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The Grad Student Translator

Graduate students are a special breed of humans who are good at school and nothing else. (Trust me, I am one.) They’ve spent so much of their adult life huddled down in their college library that they’ve developed quite differently from most other people, and as such, they speak a unique language that baffles many non-graduate students.

Fortunately, being a member of this elite tier of students (at least we wish we were elite), I can provide some helpful translations so that you may better understand the pretentious bullshit that comes out of a grad student’s mouth.

Philosophy Grad Student: Although I’ve spent the majority of my academic career focusing on how 19th and 20th century philosophers influenced modern forms of government, I must still insist that Plato’s allegory of the cave remains the most profound and insightful work in the discipline which I have yet to encounter.

Translation: I only got into philosophy because I watched The Matrix.

English Grad Student: In reference to the essay we were assigned, I must point out that while we now regard Poe as one of America’s greatest writers, his appeal to literary critics of the time seems to indicate that while he produced his work, most cultural authorities regarded him as little more than a writer of cheap and disposable fiction. This makes me wonder which of our contemporary “pulp fiction” authors will earn greater respect in the future.

Translation: Listen, I kind of enjoy Harry Potter more than Ernest Hemingway, and I’m just too embarrassed to come out and say it.

History Grad Student: While history itself is such an all-encompassing subject, I find that my inclination is to focus primarily on the violent conflicts which have shaped our modern world. As we all know, one must learn from the past if one is to avoid repeating the mistakes of former leaders.

Translation: I like stories with explosions.

Art Grad Student: While some may scoff at my decision to continue on this academic path, I find their objections to be a mere trifle. While the business men and women devote their efforts to the increase in material capital, I would rather spend my time stocking up on the spiritual wealth that a refined appreciation of aesthetics can give to an individual.

Translation: I am going to be so poor for the rest of my life.

Music Grad Student: While my efforts at songwriting during my teenage years were inspired primarily by the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure of popular music, I’ve since broadened my horizons and incorporated a unique blend of experimental electronica organized in a manner based on Mozart’s more obscure works.

Translation: I’m in a band. Let’s have sex.

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