?”


When are you going to get a real job?

Grad school is a full-time pursuit, and don’t doubt the hours that go into it!


So, what else have you been doing?

Remind me, what is a weekend?