What graduate school is about: goals and survival skills
What is Graduate School about? Goals and Survival Skills Acknowledgement: CRA-W Graduate Cohort Anne Condon, University of British Columbia Outline How to succeed in grad school How to manage common issues
Important to realize Class performance is not as important as before but you still have to do well In research, no-one knows the answer! Youre in charge of your education and career not yet sure of your destination need help apprentice in research Colleagues you meet can be lifelong friends
Research Success "If you want to make important discoveries, work on important problems - P.B. Medawar Find problems that will have an impact and are fun to work on Apprenticeship Learn from all aspects of grad school
Classes: engage in discussions, ask questions! Projects: develop assessment, writing skills Seminars: learn how to frame an idea ... and ask more questions! People: sound out ideas - colleagues Papers: learn the art of reading a paper Apprenticeship - cont
Attend seminars Attend Ph.D. proposal presentations Attend Ph.D. defenses Broaden knowledge Might find an interesting topic or see a relationship Listen to how others ask questions Pay attention to how people give presentations Select courses and profs strategically
Get project experience Learn about likely research areas Learn about important techniques Learn about the profs ... and impress them! Communicate technical material well
Distill complex ideas down to a few clear, concise statements Volunteer to present in seminars Get (and give) feedback Write multiple drafts of papers Practice, practice, practice! By yourself In front of friends and family In front of colleagues
Manage your time Prioritize Eliminate context-switching overhead Decide what is most important Make time to think about and do research! For TA duties, respond to emails in batches,
rather than being interrupt-driven For research, allocate several contiguous hours & eliminate distractions Plan ahead for departmental milestones qualifying exams, breadth requirements, finding an advisor Not that you expect to, but... Sometimes unanticipated situations arise when working closely with others...
Consensual relationships (or close personal relationships) with faculty are against policy, due to inherently unequal positions of power Best case scenario: not a good forum for experiencing & evaluating a relationship Worst case scenario:
uncomfortable at best may color what other faculty think of you may compromise your career faculty partner may have to go and you? Always believe in yourself its normal to lose confidence sometimes if you always excel, youre probably not taking enough risks
find others who believe in you too ask about scholarships, travel awards suggest paper deadlines celebrate each step forward! Outline How to succeed in grad school Some common issues and how to manage them Adjusting to grad school
Everybody arrives with different strengths & experiences But really, they are all in the same boat With practice, you can get up to speed Grad school is very bursty At times, it will demand enormous amounts of time Give yourself time to recover between the bursts Growing as a researcher
A major transition happens in grad school Classes are almost done Now, you have to define your own research agenda Self-driven schedule Having a good support network will smooth this transition Build relationships with mentors during first 2 years Turn to them for support and inspiration Re-introduce structure to your environment reading groups monthly social lunches to build a sense of community with peers
You are in charge of your graduate career... You need to make things happen You CAN make things happen and if you need it, help is there. Use it!
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