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girlofscience's avatar

What stereotypes do you believe about the various types graduate and professional students?

Asked by girlofscience (7567points) January 8th, 2009

As a grad student currently taking a class with med students, the animosity between the two groups has become increasingly obvious to me. There seem to be stereotypes and beliefs about each type of graduate and professional student. Some people dislike (in general) certain groups more than others. I am interested in these stereotypes.

Please offer your opinions of (as well as general preferences for and dislike of) the following groups:

Graduate Students (Ph.D.s-to-be)
Medical Students (M.D.s-to-be)
Law Students (J.D.s-to-be)
Business Students (M.B.A.s-to-be)

If you want to go crazy, you can get into your stereotypes of various kinds of grad students (sciences, humanities, etc.) and even students pursuing degrees such as D.O., Psy.D., DVM, etc.

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22 Answers

nikipedia's avatar


PhD > MD

seekingwolf's avatar

I’m premed in college right now and I DO NOT hang out with other premeds.

Ugh, yeah, I’m sure many of them are nice and all, but most of them are freaking OBSESSED with grades and that’s all they talk about it…boring boring, and they are usually stuck up, like they are all that…

Yeah I don’t hang out with them. >< The only people who know that I’m premed is one friend at college (my roomie), my parents, and my advisors.

Nimis's avatar

In groups, they all annoy me.
There’s some weird mob mentality that takes over or something.
Apparently intelligent people are not above this.

Individually, they’re all alright.
No real preference here.

Well, that’s not entirely true.
The lone one separated from its pack
and cornered by another group is the most annoying of all.
Being defensive and self-righteous is rarely becoming.

andrew's avatar

Don’t forget the MFA’s in there. =)

Siren's avatar

This is insane! Can’t we all just get along?

I had no idea these biases existed. And they’re all supposed to be such highly intelligent, and objective intellectuals. Good grief!

Siren's avatar

sorry, I over-reacted. But university sure has changed since my time…boo hoo!

seekingwolf's avatar

You’re right, it would be nicer…I don’t know why it’s like this, but it is…

See why I don’t hang out with other premed students? :P
If they weren’t just there on their high horse, ragging on all other sorts of degrees and areas of study, maybe, just MAYBE, they would be bearable. Seriously…it’s just unnecessary.

They tell me that psychiatry isn’t “real medicine”. Well, we’ll just see who takes care of them when their inner pathology and narcissism chews up their happiness and productivity!

Siren's avatar

@seekingwolf: Wow! They actually said that about psychiatry??? That’s lame, because you are both taking similar courses, which implies you both needed the same prerequisites to get there, correct?

tinyfaery's avatar

Most of the Philosophy majors I took classes with were the most obnoxious group of (primarily) men.They loved to hear themselves talk, and never listened to anything anyone else said. Most of these people wanted to be lawyers. Need I say more?

Siren's avatar

@tinfaery: That’s hilarious! Maybe they loved to hear themselves talk because they were practicing for when they’d have to get up in court and defend/prosecute. Or maybe they were becoming lawyers because they loved to hear their own voices. Funny.

Darwin's avatar

As a former graduate student I didn’t realize that there were stereotypes. Besides I never had time to worry about it and rarely saw students who weren’t in my own small corner of the world. I basically lived in the biology building, the basement of the museum, and home, and that was it. But then I also was obsessed with my subject and spent all my time researching it or out in the field. I rarely got to know any other students except those equally obsessed.

Well, we did tend to tease the guy who studied fossil mouse teeth, but he took it in good spirits.

However, as an undergraduate I kept running into similar personalities within various majors.

As a biology major I had my notes stolen by a pre-med student and I also had an experiment sabotaged by a pre-med student. The ones I knew were extremely competitive and obsessed by grades, some to such an extent that they would damage other students’ learning.

However, biology majors who wanted to go into biology itself tended to be rather laid back, capable of making really wild punch in trash cans, and often obsessed with one particular type of animal, such as monitor lizards or tree snails (the last was me).

Philosophy and math majors were interesting because they were very good at getting so distracted by a thought that they would forget to go to class, or even to eat at times.

