Grad School Tips/FAQ
- Use berkeley.edu calendar for friendly calendar stalking. This makes it easy to schedule time with your peers
- If you’re doing this, also put your classes on your calendar
- Explicitly schedule research time on your calendar, particularly for later in the semester when classes pick up speed
- Create a “backup only/not useful now” sub-inbox in bMail to sort the mails
- Select the activities/events/lectures to go because time is limited.
- Non-English native speakers should enroll in LAN PRO 380, install Grammarly for email/Facebook language correction, and double-check everything before you send/submit.
- Ask peers/professors if they prefer in-person/email/slack/etc. for communication, since respecting this will generally get you faster responses
- Don’t expect a standard/comprehensive on-boarding experience
- Proactively reach out to professors, particularly potential advisors. Ask to schedule a regular time with them if appropriate.
- Some things to generally ask about: Fellowships/funding, conferences, class recommendations, prioritizing classes vs. research
- Paper reading strategies; many classes and papers have suggestions on this, the following were from my 1st semester classes
- Jot down notes as you read the paper (highlight, bullet points, etc.)
- Write a 1-2 sentence summary of the paper IN YOUR OWN WORDS after reading it
- Come up with at least one interesting question/thought that you’d like to theoretically discuss with someone else that read the paper
- Staying in campus during the winter break and Christmas can lead to serious loneliness. Suggest first-year students to book the airline ticket home for winter break ASAP. Note: most professors are also traveling during the winter break and Christmas. There is limited benefit to stay in campus, even if you want to do research.
- What should I do for reading/storing papers?
- Option 1: Print them out, highlight/annotate them, and keep them in roughly organized folders (e.g. by class)
- Option 2: Use some software like Mendeley to store, highlight, annotate, and organize them. This can be done on tablet or laptop.
- Option 3: Some hybrid of the above (e.g. store them digitally but read them physically)
- - Philip Guo
- List of recs: https://github.com/smilli/research-advice
How to screw up in grad school - Notes
Real examples from Berkeley grad students, roughly based off
: (email any for username and password)
- Going it alone, do everything yourself, and staying quiet
- Fear of revealing ignorance/imperfection
- Being afraid of asking for help from other professors because it’s not worth their time
- Not communicating with advisor
- Advisor asks student to learn stuff, but student doesn’t know where it’s going, just keeps learning
- After 2 months, student realized the problem they were tackling but wasn’t excited about it
- Fear of pushing back on advisor/giving input on projects
- Not utilizing staff advisor
- Ignoring degree requirements
- Don’t wait too long to satisfy GSI requirement (get done by 3rd/4th year)
- Can ask stuff like: How to apply for fellowship? How can I meet people? How can I broach a conversation with my advisor? And more!
- Working too much/too hard
- Assuming it’s expected to work very hard and that’s what everyone else does
- Assuming more time in the office means getting more done
- Burning out
- Socializing only with your clique
- Only talking to your labmates
- Stressed because you’re overworked and just went through prelims, talking with peers that are overworked and just wen through prelims, and all you talk about is challenges
- Not having any hobbies that weren’t related to school/not having any things that force you to take breaks
- Comparing yourself to others