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178. I Didn’t Even Know “Research” Was a Thing!

For some students, graduate schools is a foregone conclusion.

Perhaps they’ve wanted to ‘be a scientist’ since they were nine, and along the way, they learned that a PhD is a stepping stone on that path. Or perhaps they knew their career prospects with a Bachelor’s degree were thin, so they new an advanced degree was in the future.

But Josh wasn’t that student. He was a junior in college before he even learned that ‘research scientist’ was a career that he could pursue.

This week, we revisit his-story. (See what I did there?)

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169. Change Your Plans, Not Your Goals

Even as a child, Alexandra wanted to study space. She had a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Cambridge University, so she seemed like the perfect candidate to for a PhD program.

But after graduation, she didn’t feel ready. She’d need a Master’s degree first, but money was tight and her student visa had run out.

She found a job prospect at a particle accelerator lab, but was turned down because they wanted more programming experience. So she packed her bags and headed home.

Her goal remained the same – to study astrophysics and earn a PhD. But due to circumstances, her plans had to change.

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161. Career Development is NOT a Waste of Time. We Have Proof.

All those feelings of excitement and possibility screech to a halt when you walk back into the lab to see your PI glaring over her reading glasses.

She looks at her watch. “Hey, good to see you. So glad you could join us,” she drips with sarcasm.

After missing a beat, you rally. “Yeah, sorry about being a little late. I heard about an information session on internships for grad students and wanted to check it out. It seems like a really great opportunity for me to…”

She cuts you off there. “Well, I’m not sure you have time for internships or information sessions if you aren’t making progress on that paper.”

And just like that, the hope dies within you and you slump back on your lab bench.

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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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