Business students were completely uninterested in us slovenly natural history types and were always discussing where best to apply for a job. They also wore nicer clothes than we did.

And many law students were obsessed with appearances, except for one guy I knew who let his hair grow long and always wore tattered blue jeans. He was later hired by a fancy law firm because they needed a lawyer whose appearance would make rock star clients more comfortable.

I knew a number of engineering majors and almost all of them were quite angry that they had to take silly stuff like English, history and so on. They wanted to do engineering and couldn’t see why they needed to know anything outside of engineering.

That’s my experience and I’m sticking to it.

wundayatta's avatar

The difference is between practice and research. Professional students actually use the stuff they learn in school. They are essentially (as researchers see it) glorified mechanics.

On the other hand, researchers are pure. They don’t get their hands dirty in the real world. They just gain knowledge purely for the sake of knowledge.

You can see how their might be friction between the groups if the prejudices of the graduate students become overtly expressed. After all, the students getting professional degrees think they are smart and doing good things, too.

As if happens, my degree is from a professional school. However, my job is to work with pure researchers.

shilolo's avatar

You can always do both… :-)

Siren's avatar

I like your story Darwin.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Siren…yeah they did say that about psychiatry. :/

It’s really stupid because you’re right, we take the same courses…
It’s so silly.

Honestly, I don’t care what field of study someone is in…if they have the drive to become a J.D. or an M.D. or a P.h.D in a field, then I say that they are motivated and good for them. :) It’s good that there are so many different areas of study…if everyone was a premed student (or any other)...ugh. Do you know how boring that would get?

I don’t see the need for “competition”...

Siren's avatar

When I was in school ages ago I did not notice this rivalry, as I will call it. It seems one-sided in some cases, to translate into snobbery I guess. Mind you, my chosen institution was not the best in our area academically-speaking and ratings-wise, so maybe there wasn’t as much reason to have “bragging rights”, although several instructors were from Harvard.

Darwin's avatar

@Siren – many of our family went to Princeton, so the word Harvard does not particularly impress us. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

Me! Me! Me, too! Can I compete in your one-upman-(or woman)-ship game?

I’m not impressed wit NUTHIN!

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – additionally my dad is an Aggie, so we cover both ends of that scale already.

Siren's avatar

@Darwin: Drat! I thought it gave merit to our not so meritous college. Foiled again!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I was pre-med in college and like @seekingwolf my best friend (also pre-med) and I avoided the other pre-meds like the plague – we spent more time doing activist work and it was quite foreshadowing as we both eventually rejected the path to a medical degree and much of our issues with the concept of obtaining an M.D. have to do with the people usually obtaining M.D.s, the system of hierarchy that one has to go through and kiss ass for years and years…we’re in the field of public health now, it suits us better…we got our Masters and so were graduate students for a bit…the other graduate students didn’t bother us so much this time around…at this point in our lives we’re working in the field but planning to get PhDs in the future…we are aware, however, of the pitfalls of the world of academia and I do believe we have a healthy balance between work in the community and being able to deal with researchers who have no idea what it’s really like out there

DrMC's avatar

My wife trained at Fudan in China (their version of MIT) – the top students were discouraged from medicine, as it was felt a waste of talent.

I pursued an MD PhD. I wanted both. I’ve published in top journals. Society does not reward this. If you want braces for your kids you have to see patients. Some days I don’t want to work. By mid afternoon, I’m enjoying the patients and glad I came to work. I will however always approach things differently. The drug reps hate it I’m sure. Part of my training was to dissect and find the flaws hidden in medical journals. I’m not to shabby at sniffing out the BS and there sure be a lot.

When ever people that are highly educated but different there will be this kind of thing.

In chemistry it was the physical chemist with his bow tie, versus the pot smoking organic chemist with long hair and weird music.

Graduate school is truly a privilege and an honor. I am better for having struggled there.

Trust me there is a very BiiiiiiG difference between PHD and MD. The PhD was too long, so I changed to a masters. The two fields have almost entirely different skill sets. It’s almost as silly as a chess champion comparing himself to a star football player. One is not less than the other.

Society right now is paying the doctors more, but shortly that will change after the big O’s cultural revolution is done.

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