I find it beneficial to find someone in my tribe who is just a little bit further along in their journey than I am. These tribe members act like pathfinders by looking back on their own path and, with a certain amount of introspection, let me know about pitfalls or advice that can help me on my journey.
I have gathered a virtual group of recently graduated (graduate) students to act as our pathfinders. In this series of posts, you will hear their thoughts on questions that either graduate students have asked me or I have even wondered myself.
How can you participate in the conversation?
- Post your thoughts in the comments. If you’ve recently graduated, make sure to include that in your response.
- Email me directly.
- Share this post using the social media buttons to expand its reach.
Today’s pathfinder topic is time travel. Well, more like wishing time travel existed so we could go back to the start of graduate school armed with the wisdom of our present.
I do not like living in a
With this loophole in mind, I asked our pathfinders:
If you could go back in time and whisper something to your grad-student self, what would it be?
You can do this. Have confidence and stick with it.
- Work harder
- Make more friends
- Get out of your comfort zone and force yourself to learn some skills that you hate but are useful.
- Do at least one TA.
The disappointments of not meeting conference deadlines/getting papers rejected are not an indictment of your ability. Harness the criticisms of your work and use them to fuel improvements.
Read more papers
Focus on what you care about. Surround yourself with people with similar values. Identify what matters to you and go for it.
Stay positive and everything will eventually work out
Take classes with a wider range of topics, talk to and make friends with people in different fields. I now realize the importance of having a big vision for researchers, especially when one tries to find a new research topic.
I wish I had started in entrepreneurship earlier in my graduate school career. I worked throughout most of it with aspirations of starting my own thing “someday”. After running my own businesses for three years now, my biggest regret is not starting sooner
Kimberly Stevens graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in December of 2018. She is now a Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.
Taylor Killian graduated from Harvard with a Masters in Computational Science in 2017 and worked for at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for two years as part of his fellowship program. He is now in a Ph.D. program at the University of Toronto where he’ll work at the intersection of Machine Learning and Healthcare. @tw_killian Linkedin Github
Shahrouz Mohaghe earned a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State
Francesca Bernardi is a Dean’s Post-Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Mathematics at Florida State University. Her research focuses on wastewater filtering and porous media. She received a Ph.D. in Mathematics and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018. She is the co-founder of Girls Talk Math – a free day camp for female and gender non-conforming high school students interested in Mathematics and Media. She is part of the Leadership Board at 500 Women Scientists – a non-profit grassroots organization aimed at making science more open, inclusive, and accessible. @fra_berni
Chris Cloney graduated in April 2018 with a