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162. Get More Done with LabScrum w/ Dr. Lisa May

It’s 8PM on a Wednesday night, and you’re sitting in a quiet lab all alone. It’s your turn to present during lab meeting on Friday, and that familiar sense of panic starts to set in.

What HAVE you been doing with your time? You flip back through the lab notebook and remember how you spent the first week waiting on reagents. The second week is a blur, and the third week, every dish in the incubator got contaminated for reasons no one will admit.

Now you have a day to try to come up with something… anything… to show for yourself.

Of course, it didn’t have to be this way, and with some techniques from the tech industry, you’ll never have to fret over a ‘missing month’ again.

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158. Five Strategies for Defeating Distractions

It’s Friday morning, and you promised your PI a draft of your paper before the weekend. The trouble is, you lost a lot of time this week to distractions.

Monday you had lab meeting and a few other planning sessions. Tuesday you worked from home but got sucked into cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry instead of writing.

You don’t remember why Thursday wasn’t more productive. You started out the day feeling anxious about the deadline, and then spend a few hours (hours?!) online shopping to numb the anxiety.

And here you are on Friday with less than 7 hours left until your deadline and your stress levels are maxed out. So why is it that your main desire is to watch videos on TikTok?

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154. How to Plan Your PhD w/ Hugh Kearns

A PhD Plan sounds like an oxymoron, but charting a path to graduation is one of the most important things you can do as a graduate student.

This week, we talk with Hugh Kearns of Thinkwell about why PhD planning is so challenging for students, and learn about some tools that can keep your research on track.

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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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