Expectations vs reality: the first year

Before starting graduate school, you probably have an idea of what you will be studying or what the program will be like. In this post, learn about how the first year of Vanderbilt’s biomedical graduate program was different from and similar to students’ expectations.

Did you have an idea of which general department or program you would want to join before you arrived at Vanderbilt? Why or why not?

Yes I did. I knew pretty exactly what I wanted to do, Human Genetics. I knew the field I wanted, and had done an undergrad internship in the specific department and gotten to know it fairly well.
-Laura Colbran

Not entirely. Since I was broadly interested in cytoskeleton/motor proteins I thought I was going to end up in CDB, but I enjoyed the idea of physics too much to fully commit beforehand.
-Steven Walker

I preferentially leaned towards Cell and Developmental Biology based on my previous research experience.
-Erik Beadle

Somewhat, I had done physiology in undergraduate, and the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics department seemed really in line with what I had already been doing.
-Slavi Goleva

Did you end up joining this department or program? Why or why not?

Yes, I did. It was the one with the best support for the research i wanted to do, and matched fairly exactly with my more general interests. And more generally, I’d been very impressed by how supportive and nice everyone I’d met from that program was. I felt like even if my specific plans fell through, I could trust everyone there to help me fix it.
-Laura Colbran

I ended up joining CPB, which is more of a large encompassing program rather than a strict department. It definitely fits better with what I plan on doing (single molecule optical tweezer experiments).
-Steven Walker

I wound up joining the Cancer Biology program. My research interests slowly shifted over time and it transitioned me into cancer.
-Erik Beadle

I did! I ended up really liking the program, and the PI I was working for actually ended up getting a secondary appointment in the department because they knew I liked it
-Slavi Goleva

Did you have an idea of what lab you wanted to join before you arrived at Vanderbilt? Why or why not?

Yes; I had done an undergrad internship with that lab. I was willing to be convinced that another would be a better fit, but I was pretty sold already.
-Laura Colbran

I thought it would be a choice between 2 labs (both working with microtubules), but it ended up being neither of them.
-Steven Walker

During my initial research of faculty at Vandy, I did find a lab that seemed to really fit my research interests.
-Erik Beadle

No, I enjoyed the general atmosphere of Vanderbilt, and because I wasn’t tied to any particular field or topic, I was more excited to explore all the possibilities.
-Slavi Goleva

Did you end up joining that lab? Why or why not?

I did join that lab, although it was a close call between that one and another I rotated in. I liked both PIs and groups, and the scientific questions they ask are closely related. The biggest deciding factor ended up being the techniques used in the labs- I decided I’d rather be with other dry lab people rather than being the only one.
-Laura Colbran

While I probably would have been happy in one of those labs, I found a lab that was just a better fit (both socially and topic wise).
-Steven Walker

I did not join that lab. I met with the PI about possibly rotating, and the projects had shifted in a direction I was not interested in pursuing.
-Erik Beadle

I did not have a particular lab in mind
-Slavi Goleva

Now that you’ve been through it, do you think the umbrella-style of graduate program (broad foundational coursework, flexibility to rotate among all programs, socially you’re with a large fraction of all first year biomed grad students) was good for you?  Why or why not?

Yes it was the best thing for me because it helped solidify my area of scientific interest and broadened my scope of science so that now I can put my research into a bigger context biologically. I can understand more complex systems and techniques because of things I learned specifically in the IGP.
-Noah Bradley

Yes! It gave me a safe environment to explore many different fields and learn about a lot of topics.
-Tiffany Richardson

Yes! I loved the umbrella program. It exposed me to a variety of topics that I never would’ve sought out and a range of faculty that I never would’ve conversed with otherwise. The broad scope of coursework was also entirely beneficial to help me see how all of science fits into a bigger picture, which I think will help my own research, career ventures, and collaborations down the road.
-Katie Volk

The umbrella program was perfect for me! I’m a very indecisive person and needed that flexibility to find the lab I was happiest in.
-Abbie Neininger

How was your first year different from what you expected in the following areas: academically, scientifically (i.e. rotations), and socially?

