Posted by: Dan | September 4, 2007

8 Reminders for Grad School and Life

Last week, Mike of Getting Things Done In Academia had a great post that couldn’t go unmentioned on Eight reality checks for new grad students. I’ll just copy the intro and bulleted points here – please go to GTDIA for the explanations.

Graduate school is not your undergraduate education on steroids. It is a transformative journey in which you spend most of your waking moments training yourself to think and act like a scientist. Along the way you have many mentors and guides, not least of which are your fellow graduate students, the vast literature, and fussy, know-it-all blogs.

Mike goes on to talk specifically about the expectations of mentors for grad students, but these suggestions apply to every example of learning and academic acheivement – including those people outside of grad school. I of course don’t speak from experience in saying that, but even the self-taught geniuses out there follow these common-sense tools for learning and teaching oneself. They’re a case-study in intellectual advancement.

  1. Work hard – becoming an expert requires work, no matter how great the talent.
  2. Read – be well read; read constantly.
  3. Talk – and exchange ideas often.
  4. Write – proposals and reports, to every outlet that you can.
  5. Collaborate – no person is an island, no matter how great the talent.
  6. Develop a toolkit – make yourself unique.
  7. Set goals – and always be completing something.
  8. Have fun – if you’re not having fun, try something else.

A related post of mine from the archive: Habits of Mind and Scientific Literacy.



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