Inquiring minds want to know: do graduate students participate in extracurricular activities? Or, are scholarship, research, and teaching the only interests we pursue, or have time to pursue, at this point in our education/career?
The answer is, obviously, that, of course, graduate students definitely pursue interests and activities outside their field of research. But, what is interesting are the pervasive attitudes, among other graduate school students and academics, about graduate students' extracurriculars.
One blogger, Grad Hacker, defining "extracurriculars" as "anything that is not explicitly related to your PhD research," wrote:
"The idea of doing extracurricular activities during grad school is a touchy subject, and here’s why: On one hand, activities outside of your research are often the best way to run into interesting, new, out of the box opportunities. On the other hand, most grad students can easily point to a friend that is spending a lot of time doing anything but their research and is thus well on their way to the dreaded 10-year PhD."Seems a little unrealistic to expect that a Phd student would do nothing except research explicitly related to his or her Phd. And yet, there seems, at least from that post, to be a stigma about it, as if it reveals a lack of focus and dedication that makes you lesser of a scholar.
Another website, Gradschools.com, suggests that graduate school extracurricular experiences "[take] two main forms: fellowships and study abroad experiences, and both can enrich your overall time in school in ways you never imagined. And as a result, they have the potential to make you a much more desirable job candidate." To me, fellowships and study abroad experiences do not even count as extracurricular -- it just seems more like intracurricular to me! Is all we are supposed to do is work? Does everything have to add a line to our CV?
What has been your experience with attitudes towards your pursuits outside of academics while pursuing a Phd?
Post script: My "extracurric" involves my band, The Normal Living. I write songs, and sing, along with my band. We actually have our record release party tonight -- so if you have cabin fever from being stuck inside from Nemo's wrath, come downtown to Fontana's and check us out!