Tag Archives: grad school

Lessons from Packing for Field Research

recently-updated140-650x840So two weekends ago, I had to help a couple lab members get ready for their research field campaign. It was quite a learning experience, if I do say so myself, especially because I will have to be doing the same for my field work in a few short months. Anyway, because I found the experience so humorous and insightful, I thought I’d share the lessons I’ve learned with those who are or are planning to be in disciplines that do a lot of field work. Continue reading Lessons from Packing for Field Research

Skills of a Successful STEM Grad Student

traits-for-massive-success-in-businessBeing successful in grad school takes a lot of effort and a lot of different skills. Of course, to succeed as a STEM grad student, your knowledge and technical skill set in your specific discipline are definitely important. However, there are many other skills required in order to be a successful grad student that, of course, no one ever seems to tell you about.

So, in no order, here are the skills that I’ve found are needed across the board, in order to get through grad school ad a STEM student. Continue reading Skills of a Successful STEM Grad Student

Grad School: The Temptation to Quit

Though this blog post is directed towards those going through difficult grad school experiences, the advice given is completely applicable for anyone going through similar situations.

167It was a bad quarter. Though I somehow managed to escape relatively unscathed and pass my classes… hell is not an adequate enough word to describe how low some days got. In fact, some days my mental health was in such peril that many times I felt like walking into my boss’s office and tell him to take me off the project I’m working on… or, on the worst days, tell him I’m quitting the program for good.

In the end, I did neither of these things and after a day or two the feelings passed. However, I remember that afterwards I just felt so guilty. Because, here I am. I’m the first in my family that has been given the opportunity to graduate from college and continue my higher education. I have a rare chance to pursue a career that I am so passionate for and possibly make a difference. Yet, for some reason, despite all this, I’ve thought of walking away countless times. Quitting. Continue reading Grad School: The Temptation to Quit

Anxiety in (Grad) School

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Disclaimer: This post is just a single anecdote of my experiences with feelings of anxiety and my personal way of coping with it. I am my no means an expert and highly recommend that if you think you may be dealing with feelings of anxiety or have an anxiety disorder, that you seek help from a professional. 

I’ve been in grad school for almost five months now (holy crap, it feels like years!) and it has been quite an experience. Though I’ve bitched and complained both here and on my Tumblr, overall it’s been a positive experience. After all, it feels like everyday I’m learning something new about my research field, meeting fantastic people and getting more and more involved with the science that I love… Continue reading Anxiety in (Grad) School

Narrowing your “research focus”

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Hi everyone!

So as the thought of grad school gets closer, so does the realization that it might be a good idea to start thinking about what you want to focus on as a research topic. But of course, this leads to many questions such as, how do you even go about narrowing your interests? And how refined of a research topic do you really need before grad school? Will my lack of a focus reflect badly on my grad applications? Does this mean I can’t apply to fellowships? Help meeee!

Not to worry, my friends! Hopefully this post will answer all of your questions and more! For organization purposes, this post will be separated into three parts!

Continue reading Narrowing your “research focus”

Dealing with Grad School Offers

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You’ve made it this far. Hopefully you have gotten some kick ass acceptance letters, even if they may be mixed in with some icky rejections. However, you’re not done yet. Now comes what I found was the most stressful part of this whole process: choosing which offer to accept.

Don’t worry, though. You’ll be fine.

Here below to help are a few suggestions, tips and anecdotal tidbits that I personally used when I made my decision. Hope it helps!

As a disclaimer, this is highly subjective. You know yourself best. You know what you want out of life. This is just here to help those that need a little perspective on what they should be considering.

If anyone has any of their own suggestions, please leave it in the comments below!

Continue reading Dealing with Grad School Offers

Preparing for Grad School Visits

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Ding! A wild email notification appears.

Oh no! It’s a message from one of the grad schools you applied to!

You half-heartedly tap on the notification and close your eyes for a quick prayer to the grad school gods. Your heart wants the best, but you’re preparing for the worst.

Finally in a second of bravery, your eyes open and you skim through the message. YOU’VE BEEN ACCEPTED! CONGRATS! 🙂 A wave of excitement passes over you. The possibilities are endless! Until, you have a realization. A pause in the joy. Acceptance means it’s time to actually visit the grad schools and talk with your potential advisors! Ah, crap.

Not to fear my soon-to-be grad student, the hardest part is over. Visiting grad schools was actually an extremely fun experience for me. After all, I got a free trip to whatever city the school was in and got to socialize with people who were in the exact same situation as I am. Plus, for grad school visits there’s always a chance to get free food and alcohol!

Of course, your visit to your potential grad school is also very important. This is where you will really get a feel for if this university is where you want to spend the next 5+ years of your life. After all, this is your chance to see if the university fits the criteria of things you want in a grad school and a chance to ask your potential research advisors important questions about your future in their lab. You know, no pressure.

Anyway (!!), after a very long-winded introduction, below is a list of some advice I have to help you prepare for the grad visits to come! Hope it helps!

Continue reading Preparing for Grad School Visits

Good days; Bad days.

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There are good days and there are bad days. Oh boy, are there bad days. There are also days that are neither good nor bad, but ultimately they also suck because you just really needed that good day this week and it hasn’t happened yet and someone said something that pissed you off but you didn’t say anything and you’re just on the brink of flipping a table and leaving, but instead you just take an early day and proceed to blast music and drown out your thoughts. That was today. In case anyone cares. Continue reading Good days; Bad days.

10 Perspectives for Prospectives

Hello, my friends!

So, myself and a lot of other people on the interwebs have been celebrating the fact that we’ve survived our first quarter/semester of grad school! Oof! It was quite an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for damn sure. In addition to celebrating, some of the lovely people on Tumblr are also using their first semester experiences to share some insider’s perspective on what those first few months will really be like. I wanted to do the same! (And also wanted a reason to look up gifs in my spare time).

So, below are 10 things that I observed and experienced during my first quarter of grad school! I hope this gives some perspective to those prospective grad students (see what I did there?) who soon be joining in our misery adventures!

Enjoy!

Continue reading 10 Perspectives for Prospectives

Grad Courses as an Undergrad

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shrug_answer_101_xlargeTowards the end of my undergrad career, I got a little bored with my typical classes and I was in need of some units to qualify for financial aid. So, during a brief morning of possible insanity, I decided to sign up for a grad course. Fortunately, that brief moment of insanity didn’t go horrible wrong because the grad courses I took as an undergrad were probably the most fun out of all the classes that I took during university.

Not only were they fun, but I feel it was also pretty beneficial to my academic career. First,  it was a nice way to minimize the culture shock of transitioning from the learning style needed in an undergrad class to that which is needed in grad classes. Not to mention, it probably also showed initiative when I was applying to internships and grad programs, because it showed admissions faculty that I was willing to try something new and was dedicated to learning topics in my field.

Of course, I can see how intimidating it could be. There are also many questions that are unanswered until you actually take the class such as how different is it from undergrad courses? How much harder will it be? Are the tests worse? What is it like being in a class with a bunch of older grad students? Do they judge you? Etc. Etc. Etc.

Continue reading Grad Courses as an Undergrad