Today is the Grad School Orientation.
There are a couple of tips to note:
"Success in Graduate School" by a number of people at Princeton University. They are faculty members as well as senior graduate students.
1. Many people here will struggle at a point that they think they are not going to make it through the graduate school. They got depressed, worried, etc. Don't isolate yourself. Don't just talk to those you have been talking with. Try to meet new friends and then you will find that you are not the only one. Build your social capital which will be your important resources throughout your career and life.
2. What really important is your RESEARCH. The department imposes on you many requirements such as course work, exam etc. There were people who almost failed their generals (i.e. qualifying exams) eventually were highly recognized because of their research achievements.
3. Ask yourself, what it means to you to be successful.
4. You don't have to do better than others. All you need to do is to do well enough. The schools had trained us so well to criticize. Look around and talk to people. Try to know what interests others, find and appreciate the good work they've done and learn the way they work.
5. Work smart. Not just work hard. Working 24 hours a day is not going to work. Your brain needs rest in order to work efficiently and cleverly.
6. Set priority! (This has been repeatedly mentioned throughout the day - therefore it has to be really really important!) You will have tasks in categories A, B and C. Find out the time in a day that you are most awake and efficient. Work on your tasks A at that time. And then you can go on to tasks B. Tasks C would be those that can be forgone if necessary.
7. Time flies! So do PLAN! When you do something, ask yourself, is it the best use of my time? Your efficiency falls when you get tired at the end of the day. (sort of like point 6 though) As an experience shared by a faculty member, she said she would satisfy herself in the morning by completing a certain task she has promised herself to do and then work on other tasks in the rest of the day.
8. You can't work if you feel depressed or feel having no friends.
9. Social capital (again). Develop relationships with your fellow students/colleague/people who appeared in a conference you went to. Do collaborate more with people. This forms a professional academic family. When you later on go look for jobs, go to another university, you might see them again.
10. Advisors are to help you than to judge you.
11. Keep reminding yourself the purpose of attending grad school.
12. When you read papers, do criticize : is it too good to be true?
13. Think yourself as a professional, as a junior colleague and be contributive to your academic community.
14. "What do I like?" "What don't I like" Think these today! Don't think until it is time for you to graduate and to look for jobs. The graduate school is where you will discover yourself and and your potentials.
15. Ask all the stupid questions you need to ask.
16. Be open to new ideas even you have to get focused into a certain topic in an area. Transformation is allowed.
17. Don't leave anything (task) incomplete. Let's say you've put off a report for 3 months. Then the report now has to be 3 months better than it should be 3 months earlier! (Ohhh this is so true)
18. Have a personal life outside the academic life.
19. Research and teaching are not necessarily competing with each other. Try to make teaching beneficial to your research and vice versa.
20. Just make sure what you've done in teaching is all that is necessary for your students. Don't let teaching be an escape from other more frustrating responsibilities such as exams and research.
21. get to know the graduate program administration in your department. Make her/him your friend. From her/him you will know a lot more about the culture of the department as well as many unwritten rules.
22. The most important thing in your graduate study would be your dissertation advisor. Choose well!
23. "Eyes on the Prize". Think a year or two ahead about what you want to be.
24. Don't lose momentum after the generals (qualifying). Yea it is okay to relax for a week or two after the exam but if you continue relaxing throughout the summer or even till the Christmas, you've lost momentum and much precious time that could instead be spent on working on the next step e.g. deciding dissertation committee etc.
25. Learn how to communicate effectively with multiple and a broad range of audiences. By communicating with a more general public, you will be challenged by questions such as why you are doing this project, what your project is about...etc which are important to keep you on track.
26. Become involved in campus life and activities. You may decide the portions say how much time you should spend on activities and on your research. Pick 1 or 2 or 3 non-academic activities. If you already have some, don't give them up!
27. When looking for jobs, have plans B and C after plan A. Be flexible and have backup plans. Just remind that there will only be one person getting the "X" job and that might not be you.
28. Goal settings. Both personal and career goals. Evaluate how well you are doing now and how you will be doing. Re-evaluate yourself every semester. Make a timeline or chart about your progress: semester goals/yearly goals/3-to-5-year goals.
29. Keep a research journal to collect your research ideas and thoughts!
30. Be proactive in self-care: health and well-being. This is very important. Don't put it to your task C. Make it a task B or A (cf. point 6)