Academically: I thought there would be a need to study all of the time, but I found that I could balance study and lab pretty easily. Scientifically: I thought labs would possibly be uptight, but the exact opposite was observed. Labs are extremely collaborative and cordial with one another. Socially: I made tons of friends both within and outside my program and year. Not something that has always been easy-even in my undergraduate program.
-Noah Bradley

It was not as academically challenging as I first expected. I was very prepared after my undergraduate degree to excel in graduate school. My laboratory skills were also up to par for rotations (especially since labs are willing to teach you what you need to know for that specific lab)
-Tiffany Richardson

I think my first year was different from what I expected, socially. Coming from undergrad, where clubs and events bring people inherently together, graduate school was a little different. You often have to go out of your way to hang out with people and differences in constantly-fluctuating schedules can make that difficult during rotations.
-Katie Volk

It was very different from what I expected, but in the best way. I thought I would be a miserable graduate student studying constantly and working until the wee hours of the morning. I got a lot of work done and worked very hard, but I was surprisingly happy and still had time to make friends and enjoy both science and a social life, while getting solid projects done in my rotations.
-Abbie Neininger

How to ask what you want to know while choosing a rotation

Conversations with important faculty as a freshly-arrived first year graduate student can seem intimidating and awkward. Throw into this mix the fact that you are both sizing each other up when discussing a possible rotation. As a new student, how do you find out the information you are seeking without coming across as pushy or needy? Get some advice from faculty and students who navigate this best at Vanderbilt.

What are important features about a lab that a student should ask about during a rotation conversation?

FACULTY

1. Expectations
2. Graduate student training experiences and current trainees
4. Ability to commit to taking a student this year
-Dr. Bill Tansey

1. How accessible is the PI?
2. Do you have opportunities to go to meetings?
3. What is the funding situation?
4. What are the PIs expectations for work hours, vacation, weekly conference?
5. How much input do students have in their own projects?
-Dr. Maureen Gannon

1. Mentoring Style – This is KEY!!
2. Mentor-Student degree of interaction
3. Opportunity to write (grants. papers etc)
4. Project availability
5. Funding and how many students is the lab planning to recruit this year
-Dr. Maria Hadjifrangiskou

STUDENTS

1. How do projects get decided?
2. What are the expectations for grad students in the long term or the short term (how much you should publish, how many hours you should be there, etc.)?
3. How often do grad students see the PI?
4. Are they hands on or hands off?
5. What conferences might you go to in this lab someday?
-Brad Davidson

1. It is important to ask about whether you will be working with a member in the lab or whether you will be working independently and reporting to the PI directly.
2. It is also important to know what their expectations of you are, including attendance at lab meetings and any presentations you may have to give.
-Sara Kassel

1. How many hours Do You expect of a rotation student?
2. What techniques will I be using?
3. Is this a potential thesis project?
4. Who will I be working with?
5. What is the history of this project?
-Noah Bradley

How can first year students ask difficult questions? Any tips on specific questions?

FACULTY

Be upfront. Beating around the bush leads to confusion and potential problems later on.

-Dr. Bill Tansey

If there is a key question, be sure and ask it. However, how you ask the question can be just as important for getting a valid answer as the question itself. Ask the question as part of a conversation not as if it was an interrogation of the faculty member.
-Dr. Jay Jerome

You can phrase questions strategically. For example, instead of flat-out asking: DO YOU HAVE MONEY?, you can gain the same information by asking: “What will determine how many students you get this year?” and “I am very interested in learning the grant writing process. Do your students participate in that? What is your funding strategy?”
-Dr. Maria Hadjifrangiskou

STUDENTS

I think running your question and phrasing by either another student or someone in the BRET office who can help you is a good step.
-Abbie Neininger

Don’t be pushy or gauche, but still get the question across by being straightforward. Most PI’s will understand these difficult questions are on most students’ minds, and will be forthcoming in answering. If they’re not, that could be another good thing to consider. You should ideally feel comfortable and be able to talk to your PI about anything, including difficult conversations.
-Slavi Goleva

You need to ask about funding, but don’t be so direct about it. Ask if any grants have been written recently or on this project.
-Noah Bradley

What were you asked during your rotation conversations?

