Letter to My Younger Self: Advice for Graduate School

Have you heard of the NIH BEST schools? These are graduate programs that won a grant to fund initiatives to support career development. Vanderbilt was among the first to win and has served as the coordinating institution for all BEST institutions. They also have an incredible blog for grad students and postdocs. One of my favorite recent posts provides incredible advice for students starting a graduate program! Read this now and read it often to remind yourself of these important points!

Work-life balance

Your time in grad school is definitely one of growth. As one of my awesome students just put it bluntly today, graduate school is definitely difficult but it shouldn’t be a pity party. One of the best ways to keep it from veering in that direction is by balancing hard work and dedication in the lab with a healthy life. Check out this recent series by Nature to get perspective and remind yourself of the importance of both sides of the balancing act.

Tips for your Summer Research Program

You’ve been inundated with opportunities for summer research experience, and you’ve probably gotten guidance on how to choose the right experience for you. But how should you prepare during this semester for something that seems so far away? Check out this webinar from ABRCMS and ASM for tips on how to best prepare so you can start off right! You might see a familiar face…

(If you watch and you’re wondering, yes, I did record this on my bed with my cats meowing in the background)

Travel to a course in grad school

One of the absolutely best (and most fun) things that I did in graduate school was to take a course at Cold Spring Harbor. I encourage every student to consider doing this to learn more about your field or to learn a unique skill. I asked one of our students to give you her tips after she also went to a course and she did a better job than I could of outlining these opportunities. You should follow her path!
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Resilience through a PhD

It has been some time since I’ve posted, but I am starting back with a strong post with tips on building resilience as you pursue research. This is something I constantly struggled with through my graduate degree, so I asked someone I consider to be an expert at this, my twin sister! She obtained her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt and is now a postdoc at Yale. Check out these tips from Becky Adams.
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I Can’t Wait to Fail: The path to a science career has more than two routes

The importance of career development through your graduate studies cannot be overstated. No matter your career goals, graduate school is about differentiating yourself and carving your own path. Today I’d like to highlight an article written by one of our very own, Lorena Infante, on her path to Science Writing. I think you’ll find her journey truly inspiring!