To future members of the lab: Your success is my success and it’s important to me that you enjoy this rather difficult process. Below you will find a collection of helpful, sometimes brutally honest, and sometimes reassuring words about graduate school applications and finding your way through the beginning of your research careers.
Preparing for and succeeding in graduate school
On contemplating a Ph.D. *read these first
Chris Golde’s “Questions to ask when thinking about pursuing a Ph.D.”
Niskode’ et al.’s “Questions and concerns about pursuing the doctoral degree”
On the application process
Josh Drew’s “Ph.D. Application Hints”
Jacqueline Gill’s "So you want to go to grad school? Nail the inquiry email”
On preparing (mentally and intellectually) for and pursuing a graduate degree
Marie desJardins’ “How to succeed in graduate school: A guide for students and advisors”
Gu and Bourne’s “Ten simple rules for graduate students”
Martin Schwartz’s “The importance of stupidity in scientific research”
Demharter et al.’s “Ten simple rules for surviving an interdisciplinary PhD”
Rachel Toor’s “10 tips to help you ‘win’ at graduate school”
On being new(ish) to research
Undergrad in the Lab’s “10 things to expect your first semester of research”
Becoming a good writer and enjoying it
There’s no getting away from writing a lot in your scientific career…in fact, as scientists we are also professional writers and one of our biggest responsibilities is to effectively communicate what we learn to the broader community. I’ve come to embrace three truths about writing that I hope will help you too. 1- You have to be a good reader to be a good writer. 2- Like any talent or skill, writing requires routine practice. 3- Writing is never easy, but you can learn to enjoy the challenge.
For further inspiration, here are my favorite writings about writing.
Jan Pechenik’s A Short Guide to Writing About Biology
Joshua Shimel’s Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded
Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life