FACULTY

What is my mentoring style? How many students do you currently have? How many have you trained? Where are they now? What are the working hours you expect? When will we meet?
-Dr. Bill Tansey

How many years do students take to finish? What is your mentoring style? What are your expectations from a student? What do your current students want to be? – I think this is a key question and I love getting it. I am a big supporter of all careers powered by a PhD, not just academia. You need to know this in your PI so that you can freely develop into the future scientist you want to be!
-Dr. Maria Hadjifrangiskou

STUDENTS

Usually a bit about my background (really in order to talk about projects). Why I was interested in the lab, what I wanted to get out of it. Some also asked how much interaction I wanted to have with each PI (which is a good sign).
-Steven Walker

What are you interested in? What do you see yourself doing with your PhD? How would you say you work, more collaboratively or independently?
-Grace Morales

I was asked a lot about my skills, what I wanted to learn, what project in specific I was interested in, and what my long-term goals were. I definitely needed to come into a rotation conversation prepared about what the lab studies and what I wanted to do.
-Abigail Neininger

Knowing nothing: keeping an open mind

During your undergraduate experience, you probably had a fairly good idea of what you “needed to know” for your coursework. In contrast, you’ve probably heard that the biggest lesson of graduate school is that you know nothing. That is not entirely true, but you certainly realize in grad school just how big the world of science is and that your goal is not to learn everything but to become increasingly specialized in your knowledge and to think through information. How do you adapt to these newer, bigger goals?
Continue reading “Knowing nothing: keeping an open mind”

Learning rotation dynamics: how to really understand a lab

If you are in a PhD program with rotations, your goal is to (fairly quickly) experience, participate in, and evaluate a lab culture. The goal is to find a compatible lab that will be your major training environment for the next 5 years: a very tall order, especially since you might not have had a job at the same place for that long before. You’re likely doing 3-4 rotations in less than a year, which means you are changing labs right when you begin to get comfortable. How can you efficiently evaluate a lab to be sure you pick the best fit in the end?
Continue reading “Learning rotation dynamics: how to really understand a lab”

Balancing coursework and lab work: the breadth and the depth

You’ve done the class thing and you’ve done the lab thing before you came to graduate school. You may have even tackled both of these together! However, your first year of graduate school is a totally new world, and all of the new responsibilities might shake your confidence. Between classes and the lab, you are bombarded with a flurry of learning objectives, styles, and expectations and you are on your own to learn it. How do you manage all of this successfully?
Continue reading “Balancing coursework and lab work: the breadth and the depth”

Seeking comfort in the discomfort: How to approach your first year

Today I will be starting a blog post series on the challenges and rewards of starting a new PhD program. I hope to write every couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for the links below to become active!

As a primer, Science just published and advice column with thoughts from upper-level graduate students. It is a great start to these important topics!

The basics of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Admission into most biomedical PhD programs come with tuition coverage and a stipend. However, as a young scientist, you have the opportunity to fund yourself by obtaining your own competitive fellowship. Writing for your own funding at this stage is a great training opportunity, and receiving a fellowship can make you a more attractive candidate for graduate program admission or for postdoctoral positions. Read on for an introduction to the most broad fellowship for prospective and early graduate students, the NSF GRFP.

Continue reading “The basics of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program”

How to pick your thesis lab after rotations

You’ve probably heard a million times that the most important decision you will make in your scientific career is your thesis lab choice. Some consider this choice analogous to a marriage. Unlike most marriage decisions, you don’t have years of “dating” to decide if a lab is right for you, so what should you consider when making this choice? Hear from students and thesis lab mentors on how to make this decision.

In your opinion, what is the most important consideration a student should have when joining a lab and why?

FACULTY

I think there are two critical important considerations and each should get equal weight. Is the research of interest to you and is your personality compatible with the people in the lab (and particularly the PI). You will spend a lot of time in the laboratory and if you feel out of place or do not like the research, you will be miserable. In contrast, if you enjoy the environment and the research the long hours will not seem like a burden.
-Dr. Jay Jerome

The most important thing in my opinion is the personality match of the mentor and the student. The student needs to be self-aware and determine what sort of mentor they need to best suit their personality and mentoring needs. This is secondary to the project in my opinion.
-Dr. Maureen Gannon

STUDENTS

The mentorship by the PI. The PI’s interactions with you are very critical to being a successful PhD student. Does the PI set aside individual meetings with you on a regular basis? Are they available to answer questions and give feedback? etc.
-Gabrielle Rushing

The most important thing is to make sure that you like the lab’s research subject, since you’ll be working on it for the next 3-5 years. If you’re simply “meh” about a subject (but maybe you really like the PI), that lab is not for you.
-Lorena Infante

A PI who supports their members is the most important. Everyone has bumpy parts of the grad career. The point is that you are learning and transitioning into being able to handle everything that doing science requires. A good PI knows how to address your unique challenges in a supportive way. Rather than blaming you for shortcomings, the PI should help you overcome them.
-Becky Adams

What are some other important considerations that should not be ignored?

