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The Archetypes of PhD Students – Which One Are You?

Most PhD students have their quirks – and you might recognize behavior similar to some of  the famous subcultures of the 20th century!

1. Punk

This PhD student likes experiments, in which things are broken – such as breaking big blocks of concrete.

Hates to listen to the advice of authority, such as a supervisor.

In times of adversity, might demolish his/her desk.

Doesn’t approve of the monarchy.

Likes to swear at conferences, for shock value.


 2. Goth

This PhD student enjoys citing obscure works that might have been at the root of his/her research topic.

Mumbles incoherently about the philosophical value of ethical questions in academia, then returns to his/her own thoughts.

Has strong opinions, and thinks you care to hear.

Can be found in the lab, to try and build a coffin and crank up his/her street credibility by a few points.

3. Hippie

This PhD student appears to be immune to stress, and floats on a cloud of happiness and/or (il)legal substances.

Believes  that a good connection with the student community will guarantee his/her graduation.

Thinks you should meditate and/or float your way to clarity to answer your research questions.

Studying ‘s for groovin’, man!

4. Emo

His/her research isn’t going well and that’s not fair.

Can be found shuffling in a depressed manner around the coffee machine.

Reacts emotionally to students.

Reacts emotionally to paper acceptance and paper rejection.

Explains you the importance of letting out your emotions.

5. Mod

This PhD student wonders what to wear to supervise students, what to wear to the lab, what to wear to a conference or what to wear to sit behind the computer.

Commutes to campus on a scooter.

Writes until late at night in a coffee bar.

Continuously wants to reinvent his/her research question.

6. Raver

This PhD student works better in a large team.

Shouldn’t be trusted in the chem labs at night.

Was caught waving glowsticks in front of his/her screen.

Usually has earphones in, otherwise will be tapping his/her feet.

Looks to randomly pick at different topics during his/her studies.

7. Hipster

This PhD student prefers to grade at Starbucks or a fancier independent undiscovered coffee place.

Shopped at Goodwill and Salvation Army before it was cool.

Aims at replacing all Microsoft computers in your lab by Apple products.

8. Beatnik

This PhD student  considers research as being On The Road to greater insights in life.

Plays bongos to understand Feynman.

Writes research papers in free-verse poetry forms.

Attempts at discovering jazzy patterns in their lab measurements.

9. Grunge

This PhD student dreams of a postdoc in Seattle.

Stopped caring about getting published – getting published is just a shallow form of validating yourself.

Can always dive straight into the lab and prides himself/herself on yesterday’s lab spills on his/her clothes.

Speaks out against tedious procedures in the administration system, unfair treatment by supervisor, skewed funding schemes and everything you can rebel against.

10. Surf

This PhD student never seems to get stressed out and firmly trust he/she will make it in the end.

Likes to grade outside in the sun.

Declares to all that he/she is riding the waves of academia.

Makes sure all thrash in the lab is correctly separated.

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Nice on Eva, I must be the Raver (my colleague always asks me to stop tapping), I should get some glowsticks 😉 keep up the good writing!

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