Office Hours: Grad Students, Please Dress Appropriately
Ah, here we are, starting a brand new year. I always love walking into class and scoping out you grad students. You can always tell who you are – who else actually uses laptop briefcases and washable water bottles, travel french press mugs, or personalized travel coffee mugs. For the record, I don’t really want to see last year’s Christmas card every time you take a sip of your self-brewed-because-I’m-a-poor-grad-student-who-can’t-afford-Starbucks coffee. Obviously, I think you all (and, while I know it’s bad to generalize, I really do mean all) need to take a step back and realize that every time a grad student starts a sentence with “I’m writing my thesis on,” most people stop listening. Haven’t you realized that by now?
I hate to be so tough on grad students. During my three years here, I have had some great TAs who actually acted their age (24, at the time). For example, last year I had a TA who looked/dressed/acted like the blonde guy from O-town. Everyday he would come to class wearing faded, ripped jeans, a sports t-shirt and converse sneakers. It was great to see that one TA out of thousands understood that it was unnecessary to dress like a tool.
Unfortunately, my TA this year did not get the memo. I walked into my first discussion and he was wearing slacks, a button down shirt, and a sweater vest. Admittedly, he looked handsome. How could he not? He was wearing a perfect outfit for a fancy dinner in New York City. I wouldn’t really describe his outfit as “appropriate” attire for a fifteen person undergraduate discussion in the Midwest. Of course, I felt bad for him – little did he know that he would be the focus of this insulting rant. However, it’s completely unacceptable to walk into an informal discussion wearing business attire. Where does he think he is? Wall Street? Even 24 year olds on Wall Street can afford Starbucks.
So, Grad Student, all I am asking is this – please act your age. I do understand that the pretentious I’m-writing-a-thesis attitude is inescapable – it’s just something that’s in your blood. What I don’t understand is why you think I’ll take you more seriously if you’re wearing a sweater vest.