Citations are people too.

One lesson I've learned in grad school is "Citations are people, too."

Early in my grad career, I'll admit that I put citations on a pedestal. There's good reason to do so; a published paper represents a fair amount of work and some degree of consensus among (some) experts in the field. (That isn't to say that all citations are equal.)

As I've progressed and had the opportunity to meet the people behind the citations at conferences and other professional events, I've been encouraged by knowing the people behind the research. It allows you to think about the researchers' motivations, biases, and quirks. It frees you up to consider how you might do things differently.

Most importantly, it opens up a dialogue between you and the once-monolithic literature. 

You are among your peers.