Labor Day has passed, and summer vacation is officially over. Alan Marnett at BenchFly has some tips for all the students just starting, or continuing with, grad school, who are wondering what's expected of them, who they should work for, and when they'll graduate. (First tip: "You shouldn't drink the lab ethanol.") The first year, Marnett says, includes milestones such as taking classes, doing rotations, choosing a lab, and applying for fellowships, and his advice includes networking with other students and PIs, taking classes that you're actually interested in, and finding a lab that fits your style. Then the second year, he says, involves teaching and selecting a dissertation project, among other things, and means integrating into the lab you've chosen and beginning to build a relationship with your PI. Year three's big milestone is doing your own research full-time, year four includes publishing a paper, and year five is all about writing and defending your dissertation. It's not going to be easy, but if you can get through year four, which Marnett calls the hardest year, then year five can be exciting and fun. And you can then make other people address you as "doctor."
Learning How to Learn, Grad-School Style
Sep 09, 2010