help me make friends and not look like an ass!
August 18, 2006 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Starting my grad school program next week (clinical psychology, PhD) and am joining a cohort of 7 others. Any suggestions on things to do (or not do) when meeting and getting to know people I'll have to work with for the next six years? I'd like to be friends with them, especially since we have all our classes together. But the chances of such a small group together so much so stressed without conflict seem doubtful to me. Other psych grad school advice is welcome too. Thanks!
posted by gilsonal to Education (6 answers total)
I am in a similarly small program. Be cordial, but don't get too friendly too quickly. My best friends in school have come from other programs. I like people from other programs because you have many things in common--you're still all graduate students--but not enough that you will all drive each other crazy.

Try to attend any events sponsored by student government-type bodies; you will find many other students who are in the same predicament.

If meeting people outside of the school is not an option, be friendly, but take your time opening up to people. Such a small cohort can be trouble if you do not conduct yourself circumspectly.
posted by rachelpapers at 8:05 PM on August 18, 2006

Most important advice I wish I'd got when starting grad school: keep your mouth shut as much as you can. Listen more than you talk. Don't try too hard. Or, you know, what rachelpapers said about circumspection and taking your time.

Second most important: Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, from intimate to adversarial, but simply by being aware that you have a relationship with a given person you have a head start on shaping that relationship. The people you like and/or who like you will not be the problem; for everyone else, try to establish a functional working relationship. It need not be particularly cordial, and it can be based pretty much on simply not interacting when you don't have to, but it should allow you both to keep out of each other's way. If you can remain civil at all times, you should be able to manage all but the worst assholes.
posted by sennoma at 8:52 PM on August 18, 2006

I had a roommate who did this. I would say don't do coke with them all, manipulate them with emotionally abusive mind games, tie them up with duct tape or go through them all sexually like so many kleenex tissues. I was just a casual observer, but I have a suspicion these behaviors may have contributed to akward moments later on in his college career.
posted by octavia at 8:57 PM on August 18, 2006

posted by MsMolly at 9:32 PM on August 18, 2006

A more general read I found hugely, fantastically helpful is Networking on the Network. I think all graduate students should read it...
posted by fake at 9:32 PM on August 18, 2006 [2 favorites]

I don't have much advice for this question, but I am in my 6th year (& final year) of graduate school for a developmental psychology degree. If you'd like talk about what it's like to be in grad school for psychology, e-mail me. I'd be happy to help!
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 12:51 PM on August 19, 2006

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