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Five Signs That You're an Economics Grad Student
by Priyanjana Pramanik

1. You’ve started referring to Stata as a person: Once upon a time, Stata was just another software. But slowly, it became the centre of your existence. Now you can’t imagine your life without it, and you catch yourself saying things like, “You need to tell Stata that the variances are unequal, otherwise Stata won’t know what to do. But then once you do that, Stata gives you exactly what you need, and all this extra stuff too!”

2. You express your feelings in more and more inventive ways: Being a grad student is a joyful, uplifting experience, but is not without its moments of frustration. When you say, “I’m going to Benveniste-Scheinkman my way through this midterm”, it is not a good thing.

3. You see Greek letters everywhere: In a simpler time, you didn’t know what the letter psi was called. Maybe you even referred to it casually as ‘the trident’. But now, those days are gone. Your days are filled with gammas and alphas, upsilons and phis, and even if you don’t know what they mean, you can differentiate the Hicks out of them.

4. You can kill cockroaches in your sleep: The natural habitat of the grad student is basements and dimly lit labs. We share our ecosystem with creepy crawly things and things that don’t make any noise in the night. Our eyesight has adjusted to our lowlight surroundings, which means we can detect the slightest flicker of movement out of the corner of our eye. The hapless cockroach may be hit with anything from a hole punch to a hardcover edition of Hubbard and O’Brien’s Macroeconomics.

5. You memorize what you do not understand: No, I have no idea why the formula for the stationary limiting equilibrium in a particular problem is:

But you know what? I can Benveniste-Scheinkman it like a pro.