Tips for grad school, #1 and #2
I suppose both of these pieces of advice apply just as well to undergrads. But failing to heed them will have particularly bad consequences for grad students, mostly because everyone else in the room knows enough to see your BS for what it is.
Fortunately, I did not make either of these mistakes... another student in one of my seminars took the initiative and ended up with some egg on his face. I admire the effort, but probably best not to make your first impression a bad one.
Without further ado:
1) Don't be too clever. Chances are, your ideas aren't entirely original, and it's fairly likely someone has stated it far better than you. When you're on the wrong track and the prof tries to rein you in, don't keep running with your idea just because you like it.
2) Don't cite a book or article unless you've actually read it. You look particularly foolish when you misinterpret on the prof's general, one-sentence synopsis and use that bit of false information to act as if you've read the work in question.
More to come, I'm sure.