Friday, October 15

Grad School Groove

From recent meetings with many of you, I know that progress is being made on the grad school front, which is great! It’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end when multiple funding offers are on the table. Grad school visits are starting (Freddy is at Indiana University at the time of this posting) and they are always exciting for us – we love hearing about your travels and hearing about your experiences at your prospective schools. You know my mantra – offers tend to happen as a result of a visit with program faculty. I am offering a link to a webinar with Don Asher – someone you know well. Don participated in a 45 minute grad school seminar at the University of Tennessee and we can access that presentation through a podcast. You may find revisiting some of Don’s ideas and recommendations to be helpful in your current application process and thinking about how to craft the most competitive grad application that you can. Here’s that link:

The other tidbit I want to put out there is something Andy talked about in his monthly – basically how cool it’s been to get to know faculty in the biology department, certainly his mentor, and how he is beginning to feel more and more comfortable with the idea of himself becoming part of that community of researchers. It can sometimes feel like faculty are on an entirely different level, but they are just people who were in the same place as each of you at one point in their career. The fact that most faculty are generous with their time and make themselves accessible by mentoring students is terrific. It’s part of the cycle, for sure. Seeing you guys have realizations like this makes this line of work very satisfying.

Here’s what Andy had to say:

“….an interesting rite of passage type experience has occurred for me in the past year or two. Early in college, the professors and pretty much anyone with a doctoral level degree seemed on a pedestal to me. They were unapproachable with anything unrelated to biology and were something I had no chance or even desire of becoming. That feeling has obviously passed, and I am now taking the first steps to becoming part of that group. Actually getting to know a few professors on a personal level has been an eye-opening experience. On several occasions I have related past experiences in my life to nearly identical occurrences in one of my professors’. I see myself acting in similar ways, asking similar questions, and having conversations both scientific and social. Three years ago this would have all seemed so foreign to me, and even now it seems a bit crazy at times. I feel like part of the group already though, so hopefully all that’s left is to actually get my degree!”

--Andy Harris, 2010 McNair Scholar

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