Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Way of a Graduate Student

Graduate school is not always easy in comparison to being an undergraduate student. The course could vary depending on your background, department, P.I. and area of research. There are a lot of components to juggle in order to survive graduate school. Rules of engagement are never comparable for every student’s experience due to different personalities and interactions. Sometimes it could be difficult due to miscommunication or even lack of communication.
Here are some tips to help with the graduate student way of life.

• Get to know the secretaries of your department and treat them with courtesy and respect.
• Start thinking about your relationships with faculties; keep a good productive relationship if you would like to continue working with them.
• Communication is a key. Set meetings as a routine to communicate expectations so progress, feedback and deadlines are in understanding. Do not only rely on emails as a means of communication.
• Never read between the lines. If you are unsure, take the initiative to ask and clarify any uncertainties.
• Summaries of meetings are a good way of keeping track of where you are at—even though it sounds redundant. Remember, your adviser is just as busy and you need to keep them on track where you are.
• If there are personal problems, never leave without a trace. It could leave to misunderstandings. So, always keep in contact and be responsible.
• Seek help or advice from other faculty members or fellow students in the same department. If there are dissertation issues with your adviser, seek other committee members for help.
• Find some stress reliever exercises to do when your morale is low or not everything is smooth sailing.
• When problems need to be addressed and cannot be resolved by yourself you can find help at the Office of Dean of Graduate Studies or Ombuds at UH Manoa.

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