Graduate students: a joy to have around UD


Jake Schaner

When I first came to the University of Dallas in the fall of 2006, I was met with a pleasant surprise: graduate students. Originally, I had thought UD a university only of undergraduates, but I soon discovered those gems of wisdom whose presence on the Irving campus adds to its intellectual luster.

What first struck me about graduate students was their dapper yet modest sense of style.  Who knew one could do so much with only tweed jackets and sweater vests?  Their fashion is hard to miss, especially if you happen to frequent the Cap Bar.  At this particular location, the grad students demonstrate their keen talent for securing any open table and holding it for hours at a time.  How I wish to learn their ways of style and strategy.

It was not until I took my first upper-level classes that I tasted the full sweetness of graduate-student wisdom.  Your average graduate student (as if graduate students are merely “average”) has the innate ability to make the profoundest of contributions to a class discussion.

After one encounter with a graduate student, I was left to wonder at his talent for reading some of Shakespeare’s sonnets in anapestic trimeter. Anapestic trimeter, I tell you!

How I hang on every word that comes from the mouth of a grad student.  If the profundity of his classroom contributions weren’t enough, a grad student makes such articulations not once, but many times, often in a single hand-raise.

Perfectly complimenting the profundity of his or her words are a graduate student’s dramatic hand gestures.  Much like a maestro conducting an orchestra or a wizard casting a spell, a grad student delivers his words with proverbial effect. Indeed, his words often leave me entranced or spellbound.  He peppers his soliloquies with a litany of sesquipedalian words, like “Tony’s Creole Seasoning” over a filling meal.  After each class, I can’t wait to run home and look up their meanings in the dictionary.

Without fail, graduate students contribute to classroom discussion with perfect intellectual confidence, though often masked in the feigned ignorance of “Maybe this … ” or “Do you think that maybe Machiavelli is anticipating Hegel when he says … ?”  This is humility par excellence.

Perhaps my favorite observation of graduate students occurs after sundown. Yes, I’m talking about the business-school students.  These students exude mystery itself.  Just after twilight, these scholars of secrecy emerge from desk and den, making their presence known in unparalleled subtlety.  One wonders what their diurnal duties might be.  Mild-mannered accountant by day, MBA mystic by night?  The campus may never know. But what I do know is that I hope, someday, to follow in their footsteps.



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