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116. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Summer Students (R)

Ten weeks is not a long time. It feels even shorter when you’re tossed into the deep-end of a top-tier research lab.

If you’re spending your summer as a Research Assistant between semesters, or you’ve graduated and want to get some summer experience before grad school, we have ideas to help you hit the ground running.

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174. I Have a Degree – Why Can’t I Find a Job?

Andrew felt like he was on top of the world when he finished his Master’s degree in History. He had excellent grades, experience teaching, and a willingness to explore new fields.

But as he submitted resumes and job applications, he noticed a pattern. Either he didn’t hear back from the employer, or they turned him down due to his lack of experience.

“It’s this cart and horse or chicken and egg thing where you can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience, but you can’t get experience because no one will give you a job,” he lamented.

Andrew’s job search stretched on for month after month, and he realized he had a problem.

“I didn’t know how to articulate my skills,” he said. “I really had trouble figuring out what was transferrable, what was not. And I had a lot of misconceptions about the face value of an advanced degree, and I was emphasizing all the wrong things”

That’s when he turned his attention to the study and practice of finding a job.

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173. Mailbag: I Have a Master’s Degree – Now I Want a PhD

There are many paths to a PhD. In the humanities, it’s common to earn a Master’s degree first (or so we’re told…)

In the biomedical sciences, students regularly skip the Master’s degree entirely, enrolling in a PhD program that includes coursework.

This week, we hear from two aspiring scientists who used the Master’s degree as a stepping stone, and now they’re looking to take the next leap.

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172. Research Software Engineer

If you work in a lab, you’re collecting data. And as the volume of data increases, many researchers find they can’t process or analyze that data in a spreadsheet or stats program anymore. Instead, they’re writing code in Python, R, or C++ to do that processing for them.

But this creates a new challenge: what happens to that code over time? Can your Python script be shared with other labs who might find it useful? When the graduate student who wrote the analysis package graduates, is there anyone around to maintain and update it so the lab can continue to reap the benefits?

Unfortunately, many researchers who know how to code don’t know how to shepherd that resource so it can be useful to others. But luckily, there are experts who know how to help.

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171. The Life and Times of a Humanities PhD Candidate

Sometimes, your humble HelloPhD hosts forget how narrow our experience has been in graduate education. We’re both biomedical PhDs, and while we trained in different departments, there was a significant amount of overlap.

For us, a PhD meant classes, comprehensive exams, rotations, lab meetings, experiments, seminars, and so on.

While those experiences were common across biomedical programs, the similarity starts to fade when discussing other bench-sciences like chemistry, or even patient-focused fields like epidemiology.

If those adjacent fields reveal unique and instructive differences, how much more exciting to explore the distant reaches of the PhD universe – the Humanities PhD!

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