What are we actually? Some of us don't go to classes, learning is done by everyone, not only students, we try to discover or invent something new, which a student doesn't do, some of us actually "teach" our supervisors once we reached a certain year, etc.
So... where do we fall?
My uni calls us postgrad researchers. Makes the distinction between PhD candidates and taught PG Masters students
I don't like being called a student because it gives people outside completely the wrong impression of what I do. Cue questions like 'When are you done for the summer?', 'How's your course?' etc. Grrr
I kind of regard myself as a poorly paid research assistant. Seems more accurate.
I happily hide behind the identity of 'Assistant Lecturer'. At 29, I often get asked what I do. So I respond with that, and if people probe further, I let them know I lecture whilst completing a PhD.
In our department, staff refer to us as 'colleagues' which is a nice touch; more generally as 'Research Students'.
I too hate the tag of 'student' and people in the non-acadmic work, ie friends and some family, still ask me 'how's school?'. That will usually receive a comment under my breath followed by 'fine, but I hate Maths'.
======= Date Modified 01 Nov 2012 14:47:56 =======
My uni calls us postgraduate research students. Within my CV, letters, presentations etc, I usually state 'PhD candidate'.
At the beginning of my PhD, a research officer (without a PhD) rudely commented that 'Well you're only a student' as justification for moving me out of my desk space within my office which she preferred whilst I was away conducting fieldwork (I knew nothing about it until I returned!). Despite the fact that the head of department wanted me to use that office! Same staff member made comments within team meetings that 'I was only a student' therefore X, Y, Z (basically implying that I was of lower status to everyone else in the department). I also overheard her comments to other members of staff that I was only a student therefore did not deserve to have my photo taken and placed on the staff notice board with other staff members. Yes, I am a PhD student, but I was NOT happy and didn't appreciate to be belittled like that!
The bitch in me would relish the chance of jumping to a more senior grade 7 research associate post if awarded PhD (and gently make that known to this member of staff!). ;-) But, I've moved on from that and can't be bothered with such unnecessary office politics.
So, in my experience, amongst some rather unpleasant staff, there were definite overt divisions made between a student (funded by scholarship) and members of paid university staff, so from that experience, I tend not to refer myself as a student (although I know I'm a student!) If that makes sense?!
I always referred to myself as a PhD or postgraduate student, and so did my university. Research assistant wouldn't be appropriate in my case, because I defined my own PhD topic and wasn't assisting anyone. Staff at my university make a visible distinction between undergraduate and postgraduate students and how they are treated, and also to a lesser extent between taught and research students. Research students in particular are treated on a similar par to staff, and are regarded as part of the wider research community.
======= Date Modified 03 Nov 2012 11:52:29 =======
How about simply "PhD Candidate" or better "Doctoral Researcher", avoiding the student label?
You're not really a student anymore in that you're not attending scheduled lectures and the activities you are carrying out are fully in line with those of the employed researchers. You are effectively doing a job.
Any classes attended aren't examined and are effectively on the job training.
It all depends on what student means. For me it means someone who is studying. And for me studying meant learning about something in a formal signed-up way. Not necessarily through taught classes or lectures, but in a formal degree or course that the student (or whatever) has signed up for. Hence my being perfectly happy with the term.
How about "Minions"? ;-)
No ok in all seriousness I refer to myself as a "Postgraduate Researcher" which probably doesn't actually make that much sense now I come to think of it... I don't like to call myself a student because people do tend to dislike you a lot more if you tell them you are such as alluded to by DocInsanity and think you are a tax dodging scrounger (!)
My husband on the other hand delights in the fact that I am in fact classified as a student and I have a "magic card" that makes money disappear off of cinema tickets, museum entrances, restaurant bills etc.
My university refers to us as postgrad researchers/doctoral researchers. Personally I still tend to find myself referring to my position as a student. I think this is probably because I've gone straight through undergrad to masters then PhD without having a 'proper' job yet.
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