1. Good grades. You are in graduate school. You are not only here to learn the material, but to master and apply it. A’s are expected, B’s are really C’s and C’s are basically F’s. If you focus on learning as much as you possibly can, the grades will take care of themselves. I would hope that if you are in graduate school you will be naturally inquisitive to the point where great grades come naturally.

2. Graduation. Know your degree plan and the rules of your department and school for graduation. Make a plan with your adviser early on, get it approved by your coursework committee, and be sure that someone in your department and school looks it over. The greatest headaches I have seen in graduate school have come for misinformation among graduate students and adviser’s on what is needed to meet graduation requirements. This is your degree, so be pro-active and ensure that you graduate.

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Assigning Priorities…

April 24, 2008

Being able to take all of the incoming tasks in your graduate life and accurately define the importance of them is one of the great keys to a happy & successful graduate career. I have found it is what makes the difference between those barely keeping their heads above water, and those that are not just surviving — but thriving. What one needs is a system that can be used consistantly and accurately to assign degrees of importance to incoming tasks. Read the rest of this entry »

Organizing Information…

April 20, 2008

Last time I spoke about using means allow you to capture all of the incoming responsibilities you have. This time, I want to talk about organizing that information.

1. A Calender.

It is essential to have a calender of some sort in your life. As a graduate student you have meetings, talks, deadlines, lab schedules, projects, papers, and conferences that need to be managed. Most people use a calender as a to do list, and this is not at all its intended function. A calender should only be used to schedule where you MUST be at a specific time and place. It is an adjunct to your to-do list. Read the rest of this entry »

Capturing Information…

April 19, 2008

My first tip for those trying to survive in graduate school is to set up a system that allows you to efficiently and effectively collect all incoming information. Capturing information is going to be crucial to your success as a student. You need to develop a means by which to capture information, process it (make decisions on how/when to do it) and organize it. Capturing incoming information is the first step of survival for grad students and it is essential to keep it as simple as possible.

While there is a host of sources for incoming information (coursework to tackle, research to read, things to grade, emails, phone calls etc…), there are only three means needed to keep this information organized. Read the rest of this entry »