FACULTY

How productive are the people in the laboratory.
-Dr. Jay Jerome

1. PI’s available funding for the next few years
2. how long it has taken previous students to finish in that lab
3. opportunities to attend and present at meetings
-Dr. Maureen Gannon

STUDENTS

1. Fellow lab mates- you are with each other more time than you are at home. Make sure you get along with them!
2. Working with animals- If the lab does work with animals, is this something you can handle?
3. Funding- Does your PI have the funds to support you for the next few years?
-Gabrielle Rushing

1. The lab’s atmosphere (competitive, friendly, sterile/stoic, etc.)
2. Your relationship with your PI, including how often you’ll interact with him/her
3. The ratio of time to graduation to papers published. Animal work will take longer than cell work, which will take longer than in vitro work; you need to be ok with the experimental time frames for your chosen lab.
-Lorena InfanteThe PI should not be selfish and should encourage students to explore their interests as appropriate.
-Becky Adams

After the rotations, was it clear to you which lab/student was the best match for you?

FACULTY

I sit everyone in my lab down and we talk about it. It is a group decision. I want to take someone who will gel well with the other lab members. Someone who has shown general interest in all projects going on in the lab and has interacted well with the others in the lab, as well as asked questions in lab meetings, gets priority.
-Dr. Jay Jerome

I poll every member of my lab for their opinions on rotation students. I won’t take anyone, ever, that the lab cannot get along with, or who are disruptive. Then, I blend this with my own opinion of the student before making a decision.
-Dr. Maureen Gannon

I do not have a formula for picking students. The biggest thing for me is passion for the science and the ability to handle the current momentum of the lab. When I host students I make it a point not to look at their grades but to observe them in the lab and see how they do at the bench, in their ability to explain and present their findings and in their ability to interact with others. If the student fits that well, then that is my student!
-Dr. David Samuels

STUDENTS

Yes.
-Gabrielle Rushing

At the end, it was clear that 2 out of my 4 rotation labs were not for me. The remaining two were very different labs but I could see myself fitting in both of them. Since I really liked the science in both labs, it came down to a choice between the atmosphere, the PI’s mentoring style, and the experimental time frame of the experiments.
-Lorena Infante

YES. I got along well with everyone, and I knew I was surrounded by smart people. That is how I knew it was a good fit.
-Becky Adams

Was your choice the one you expected at the beginning?

FACULTY

No, it is not always clear at the beginning.
-Dr. Jay Jerome

For driven students with good personalities, yes. Disappointments are sometimes harder to predict from the onset.
-Dr. Maureen Gannon

Not always
-Dr. David Samuels

STUDENTS

No.
-Gabrielle Rushing

No. I was dead-set on choosing the lab I rotated in first, but I ended up joining my 3rd rotation lab. I still believe I would have enjoyed the 1st lab and would have done well, but I am happy with the choice I made. As a note, I compromised by asking the PI of the lab I didn’t join to be on my committee (and he accepted).
-Lorena Infante

It was my first rotation, so all subsequent rotations had to live up to the amazingness of my first. But I didn’t come to Vandy expecting to join this lab. A faculty member suggested that I rotate in my thesis lab. Suggestions are extremely important.
-Becky Adams

Did you get your first choice for your thesis lab? Why or why not?

STUDENTS

Yes.
-Gabrielle Rushing

Yes. I put in a full-day’s work each day, even when I had IGP classes to attend. This ensured that I had plenty of data to show my PI and that he and the rest of the lab had a good impression of me.
-Lorena Infante

Yes. I made a good impression by working hard and showing thought and eagerness to learn.
-Becky Adams

Resources can make the difference in your graduate career

When picking the best graduate school, you should absolutely pick a program that has fantastic scientific training. However, at the same time, there are so many peripheral resources that can make all of the difference in your career. While considering graduate programs, you should ask about these resources. Learn how the Office of Career Development, IMSD program, and Program in Molecular Medicine at Vanderbilt have made a difference to our students.
Continue reading “Resources can make the difference in your graduate career”

Real Struggles while transitioning to graduate school (and how to overcome them)

Each student faces their own unique challenges in their transition to grad school; however, one of the things that can make it worse is thinking that you are alone. Hear from our students about how the navigated this transition, what challenges they faced, and most importantly, how they overcame them.

