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What Not to Wear: Grad School Edition

Posted in Surviving Grad School by Caroline Roberts on March 19, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionSomeone over at the “So You Want to Go to Grad School?” forum asked what you wear to grad school classes. This is a fascinating question, as many people wind up in grad school because they really, really do not want the trappings of a hamster world job, especially the uniform.

So, what do you wear?
A suit is not necessary, although there will always be one person in your cohort who opts to dress like a cast member on Trump’s “The Apprentice.” Nothing wrong with that, but don’t let him make you feel like you forgot to read a dress-code memo.

Then I can wear a T-shirt, flannel, and jeans? That’s the real dress code, right?
No. Grunge is dead. You need to be presentable, especially if you are teaching. The goal is to look more together than the people you are teaching. In some cases, you need to look older than the people you are teaching so you can project authority. Even on days when you aren’t teaching, you still need to polish up slightly because you might run into students on campus. Save T-shirts for Fridays, and wear new jeans, not old ones that are riddled with holes.

What about tattoos or nose rings?
The good news is that grad school allows for some personal expression, so you can show a little tattoo or facial hardware, as long as you look organized otherwise. If you look like you might ditch your class for a biker gang mid-semester, your class won’t respect you. (Then again, they might respect you, but for reasons totally unrelated to your teaching.)

Anything else I need to know?
Your smell matters, big time, possibly more than your look. Eau de Grad Student can get a little funky, like a combo of ramen and unwashed socks. You’re busy, and you may have a stack of papers to grade, but always take a shower before you mingle with the public. Otherwise, Rate My Professors might need to add a “stinky” face.

Maybe a Silly Question … [So You Want to Go to Grad School?]

This is one way to earn the respect of your students. Image of Republic of Texas Biker Rally by Dustin Ground of Austin, TX, from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

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One Response to 'What Not to Wear: Grad School Edition'

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  1. Arnold Pan said,

    So now you tell me the grunge look is out. Basically, I wore an indie version of the grunge uniform through college and coursework in grad school–though it was the 90s then, so maybe more acceptable, right?


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