Tag Archives: advice

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Starting Grad School: The beauty of a clean lab book

Occasionally, I have the realisation that I am not entirely sane. Not in a catastrophic hearing-voices type way, but when I talk to myself and then remember that this is not normal. This morning I arrived at the sports centre to discover that circuits wasn’t on, and I would just have to go run in the gym instead. Upon finding my mp3 player in the bottom of my bag, and realising that I had in fact remembered to put it on hold (therefore meaning there was enough battery to get me through a 40 minute hill slog) I smiled and mentally called myself a good girl . Continue reading

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Starting Grad School: Get Sociable

Moving to a new city to start my postgraduate studies was one of the most daunting things I have ever done. Going to uni in the first place as an undergrad was a piece of cake: I’m musical, I’m sporty, I’m religious and I like giving people food. I’m not amazing at making close friends but I am very good at making friendly acquaintances. And everybody else was in the exact same boat, desperate to meet their new best friends and super keen to be involved with everything.

After I graduated I worked in a lovely, supportive school, that expected all of the staff to be involved in much more than just teaching. Even if there hadn’t been the immediate camaraderie of bitching in the staff room about disruptive kids, I got to know people through the musical side of the school, and Duke of Edinburgh, and Christian Union.

Moving here was a whole other ball game. The postgrads separated out neatly into:  Continue reading

Starting Grad School: Find the silver lining

Welcome to Grad School, the place where motivation goes to die. 

Seriously though, I procrastinate. I was never much of a procrastinater before I started my postgraduate studies. Now, crippling indecision and a general malaise caused by my lack of success cause me to while away the morning reading papers on subjects that aren’t really related to mine and drinking endless cups of tea. It’s not uncommon for it to be 12 before I start lab work, even if I’ve been in by 9am. I tell myself that this is fine because I have to read and write some time, but really I’m just putting off the inevitable.

Continue reading

Starting Grad School: Trust nobody

I received two pieces of advice early in my career as a grad student. The first came from a friend who had graduated at the same time as me (in Biochemistry, rather than Biology, which meant that she had an additional year of undergrad to her name) and had immediately started her PhD. “Ask questions. ALL THE TIME.” She told me. No matter how much of an idiot you feel like asking a question, you will feel a million times worse if you don’t ask, and then you screw up.

The other piece of advice came from a post-doc. When I started this blog I made myself one promise: that I would not talk about this post-doc. (Put it this way: stealing my data and throwing away my entire cDNA collection was the small fry). But regardless of the abysmal state of our working relationship, this post-doc bequeathed two very important things to me. Continue reading

Starting Grad School: Stress management

Given that it’s that time of year when both my new undergrads and the new crop of postgrads appear like magic in the department, I thought I might scribble some thoughts about life at the start of Grad School. Call it egotistical, but given some of the rubbish I’ve been through in the last 3 years I feel like I might have a thing or two to share that newbie postgrads could find useful. Continue reading