I’m glad you are applying to graduate school. From the point of view of a current student, it’s fun to bring in new batches of candidates each year to talk science with and share our love of this program and this city. It’s neat to see the potential in each year’s prospective class over the 5 weekends we host interviews each year.
But, dear Candidates, please understand this: while I and all of the other students you interacted with while interviewing were excited to meet you, we were there for you, not for us. We are already in graduate school, in labs, and pursuing the scientific opportunities we want. You, on the other hand, are trying to get to that place. You are interviewing because you have an interest in doing research here, in living here, in becoming a part of the graduate program here. We are helping with your interview weekend because we love the decision that we made; you are (presumably) interested in learning why you should make the same decision.
It’s called an interview weekend for a reason- the entire visit, not just the formal sit-down meetings with professors, is an interview. The current students, in fact, do have a say as to whether or not you get accepted into our program.
So please do not waste our time.
Any of the graduate students you saw during the weekend had any number of other things we could have been doing with our time besides spending it with you- sleeping in, doing laundry, going to lab, reading papers, or writing journal articles are just a handful of the things that come to mind- instead of taking you to your interviews all day Friday or giving you a tour of the city at 9:00 am on a Saturday. At the very least, listen to what we are saying. Interact with us. Respond to our comments about the program and the city with questions of your own- we know, after all, that most of you have never been here before, and that none of you are currently in the program. When we sit with 20 of you on a bus for six hours, or at various lunches and dinners throughout your visit and see nothing but blank stares and the backs of your cell phones, we are not impressed.
Graduate school takes motivation, and it begins now with your interviews. Make an effort.
A frustrated graduate student