Grad school can be fraught with unexpected situations and new experiences. These experiences also differ as one advances in the PhD program. At the end of each academic year, I ask the graduate students in the lab to reflect on the challenges they have faced, how they overcame those challenges, and what advice they might have for students that are just entering that academic year. Below is a collection of responses from students. The hope is that this advice will help new students prepare and adapt to each academic year.
Lessons during Year 1
- Say no to anything that isn’t getting you where you need/want to be as far as research and publications, even if you anticipate feeling guilty for doing so.
- Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
- Hang around friends as often as possible because they will be a source of motivation.
- Work in public places—gather energy from the people around you.
- Try to do most of your work before you leave campus.
- Keep updated on your area of interest more and invest time in literature reviews and reading journal articles.
- Make time for yourself and socialize more often.
Lessons during Year 2
- Take higher level stats courses (you never know when good professors leave!).
- Make a list of goals for each semester.
- Talk with your advisor openly about any issues you might face in grad school.
- Don't forget to have a good time overall!
Lessons during Year 3
- When you face a problem or worry, talk to someone confidential because our mental health is related on our outcomes in graduate school. You might not get a solution from sharing, but talking about it helps ease the load and get a different perspective.
Last Updated: 7/18/2019