What was your biggest challenge and what resources did you use to overcome it? What advice would you like to give to students making this transition?

Getting back in to a rigorous class schedule was daunting after being out of school for 3 years. Seeing a test for the first time in that long is scary. You get back in the swing of things very quickly.
Everything is new coming to grad school. New people, place, classes, learning style, balancing work and class, rotations, the list goes on. Take it in stride and enjoy figuring out what you like and don’t like. Know coming in that school will surprise you and stress you and there are times you want to break. Everyone feels that way. It is important to be comfortable with feeling stupid because you will constantly and that’s OK! Know that it will be difficult and it won’t be as difficult.
-Chris Hofmann

College was hard, so grad school wasn’t that much worse. Overall, my college career seemed like I was climbing up a mountain that got progressively steeper. Grad school was just another segment. Steeper, yes, but considering that I’d been steadily climbing for years, not insurmountable. In general, I feel lucky because I feel like I got really great training in undergrad (reading scientific papers, thinking critically, proposing alternative methods, questioning results, etc.).
Put in the work. It might be tough, but it’ll be worth it, not only when you get good grades, but when you get put on a training grant, and, most importantly, when you realize that the things that you learned in class can be applied to your rotations (and maybe ultimately to your lab choice). Don’t leave things to the last minute. Make sure to pay attention in class, and talk to the lecturers if you have any questions.
-Lorena Infante

I lived in dorms all 4 years of undergrad, so learning to live as an adult (look for an apartment, pay bills, learn to cook, etc.) was the hardest part. I was a bit clueless on a lot of things. I would consider myself a very independent person, so I took it upon myself to buy cookbooks and ask friends and family for easy recipes they’d recommend. On the paying bills and apartment hunting front, my current roommate helped a lot. She’s in the IGP program but worked in industry for a few years before coming to Vandy so she had a lot of “real life” experience. I never thought to contact anyone at Vandy for help/advice because I knew there were people in my life that could direct me (and I’m a bit stubborn so I wanted to learn and figure it out on my own). If I wasn’t surrounded by people who knew what they were doing, I would have felt 100% comfortable asking anyone in the BRET office or students I’d been in contact with for help.
Give yourself time! You’ll figure it out eventually. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.
-Andy Perreault

When I first arrived at Vanderbilt, I felt prepared, especially for rotations and the wet lab aspect of graduate school. I had taken time off and worked full time in a laboratory, so I was coming in with multiple publications and confidence regarding my laboratory skills. I would say I was most nervous about the coursework; it had been two years since I had taken a class or had homework or exams. The first semester was busy, but definitely manageable. There was less of an emphasis on grades than I was used to in undergrad and I found that if I reviewed lectures every week I could stay on top of the work.
Ultimately, I think the hardest challenge was deciding who to rotate with. When I first arrived at Vanderbilt, I had a very clear idea of three people I wanted to rotate with when I arrived, none of who were taking students during the first rotation. I met with eight PIs before the first rotation and started to put together what I prioritized most. I had previously been in a large laboratory with a “big name” PI, and didn’t think that wasn’t the environment that I wanted to conduct my graduate studies in. I am very basic science oriented and wanted to be working at the cellular/molecular level.  I also was very set on Neuroscience and thought that I wanted to be working with mice. Basically, my ideas of the “perfect” lab were very limited. During my first rotation, I met with both Beth and Carolyn to get more ideas of potential PIs, as well as go through Carolyn’s giant binder of where everyone has ever rotated. I came out with a pretty awesome list… not all cellular/molecular neuroscientists who worked in mice, but all awesome mentors. I’ve now realized that I can get excited about most any scientific problem and I am basing my decision of which lab to join based on the mentor (and I have rotated in flies, c. elegans, mice, and humans!)
Meet with Beth and Carolyn if your unsure or worried about anything.
-Sierra Palumbos

