There’s what professors expect their students to be doing in order to be successful in graduate school and beyond, and then there’s what successful graduate students are actually doing.
How different are these descriptions? And in what ways are they different?These questions are prompted by an email from a current philosophy PhD student at a very good program asking about the unspoken norms of graduate school, after learning that some other students don’t consistently do a thorough job of reading the materials assigned in their seminars.
Curious about other ways in which graduate student behaviors depart from what professors might think they are doing or should be doing (not necessarily by failing to meet expectations; there could be instances of going beyond expectations, or behaviors unrelated to typical expectations), they asked:
What belongs on “The Secret Syllabus” of being a philosophy graduate student?
Let’s hear from current and recent philosophy graduate students about this. (Note to the professors out there: what’s being asked for is not a recapitulation of professors’ thoughts about what graduate students should be doing.)
NOTE: I understand that people who normally post under their own names may wish to comment pseudonymously on this post. That’s fine. But please note that the commenting software associates your email with the name first used with it, so if you want to keep your identity hidden, you should either enter a different email address than the one you used when you commented with your real name, or add “DN” to the beginning of your email address when you enter it in the comment form. (Your email address is not made public.)
UPDATE: A reader draws my attention to the book, The Secret Syllabus: A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of College Success, and from the same series, A Field Guide to Graduate School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum.