Jump to content

rising_star

Members
  • Content Count

    7,023
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    79

Reputation Activity

  1. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Liquirizia in Bibliography tools?   
    biotechie, I know Mendeley is free. I tried it out once before but didn't like how it handled books. Actually, it handled them like EndNote, which meant it was a pain. One of the things I love about Zotero is how easy it is to add a book, journal article, web page, newspaper article, etc. to my library without any fuss or extra steps. As someone that references a lot of physical and e-books, it's important to me to have an easy way to do that. And, at least several years ago when I tried Mendeley, it took longer than it did while using Zotero, which is why I switched to Zotero.
     
    FWIW, I think everyone should investigate if their university has any free options and, if so, what those are. At my MA institution, all graduate students could download a personal copy of EndNote free of charge. At my PhD university, students can download RefWorks free of charge. In cases like that, it's highly likely that your professors (at least those on campus) will be using whichever is free, so that might be the one you should use too.
  2. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Liquirizia in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    This is definitely field-specific and also depends on where you're seeking employment. A number of TT jobs I applied for this year asked for a teaching portfolio, evidence of teaching excellence or effectiveness, or copies of teaching evaluations along with my application, before or after a phone interview, and prior to a campus interview. While it may not help a great deal, it can definitely hurt an applicant, especially if the evals you get aren't very good and there are other applicants with better evals you're being compared to.
     
    As for actual advice, I'll start with the following:
    - Figure out what resources are available to you as a TA or instructor in your department, in your college, and through the university's teaching center. And then take advantage of them. My PhD university's teaching center flat-out told me that I was one of three grad students from my department (90 grad students) they had ever met with or assisted. Now part of this was due to my department's culture where consulting the teaching center was seen as an admission of failure but that's BS and you should ignore that if people are saying it.
    - When in doubt, consult the internet. By which I mean, if you have to create a syllabus, google around to see syllabi others have created for that course or a similar course. If you're looking for appropriate wording for a policy, again you can consult the internet (though you may want to consult your peers and department first because some stuff is university-specific and/or university mandated). Looking for an assignment idea? Google it. Sample rubric? Google for one. There's really no reason to reinvent the wheel.
    - Accept that it will take you a while to gain your footing in the classroom. Be willing to change midway through the term and to do different things for different sections because not all students are the same.
    - Take advantage of any courses/workshops/tutorials that will help you become a better teacher. Again, the teaching center will probably offer workshops or brownbags. These are awesome as a grad student because most of the attendees will be TT faculty so you can see what they're struggling with or what they're doing that works and use it in your teaching. Doing that early on will make you more effective in the long run, leading to better evals.
    - Devise and administer a midterm evaluation of your students that's for you. Take their feedback seriously and incorporate it into the course. It almost always leads to improved semester evals, even if you don't change very much.
    - Have someone else (an experienced teacher) observe your teaching. It will be painful and awkward and difficult. But, it will help you improve. It will also give you more material for your future teaching portfolio.
    - Take the time to identify excellent teachers on campus (whether or not they're in your field) and observe them. You may need to ask them first, of course. If you're having trouble finding someone, ask the teaching center. Watching other people who are awesome, especially those who do it in totally different ways (like observing a lecture for 400 students vs a seminar for 30 students), will help you understand the variety of what works and identify some techniques that will work for you.
    - Oh, and take the time to learn your students' names whenever possible. They appreciate it.
     
    Okay, that was a lot of advice and probably more than you can do all in one semester. But, I hope it helps someone!
  3. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Sigaba in Having a baby in grad school?   
    Somewhere on here there are threads about being pregnant in graduate school. Use the search feature to find them.
  4. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from cartof in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    I've never heard of any school that lists professors/instructors alongside the courses taken.
  5. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Suraj_S in Not going to a conference that I am not presenting   
    I would attend, especially if you're about to be applying for a fellowship. You want people to know you finished your PhD, are doing well in your postdoc, and where your research is headed next so that you can potentially find support for it. You don't have to go to every session or go all day. Be strategic about where and when you attend the conference.
  6. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from TwirlingBlades in My #1 Committee pick... not so much anymore?   
    I wouldn't word it that way. Instead, say something about how you'd like to meet with them about the possibility of being on your committee.
     
    That said, if this person is on sabbatical and people have warned you away, perhaps you should talk to your advisor first to get their opinion.
  7. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from fossati in Working out/going to the gym while in academia   
    I actually worked out more as a PhD student than I did as either an undergrad or a faculty member...
  8. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from friesandwater in Don't know how to deal   
    Ummm... if you enjoy doing your own research and want to make a career of it, you may very well need to do the PhD. Check out the CVs of researchers in your field and/or do informational interviews with them to be sure.
    Also, I just want to share something. When I started my PhD, I had no interest in or plans to teach after graduation. Now, I teach and I love it. Could I see myself doing it forever? No, but I think that's true of just about anything given how diverse my interests are. Is it fun for right now? Most of the time, yes. My point is that your ideas about what you want to be doing can change, especially as life and the job market change around you. Keep your options as open as possible until you figure out how to position yourself for your dream job.
  9. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Phoenix88 in Needy Undergraduate RAs   
    I think that this might be an important difference between fields. In my area, undergraduate RAs are there to help you get research done. In my current position, supervising undergrad RAs doesn't count as service work, even though it is expected that we all do this. Consequently, I am selective about whom I hire because I know it's going to require extra work on my part with potentially no real payoff if they don't see the project through to completion (so data collection and analysis, maybe even helping with write-up for publication). If your undergrad RAs are supposed to help you actually get research done, rather than being there for you to teach and mentor, then you have to find a way to either make them more independent or to cut them loose politely. 
  10. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Phoenix88 in Needy Undergraduate RAs   
    The answer is definitely different, at least for me, based on the level of the student. I mean, I don't expect the sophomores I teach to fully understand how to use the library's resources so, I take them to the library and we have a session with a librarian. Have you thought about arranging a meeting between this pesky RA and one of the librarians to get them up to speed?
    In general though, I find that students who need a lot of handholding either don't last as RAs or they end up only ever doing basic tasks.
  11. Like
    rising_star got a reaction from irinmn in Would an MA hold me back long term   
    Short answer, no. Plenty of MA programs in geography are funded and few geography PhD programs accept applicants without a MA/MS (unless they have them earn it along the way). It won't matter so much where you got your MA but your research experience and thesis will matter if you decide to go on to a PhD.
  12. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Phoenix88 in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    This is definitely field-specific and also depends on where you're seeking employment. A number of TT jobs I applied for this year asked for a teaching portfolio, evidence of teaching excellence or effectiveness, or copies of teaching evaluations along with my application, before or after a phone interview, and prior to a campus interview. While it may not help a great deal, it can definitely hurt an applicant, especially if the evals you get aren't very good and there are other applicants with better evals you're being compared to.
     
    As for actual advice, I'll start with the following:
    - Figure out what resources are available to you as a TA or instructor in your department, in your college, and through the university's teaching center. And then take advantage of them. My PhD university's teaching center flat-out told me that I was one of three grad students from my department (90 grad students) they had ever met with or assisted. Now part of this was due to my department's culture where consulting the teaching center was seen as an admission of failure but that's BS and you should ignore that if people are saying it.
    - When in doubt, consult the internet. By which I mean, if you have to create a syllabus, google around to see syllabi others have created for that course or a similar course. If you're looking for appropriate wording for a policy, again you can consult the internet (though you may want to consult your peers and department first because some stuff is university-specific and/or university mandated). Looking for an assignment idea? Google it. Sample rubric? Google for one. There's really no reason to reinvent the wheel.
    - Accept that it will take you a while to gain your footing in the classroom. Be willing to change midway through the term and to do different things for different sections because not all students are the same.
    - Take advantage of any courses/workshops/tutorials that will help you become a better teacher. Again, the teaching center will probably offer workshops or brownbags. These are awesome as a grad student because most of the attendees will be TT faculty so you can see what they're struggling with or what they're doing that works and use it in your teaching. Doing that early on will make you more effective in the long run, leading to better evals.
    - Devise and administer a midterm evaluation of your students that's for you. Take their feedback seriously and incorporate it into the course. It almost always leads to improved semester evals, even if you don't change very much.
    - Have someone else (an experienced teacher) observe your teaching. It will be painful and awkward and difficult. But, it will help you improve. It will also give you more material for your future teaching portfolio.
    - Take the time to identify excellent teachers on campus (whether or not they're in your field) and observe them. You may need to ask them first, of course. If you're having trouble finding someone, ask the teaching center. Watching other people who are awesome, especially those who do it in totally different ways (like observing a lecture for 400 students vs a seminar for 30 students), will help you understand the variety of what works and identify some techniques that will work for you.
    - Oh, and take the time to learn your students' names whenever possible. They appreciate it.
     
    Okay, that was a lot of advice and probably more than you can do all in one semester. But, I hope it helps someone!
  13. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Phoenix88 in How many publications do you aim to have by graduation?   
    You don't actually need to publish at all as a master's student, @Adelaide9216, particularly if you're pursuing a professional degree.
  14. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from thebougiebehaviorist in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    This is definitely field-specific and also depends on where you're seeking employment. A number of TT jobs I applied for this year asked for a teaching portfolio, evidence of teaching excellence or effectiveness, or copies of teaching evaluations along with my application, before or after a phone interview, and prior to a campus interview. While it may not help a great deal, it can definitely hurt an applicant, especially if the evals you get aren't very good and there are other applicants with better evals you're being compared to.
     
    As for actual advice, I'll start with the following:
    - Figure out what resources are available to you as a TA or instructor in your department, in your college, and through the university's teaching center. And then take advantage of them. My PhD university's teaching center flat-out told me that I was one of three grad students from my department (90 grad students) they had ever met with or assisted. Now part of this was due to my department's culture where consulting the teaching center was seen as an admission of failure but that's BS and you should ignore that if people are saying it.
    - When in doubt, consult the internet. By which I mean, if you have to create a syllabus, google around to see syllabi others have created for that course or a similar course. If you're looking for appropriate wording for a policy, again you can consult the internet (though you may want to consult your peers and department first because some stuff is university-specific and/or university mandated). Looking for an assignment idea? Google it. Sample rubric? Google for one. There's really no reason to reinvent the wheel.
    - Accept that it will take you a while to gain your footing in the classroom. Be willing to change midway through the term and to do different things for different sections because not all students are the same.
    - Take advantage of any courses/workshops/tutorials that will help you become a better teacher. Again, the teaching center will probably offer workshops or brownbags. These are awesome as a grad student because most of the attendees will be TT faculty so you can see what they're struggling with or what they're doing that works and use it in your teaching. Doing that early on will make you more effective in the long run, leading to better evals.
    - Devise and administer a midterm evaluation of your students that's for you. Take their feedback seriously and incorporate it into the course. It almost always leads to improved semester evals, even if you don't change very much.
    - Have someone else (an experienced teacher) observe your teaching. It will be painful and awkward and difficult. But, it will help you improve. It will also give you more material for your future teaching portfolio.
    - Take the time to identify excellent teachers on campus (whether or not they're in your field) and observe them. You may need to ask them first, of course. If you're having trouble finding someone, ask the teaching center. Watching other people who are awesome, especially those who do it in totally different ways (like observing a lecture for 400 students vs a seminar for 30 students), will help you understand the variety of what works and identify some techniques that will work for you.
    - Oh, and take the time to learn your students' names whenever possible. They appreciate it.
     
    Okay, that was a lot of advice and probably more than you can do all in one semester. But, I hope it helps someone!
  15. Like
    rising_star got a reaction from Antiniam in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    This is definitely field-specific and also depends on where you're seeking employment. A number of TT jobs I applied for this year asked for a teaching portfolio, evidence of teaching excellence or effectiveness, or copies of teaching evaluations along with my application, before or after a phone interview, and prior to a campus interview. While it may not help a great deal, it can definitely hurt an applicant, especially if the evals you get aren't very good and there are other applicants with better evals you're being compared to.
     
    As for actual advice, I'll start with the following:
    - Figure out what resources are available to you as a TA or instructor in your department, in your college, and through the university's teaching center. And then take advantage of them. My PhD university's teaching center flat-out told me that I was one of three grad students from my department (90 grad students) they had ever met with or assisted. Now part of this was due to my department's culture where consulting the teaching center was seen as an admission of failure but that's BS and you should ignore that if people are saying it.
    - When in doubt, consult the internet. By which I mean, if you have to create a syllabus, google around to see syllabi others have created for that course or a similar course. If you're looking for appropriate wording for a policy, again you can consult the internet (though you may want to consult your peers and department first because some stuff is university-specific and/or university mandated). Looking for an assignment idea? Google it. Sample rubric? Google for one. There's really no reason to reinvent the wheel.
    - Accept that it will take you a while to gain your footing in the classroom. Be willing to change midway through the term and to do different things for different sections because not all students are the same.
    - Take advantage of any courses/workshops/tutorials that will help you become a better teacher. Again, the teaching center will probably offer workshops or brownbags. These are awesome as a grad student because most of the attendees will be TT faculty so you can see what they're struggling with or what they're doing that works and use it in your teaching. Doing that early on will make you more effective in the long run, leading to better evals.
    - Devise and administer a midterm evaluation of your students that's for you. Take their feedback seriously and incorporate it into the course. It almost always leads to improved semester evals, even if you don't change very much.
    - Have someone else (an experienced teacher) observe your teaching. It will be painful and awkward and difficult. But, it will help you improve. It will also give you more material for your future teaching portfolio.
    - Take the time to identify excellent teachers on campus (whether or not they're in your field) and observe them. You may need to ask them first, of course. If you're having trouble finding someone, ask the teaching center. Watching other people who are awesome, especially those who do it in totally different ways (like observing a lecture for 400 students vs a seminar for 30 students), will help you understand the variety of what works and identify some techniques that will work for you.
    - Oh, and take the time to learn your students' names whenever possible. They appreciate it.
     
    Okay, that was a lot of advice and probably more than you can do all in one semester. But, I hope it helps someone!
  16. Like
    rising_star got a reaction from Faith786 in Publishing in predatory journals?   
    Well, the people on the search committee and tenure & promotion committees will question your publications if they are in predatory journals. That might result in you not being considered for the position, not being promoted, etc. Basically, it casts doubts on your ability to be a scholar because they'll wonder why your work wasn't in truly peer-reviewed journals, what you have to hide, whether you even did your own research, etc. I've been on search committees and I definitely do pay attention to where applicants have published.
  17. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from kaaditya in If I knew then what I know now (Officially Grads version)   
    A lot of good stuff has already been said, so here's my take.

    The first year will, almost always, suck. So, find a way to make it suck less. Figure out which work *has* to be done and which work doesn't, then work accordingly. Make friends with your cohort, or at least some of them, so you have someone to talk to during breaks in class. Remember that you don't have to be best buddies with any of them. In fact, it's probably better if you aren't. Either find a new hobby or stick with an existing one. Write it into your schedule so that it happens. I recommend something that incorporates exercise but YMMV. Use the hobby and any other activities you have to start meeting other people, especially if you move to a new city for grad school.

    Regarding money: Figure out ASAP whether or not you get paychecks in the summer. If you won't, start planning *now* for how to pay your summer living expenses. If you don't think you'll have enough, plan to take out a small subsidized loan in the spring semester (summer loans require summer enrollment, which could be extra money if your tuition waiver is like mine and doesn't cover summers), put it in a savings account, and don't touch it until late May. If you're having trouble juggling the start-up costs of grad school, take out a subsidized student loan for a few thousand dollars. Your payment after graduation will be under $50/month and you won't be stressed and/or paying criminally high interest rates to a credit card company.

    Find a good and capable advisor. Note: this may not be the person you thought you'd work with. Interview potential advisors before deciding, if possible. Before forming a committee, ask other grad students about whether or not those faculty get along. Then, run every single name by your advisor before approaching that person. You do NOT want a committee that has their own issues that they bring into the room when discussing your stuff.

    And, given the time and financial constraints, learn to cook either now or once school starts. I could barely cook when I started grad school but I've gotten better. Seek out food blogs and cookbooks that offer simple recipes. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is a great resource (though admittedly, years later I'm still unwilling to make some of the stuff in there due to complexity). If you don't already have one, get a slow cooker so that you can toss food into it in the morning and come home to a warm dinner. On days when you're biking/walking home in the dark, cold rain, it will seriously make you not want to give up.

    Last but not least, don't date in the department. Just don't do it. It always seems like a good idea at first but, it can get ugly. So just stay away and, if you're having trouble, remember that you'll have to see that person daily for 4+ years after you break up, see them dating other people, hear about their drunken shenanigans and hookups, etc.
  18. Downvote
    rising_star got a reaction from phd_2020 in Negotiating moving expenses?   
    GradSecretary definitely is NOT a troll. That said, I also laughed when I read the original question. I know people that have struggled to move with what they're offered for a postdoc or a job in terms of moving expenses. Many federal government jobs specifically say that no relocation expenses are available. So, given that, I find the idea of asking for what could be 10-25% of one's salary to move to be absolutely ludicrous. Feel free to downvote me for saying the same thing GradSecretary said.
  19. Like
    rising_star got a reaction from ignoredfab in What to do next summer   
    I'm not in history. I also started my PhD program with a MA, which meant I was eligible to teach courses. My first two summers I taught summer courses AND did research abroad. I applied for and received funding to cover my research expenses and used to the summer teaching money to pay rent and expenses stateside. It worked out well in that it helped me refine my research question, figure out what data and resources were available, make connections, and gain teaching experience. The summer courses at my institution are 5 weeks max in length, which meant that I still had plenty of time to spend 6 weeks doing research and a couple weeks at home with my family.
     
    It's good that you're asking now. Deadlines pop up seemingly randomly for the kind of small thing that can support summer research. One summer, I found funding from a source even the grant/fellowship folks at my university hadn't really heard of. It was a total longshot (they hadn't really been funding research from grad students OR research in my area) but I applied and got it, much to the surprise of my advisor, the university grants person, and I. My point in telling this is that you should apply even if you don't think you'll get it because you really never know. It's kinda a crapshoot when you apply for funding so just do it if you can. And don't overlook small grants ($500-$1000), even if you need to go overseas. I got 3 small grants my first summer, which was enough to fund a 5 week research trip abroad. There was less competition for those grants because a lot of people overlook the small grants and go for the larger ones. Don't be like that. Apply for it all!
  20. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from caffeinated applicant in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    A few more things now that I've thought about this more.
     
    Grading:
    - It will take time to find your groove. But, you also need to be efficient with your time. See how long the first 2-3 papers/exams/assignments take you then use that to set an approximate average per paper. Use this average time to set a timer. When the timer goes off, you should be done reading, grading, and commenting upon the assignment. The timer will keep you from getting bogged down in a bad paper, writing too many comments, or just slowing down.
    - Set regular intervals where you take a break from grading. Grading is hard work and you can't just plow through 30 papers at once most of the time.
    - Re: collecting papers electronically. This really depends on you. I've done both paper and electronic grading and, for whatever reason, I am slower when I grade on the computer screen. I also find it easier to get distracted while grading, which may contribute to the slowness. The upside of electronic grading is that you can cut and paste comments, use online grading tools (Turnitin has a whole set of grading remarks you can just drag and drop into a paper, for example), and record the grade immediately. And still I prefer paper.
    - Keep meticulous records of grades. I post student grades online but also keep them in an Excel spreadsheet on my computer. There are rare cases where the LMS loses grades so it helps to keep a backup.
    - If you find someone that has plagiarized, absolutely follow whatever your university's procedures are and document, document, document. Yes, it's a pain and more paperwork than just failing them for the assignment or course. But what I've learned is that most of the students I've had this problem with are repeat offenders, rather than those doing it for the first time. They don't realize what they are doing is wrong so they do it in multiple courses. Take the time to teach them why it's wrong, to report them appropriately, etc.
     
    Essays/Papers:
    - If you are teaching for the first time, be prepared to work with students at ALL stages of the writing process. You'll probably want them to turn in thesis statements, outlines, annotated bibliographies, or other preliminary steps if you're requiring a research paper.
    - Refer students to the writing center on campus for the line edits, especially if you're seeing earlier stages of the paper. Pass off that work to other people whenever you can. For first year students, you may want to give them a small bit of extra credit (1/3 of a letter grade was common at my PhD institution) to incentivize them to go. Plus, if they build that habit early on, you're helping them.
    - Peer review workshops can be incredibly helpful for students, even when you're not teaching freshman comp. Sometimes seeing the problems with someone else's paper helps them realize what problems their paper has. Use this to your advantage!
     
    Course Organization:
    - Developing a syllabus is hard. Make sure you have clear learning objectives so you and the students know what they should be learning the course, why, and how.
    - When deciding on content, make a list of everything you want to cover. That list will be too long. Delete 1/3 of it, approximately. (This does not apply if you have been handed a syllabus for the course.) It sounds insane but, the first time I did this, the course ran much, much smoother.
    - Be willing to adapt the readings/topics to fit your students, especially later in the semester. They appreciate it.
  21. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from caffeinated applicant in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    This is definitely field-specific and also depends on where you're seeking employment. A number of TT jobs I applied for this year asked for a teaching portfolio, evidence of teaching excellence or effectiveness, or copies of teaching evaluations along with my application, before or after a phone interview, and prior to a campus interview. While it may not help a great deal, it can definitely hurt an applicant, especially if the evals you get aren't very good and there are other applicants with better evals you're being compared to.
     
    As for actual advice, I'll start with the following:
    - Figure out what resources are available to you as a TA or instructor in your department, in your college, and through the university's teaching center. And then take advantage of them. My PhD university's teaching center flat-out told me that I was one of three grad students from my department (90 grad students) they had ever met with or assisted. Now part of this was due to my department's culture where consulting the teaching center was seen as an admission of failure but that's BS and you should ignore that if people are saying it.
    - When in doubt, consult the internet. By which I mean, if you have to create a syllabus, google around to see syllabi others have created for that course or a similar course. If you're looking for appropriate wording for a policy, again you can consult the internet (though you may want to consult your peers and department first because some stuff is university-specific and/or university mandated). Looking for an assignment idea? Google it. Sample rubric? Google for one. There's really no reason to reinvent the wheel.
    - Accept that it will take you a while to gain your footing in the classroom. Be willing to change midway through the term and to do different things for different sections because not all students are the same.
    - Take advantage of any courses/workshops/tutorials that will help you become a better teacher. Again, the teaching center will probably offer workshops or brownbags. These are awesome as a grad student because most of the attendees will be TT faculty so you can see what they're struggling with or what they're doing that works and use it in your teaching. Doing that early on will make you more effective in the long run, leading to better evals.
    - Devise and administer a midterm evaluation of your students that's for you. Take their feedback seriously and incorporate it into the course. It almost always leads to improved semester evals, even if you don't change very much.
    - Have someone else (an experienced teacher) observe your teaching. It will be painful and awkward and difficult. But, it will help you improve. It will also give you more material for your future teaching portfolio.
    - Take the time to identify excellent teachers on campus (whether or not they're in your field) and observe them. You may need to ask them first, of course. If you're having trouble finding someone, ask the teaching center. Watching other people who are awesome, especially those who do it in totally different ways (like observing a lecture for 400 students vs a seminar for 30 students), will help you understand the variety of what works and identify some techniques that will work for you.
    - Oh, and take the time to learn your students' names whenever possible. They appreciate it.
     
    Okay, that was a lot of advice and probably more than you can do all in one semester. But, I hope it helps someone!
  22. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Sigaba in Buying a house as a PhD student   
    Several years ago there was a robust conversation about this. Maybe try using the search feature to find it? I would also talk to a variety of lenders/mortgage brokers, including those from any banks or credit unions with which your new university has a relationship.
  23. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from TMP in How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?   
    @MotherofAllCorgis, as has already been said, funding might be the most difficult part of this. Does your college/university have a National Fellowships advisor? If so, you want to start working with that person ASAP. Look into all the (admittedly ridiculously competitive) funding options, eg Marshall Foundation, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright, etc., and start doing what you can now to make yourself a competitive candidate. 
  24. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from canned-milk in Getting off to a good start   
    This has been my experience as well. My department has an almost weekly happy hour frequented by grad students and faculty. Some people talk about random things (sports, news, etc.), others talk about teaching, others about research. I've found that in some of these small conversations I've gotten great ideas or insights into my research that I hadn't gotten otherwise. Sometimes just being asked to give the 30 second version of your research can force you into thinking about it in a different way or allow someone else to say something you hadn't thought of. Without those conversations, my work would definitely suffer.
     
    And yea, I'm one of those people who can't work all the time. Back when I did my comprehensive exams (which were multiple questions over like 10 days), I remember people in my department (mostly those not yet at the exams stage) being surprised that I was still attending the class I was TAing (I was mostly grading but went to every single lecture), working out, and even watching an episode or two of a TV show online. But you know what? You can't work for 16 hours a day for the 10 days without a break. And really, since I was limited to like 25 pages double-spaced per answer, I would've ended up writing way more than I needed if I'd worked that long. Instead, I rode my bike to the gym, worked out with friends (including some who had PhDs and thus totally understood what comps were and why you might need a break), cooked myself real food, etc. It's about knowing what you need to work efficiently and be productive and taking the time to do whatever that is.
     
    Back to the original question though:
    - Be open and willing to learn.
    - If you're in the humanities or social sciences, take the time to just browse the library shelves in your general field and in your intended research area to get an idea of what's been published and what research resources are available to you. (Even better, meet with a librarian early on to make sure you know what your school has and the support s/he can give you.)
    - Skim through recent journal issues in your field to get a sense of what topics are current and which are becoming dated. Pay attention to book reviews if there are any and use those to help you find relevant books for your discipline and research area.
    - Learn to use reference management software (EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley, etc.) and start keeping track of your references that way.
    - Figure out an easy to use system for staying abreast of current/new research in both books and journals that may be of interest.
    - Read your graduate handbook (and TA handbook if needed) so you know what is expected of you. Ask questions if expectations are unclear.
    - Start figuring out what, if any, courses outside the department you might want to take, how often they're offered, how difficult they are, etc.
    - If you're going to need research methods training, figure out how to get that ASAP. In the social sciences, this often means taking courses in qualitative methods, statistics, and/or GIS and seats in those classes can fill because they're attracting students from an array of disciplines. Getting your methods coursework done means you can start collecting data sooner.
    - Get to know whomever helps oversee grant apps (NIH, NSF, SSRC, Fulbright, IAF, etc.) at your institution and ask them what you can do beginning now to prepare to apply in the future, when you should be applying, what you'll need to be competitive, etc. And, while you're there, get them to help you set up some alerts for grant announcements.
     
    There's probably more you could do, especially related to conferences and networking, but I don't want to overload anyone with suggestions.
  25. Upvote
    rising_star got a reaction from Sabr_Shukr in Getting off to a good start   
    This has been my experience as well. My department has an almost weekly happy hour frequented by grad students and faculty. Some people talk about random things (sports, news, etc.), others talk about teaching, others about research. I've found that in some of these small conversations I've gotten great ideas or insights into my research that I hadn't gotten otherwise. Sometimes just being asked to give the 30 second version of your research can force you into thinking about it in a different way or allow someone else to say something you hadn't thought of. Without those conversations, my work would definitely suffer.
     
    And yea, I'm one of those people who can't work all the time. Back when I did my comprehensive exams (which were multiple questions over like 10 days), I remember people in my department (mostly those not yet at the exams stage) being surprised that I was still attending the class I was TAing (I was mostly grading but went to every single lecture), working out, and even watching an episode or two of a TV show online. But you know what? You can't work for 16 hours a day for the 10 days without a break. And really, since I was limited to like 25 pages double-spaced per answer, I would've ended up writing way more than I needed if I'd worked that long. Instead, I rode my bike to the gym, worked out with friends (including some who had PhDs and thus totally understood what comps were and why you might need a break), cooked myself real food, etc. It's about knowing what you need to work efficiently and be productive and taking the time to do whatever that is.
     
    Back to the original question though:
    - Be open and willing to learn.
    - If you're in the humanities or social sciences, take the time to just browse the library shelves in your general field and in your intended research area to get an idea of what's been published and what research resources are available to you. (Even better, meet with a librarian early on to make sure you know what your school has and the support s/he can give you.)
    - Skim through recent journal issues in your field to get a sense of what topics are current and which are becoming dated. Pay attention to book reviews if there are any and use those to help you find relevant books for your discipline and research area.
    - Learn to use reference management software (EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley, etc.) and start keeping track of your references that way.
    - Figure out an easy to use system for staying abreast of current/new research in both books and journals that may be of interest.
    - Read your graduate handbook (and TA handbook if needed) so you know what is expected of you. Ask questions if expectations are unclear.
    - Start figuring out what, if any, courses outside the department you might want to take, how often they're offered, how difficult they are, etc.
    - If you're going to need research methods training, figure out how to get that ASAP. In the social sciences, this often means taking courses in qualitative methods, statistics, and/or GIS and seats in those classes can fill because they're attracting students from an array of disciplines. Getting your methods coursework done means you can start collecting data sooner.
    - Get to know whomever helps oversee grant apps (NIH, NSF, SSRC, Fulbright, IAF, etc.) at your institution and ask them what you can do beginning now to prepare to apply in the future, when you should be applying, what you'll need to be competitive, etc. And, while you're there, get them to help you set up some alerts for grant announcements.
     
    There's probably more you could do, especially related to conferences and networking, but I don't want to overload anyone with suggestions.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.