I attended the UCLA Graduate orientation last Friday and it was definitely an overwhelming experience. There are definitely a lot more different varieties of people in graduate school than there are in undergrad, where most kids have raging hormones, are excited to just go balls out at a frat party, and are having a taste of freedom for the very first time in their short lives.
Graduate school is a different beast….here are some of the types of people I met:
1) The Down to Earth graduate student who took couple years off from undergrad to “discover themselves”
I decided to write about this first since I fall into this category. These people, in my opinion, are the most relatable and easy to talk to since they took time off to do some work related in their field and really know getting that Ph.D. is what they want to do. They know how to balance work and play, and are jaded just enough to realize they don’t want to be stuck in school for 5+ years and want to have a little fun while at it. They aren’t over eager, but they aren’t debbie downers either
2) The kid who just graduated from Undergrad
These are the people that were only at orientation to get drunk at the Graduate happy hour afterwards. They still roll with a posse that dress like they belong in a teenie-bopper magazine, and talk about shit that would only entertain a 10 year old. Yes, you are still an undergrad mentally. By the time I finished my first drink, these kids were already busting out their dice and cards. Nonetheless, I was envious, but my image is at stake, and I cannot be remembered as the guy who was playing King’s Cup or 7,11,doubles with kids that look like they stuff their bras or have trouble growing facial hair. As far as they are concerned, they are still in undergrad, living the undergrad life
3) The Old person
There’s someone in my department that looks to be at least 40 and seems to have been in school for all his life. These are the hardest to connect with. They try to be hip and relive their youth, so they’ll try to start conversations with us about things they think interest us. Best part is that I saw this same guy do the Gangnam style dance….and fail miserably.
4) The Married person / person with kids
There are a ton of those around. The only thing I have to say about this group is that they are super nice, but you know that it’s useless in hanging out with them since they’ll always back out of happy hours and such with the excuse “oh my wife wants me home or I have to pick up my kids from daycare.” You’ll only see them walking around in your building or in class.
5) The Asian FOB
According to a infographic from UCLA graduate orientation website, 333 kids from China were accepted:
FOBS have a look. they dress differently. they rush towards the free food like locusts in a swarm, and they have….”interesting” social skills. During breaks and social events, they’ll be holding food and chowing down…with the look on their face that they WANT to talk to someone, but will ultimately not talk to anyone…but other FOBS. it’s understandable, but it is what it is. They’ll be cooped up in lab working their butts off, and enjoy the occasional karaoke / hot pot. You’ll see them make an effort to go to sporting events, but they wont know what’s going on. Being asian myself, I <3 Fobs. For some reason…people from other counties don’t have as much trouble integrating with American students like Asians do. Europeans are hella fun.