I moved to Nashville well before classes started to start a summer rotation and give myself time to adjust to a new setting (as well as to begin receiving that beautiful stipend, as I was quite broke upon graduation from undergrad). However, this plan seems to have backfired somewhat, as no other students were around yet, so I was alone in a new city and still very broke, as my paycheck took a while to arrive. Together, this likely is what contributed to my, ah, challenging move. Because the mental health resources at my undergraduate university were far from stellar, I was hesitant to investigate Vandy’s resources, though I knew they were available, and found a therapist and psychiatrist off campus. When both of those providers proved to be awful, I decided I might as well give Vandy’s PCC a shot, as it is free after all. I’m glad to say that they have been AMAZING and I’m feeling better. But not all credit for my improvement goes to mental health professionals–I feel that the greatest factor goes to my discovery of my love for dance and I can be found almost every evening at a dance studio. Not only does Vandy have a wonderful rec center and dance program, but the surrounding Nashville area also has all sorts of opportunities for dance, fitness (rock climbing, anyone?), and arts. Some ray of good can be found in my experiences, too. Despite struggling, I have survived my first year of grad school at a top university–with decent grades!–which has done a lot to increase my confidence in my own intelligence and fortitude.
My advice would be to revel in any moments of that mythical “free time” but make sure you do something other than lie in bed, ostensibly catching up on sleep. As cliche as it may sound, find something you’re passionate about!
-Sarah Poliquin

I earned a Liberal Arts degree so I had a lot of catching up to do in terms of scientific background knowledge. The first year can seem overwhelming but just keep swimming. It will be ok!
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Live close to campus if you can because it makes your life a lot easier. Don’t live alone, but explore the people of the city. I personally have had a lot of luck finding fun roommates that aren’t in the program. It’s nice to get away from science when you are at home.
-Christian Marks

It was really hard for me to come to terms with being “average” meaning not getting the highest grade on tests. I think what really helped was being in the umbrella program of IGP. Obviously with this multidisciplinary program you get people that majored in fields other than you (some people came in with a microbiology background or immunology, or genetics whereas I came in with a biochemistry background). When I started becoming friends with others in the program, none of them had the same background as me and, as a result, we all had tests that we did better than everyone else while there were ones that we struggled some because it was new. So I think realizing that it was illogical to get the best grade in every single subject when we blow through entire undergraduate majors in about 2 weeks really helped me to stop stressing and enjoy grad school more. In the end, I did better in some areas and not as well in others so I came out about average, which wasn’t too bad. I think the program they have built for the IGP really helped me move past this a lot faster than if I were in a program focused on one specific field.
Take time to relax and take a breath. It’s hard but don’t let it consume your life.
-Lisa Poole

Joining a large university from a small liberal arts college – you have to be ready to join a big team, and to be fully engaged in grad school instead of split over a lot of different things.
Realizing that your full attention is now based on your profession and what you love (instead of being split over several minors, reading that doesn’t relate to biology, and trying to retain new knowledge not related to your field) was something that Vanderbilt handled really well. I was the “expert” on my project in college because I’d developed it from the ground up with my PI and had handled everything; getting used to the idea that I was part of a team and was working on one cog of a much bigger research machine took adjustment. Having IMPACT and FOCUS seminars weekly really helped drive home the importance of the transition, and allowed our class to give each tips on what was working to make those adjustments easier, not to mention that being immersed in a literature reading course really makes you start to pay attention to new scientific literature in a completely different fashion (who’d have thought that you’d actually willingly sign up for weekly table of contents emails?). Having older grad students and faculty begin to mentor you immediately makes all the difference in the world, and it was clear before classes even started that Vanderbilt excels in that area.
-Wyatt McDonnell

I think it was challenging coming into graduate school with less lab experience than others who took gap years to work in other labs or industry. It was also difficult coming in as a non-science liberal arts major, and so I’ve had an enormous learning curve for many scientific subjects. I’d have to say that I really just put a lot of hard work into studying for Bioregulation I, I did independent background research on subjects with which I was less familiar, and I wasn’t afraid to ask my peers and mentors a lot of questions. I definitely feel that Focus was tremendously helpful for learning how to read papers, learning standard assays for a broad range of subjects, and learning how to analyze presented data.
Do your best, and keep working hard.
-Claire Strothman