I do… have something to say about the unwritten rules that accompany your forays into the Greater Academic World. Because when you attend conferences, colloquiums, workshops, or other group activities and events, there are many unwritten rules that apply, ones that I see broken with alarming frequency by students who otherwise seem perfectly fine, even kind and generous…. Because, you see, nobody really explains them to you–you’re just expected to know them intrinsically, or to pick them up along the way as growing pains, part of the unwritten curriculum of professionalizing. Unfortunately, the simple truth is that if you don’t curb these behaviors early on, they become habit-forming and can lead to your being known as “that grad student who…” and then, “that job candidate who.….”, and then, perhaps, “that professor at x who.….” [fill in the blank with a not-great behavior] Which, in turn, can color your career in all sorts of ways you might never have foreseen or intended when you originally made that choice or set of choices.
I think this would be a great topic to discuss here. I've seen some abysmal behavior at conferences -- bullying behavior in Q&A sessions, sexual predation, etc. -- not just by grad students but also by established scholars. I've also seem some wonderful behavior, as well -- and I think it could be really helpful to provide and discuss examples of each.
What behaviors at conference have you all witnessed that you think people should know to avoid? And which types of behaviors do you think are good, and that more people could engage in? Please share and discuss!