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145. Ten Tips from Hindsight: A PhD’s guide to a PhD

How many times have you said “I wish I had known!” or “Why didn’t they teach us this in school?”

If you’re a graduate student, you’ve probably said it a lot.

For some reason, from the moment you write your first application to the moment you get your hood and mortarboard, you’ll be re-learning what thousands of students have learned before you.

You’ll be treading a well-worn path, but for some reason, you won’t get a map.

Why don’t successful graduates take the time to help their successors along? Well, partly because they immediately get busy on the next stage of their career.

And partly because they may feel they’ve barely escaped the gauntlet of graduate school intact. “What advice could I give?” they muse. “I almost didn’t make it myself!”

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134. Lessons from the Quarantine

COVID-19 is a wildfire burning its way around the planet.

Its impacts are devastating to nearly every aspect of our modern lives: loved ones lost, economies destroyed, and plans put on hold indefinitely.

But like a fire, it’s also shedding light, illuminating the hidden corners of our society and our routines that we may not have taken the time to examine before.

When this fire eventually burns itself out, should we go back to living in the dark, or are there lessons we should learn? Are there torches we can carry beyond this trial to more permanently transform our work, our values, and our lives?

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122. Tenure Tracker – The Life Non-Linear with Dr. Jimena Giudice

Dr. Jimena Giudice has all the traits of a promising new faculty member.

Through her training and early career, she has earned more than a dozen grants and awards. She’s co-authored two dozen papers. And she has trained students and postdocs, gaining a reputation as a highly effective mentor.

You’d expect that Dr. Giudice’s undeniable success was the natural result of an early immersion in science and a dogged adherence to the well-worn path through college, grad school, and postdoc.

But of course, you’d be wrong. Before discovering a love for scientific research, Dr. Giudice spent ten years answering a different calling.

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119. Ten Tips to Crush Your First Semester

It’s that time of year again – summer days are growing shorter, your friends are trying to fit in one last trip to the beach, and the backpack aisle at Target is about to be cleared out to make way for the Halloween costumes.

Yes, it’s back-to-school time. From toddlers to teenagers, this time of year instills foreboding about the school-year ahead. But as a first-year graduate student, you may have other feelings.

For most, it’s the start of a new adventure. For the first time, you’re pursuing the one subject in the world you love best, surrounded by other equally brilliant and passionate people.

It’s the end of being told what to learn and how to study, and the beginning of blazing your own academic trail.

It IS a new experience – different from your matriculation in high school or college – and it may be difficult to know what to expect.

This week, we lay out a ten-ish step plan for putting your best-foot-forward in that first semester of your graduate journey.

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095: Should I Finish My PhD Remotely?

A PhD takes years to complete, so it’s no surprise that your situation may change during that time.  Your PI may move to a different University, your spouse may take a job in another town, or you may need to move back home to care for ailing parents.

In these situations, you’re forced to make a difficult choice: “Should I stay with my lab and finish my work, or find a way to finish this PhD remotely?”

That’s exactly the question we got from “Walker” this week.  He and his wife desperately want to move to a new city, but he also wants to finish his degree.

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