Dr. Bill Schopf spoke to a full house in his second lecture for the President's Dream Colloquium on the Emergence and Complexity of Life.

Tips and Tricks

Weekly Roundup: September 28

September 28, 2012

In this week's roundup: Tips on surviving graduate school, dealing with success and what to expect after graduation.

Future Graduate Students

  • Chronicle of Higher Education: Helping Students Tell Their Stories (on writing better application letters)
    "In the fifth and final paragraph, however, she made a very predictable turn: The experience had taught her to reach for her dreams, that the sky was the limit, that anything was possible if she worked hard enough, etc."
  • The Walrus: The Uses and Abuses of University
    "Earnest, hard working, intensely curious, and personable, he epitomized the talent and energy of a top Canadian university student. He went on to complete a master’s in history, picking up what he thought would be valuable research experience along the way."
  • University Affairs: All is Revealed: The Real Crisis on Campus (rebuttal to Walrus article)
    "So what, according to the Walrus, is the campus crisis du jour? The cover blares: “Today’s University Graduate: Unemployed, Unhappy and Drowning in Debt,” although that’s not quite the story’s main theme. The inside headline, “The Uses and Abuses of University,” doesn’t clarify things much. What the story is mainly about is the mismatch – as the authors see it – between what students are learning and what the economy needs..."

New Graduate Students

  • Journal of Materials Education: How to 'Survive' After Graduating in Materials Science II: Basic Advice (pdf)
    "This article summarizes some basic advice for prospective and recent graduates in Materials Science (and related disciplines) on how to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired in graduate school to finding a job and developing their career in the ‘real world’ of science."

Grad Student Life

  • Gradhacker: Sucstress in Grad School
    "Sucstress can strike whenever we are so used to rejection or things going poorly, and as a result, we don't know how to handle success when it finally does come."
  • Chris A.J. Brown: PhD, year 1 – am I doing this right?
    "I felt the need to ‘get writing’ as I had come across the first instance of a widely cited period of uncertainty and possible jadedness of the PhD process — defining your research."
  • The Learning Master: Top 50 Blogs by Graduate Students
    "Graduate school can be an interesting adventure. However, it can also be quite challenging, fraught with difficulty. Every graduate degree has its own issues. It can help if you can connect to others who understand your situation." (The post is 2 years old so probably has dead links — but the live ones can offer some insights.)
  • PhD Programs Online: Top 50 Blogs Every Graduate Student Should Read
    "You might be glad that you glanced through this list of the top 50 blogs every graduate student should read, and to bookmark a few of them for your sanity, for tools to help you study and stay tech-savvy, and for financial reasons."
  • Digital Researcher: Nine resources for academics getting started with Twitter

Writing, Research, Professional Development for your Career

  • Next Scientist: 7 Habits Of Highly Visible PhD Students
    "Do you want to be more visible and grow your academic footprint? Nowadays you don’t depend exclusively on academic journals and presentations at conference for the scientific world to discover your research."
  • My Graduate School: Attending a Research Conference? Don’t Waste This Golden Opportunity
    "Simply attending a conference is not enough to guarantee that one will get all the benefits, however. Students have to make it happen, by taking initiative and going beyond the obvious things one tends to do at these events. I will discuss, below, a few things I believe students should do when at a conference, and some things they should avoid doing."
  • PhD2Published: Becoming a Journal Editor
    "There is no better way to fast-track your grasp of academic productivity and evaluation than becoming a journal editor."
  • Get a Life, PhD: How to Create a Power Point Presentation from a Finished Paper
    "... a presentation should be viewed as an advertisement for a paper, rather than an attempt to present all of the information in the paper. Keeping this in mind will help you to focus on what’s important and avoid the temptation to attempt to convey all of the rich information in your paper in a brief presentation."


  • Chronicle of Higher Education: A Positive Solution for Plagiarism
    "We know that students plagiarize. We suppose that plagiarism, as well as academic dishonesty in general, has increased over the past few years, decades, or century—depending on which academic ax we choose to grind."

After Graduation

  • Statistics Canada: Expectations and Labour Market Outcomes of Doctoral Graduates from Canadian Universities (pdf)
    "While doctoral graduates represent only a small proportion of the Canadian work force — 0.8% in 20061 – they have a significant impact on Canada’s long term economic prosperity due to their contributions to innovation and productivity
    growth through research and educational activities."
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: For MLA Jobs Market, Cautious Optimism
    "Compared with other national labor markets for highly educated professionals, the academic job market for English and foreign languages is doing quite well. If you are on the market this year, you have good reasons to be optimistic."
  • Nature.com: Postdocs: A voice for the voiceless
    "... she learned that few outside science and academia knew what postdocs are or do. Even on university campuses, many postdocs felt invisible and anonymous, crucial to research but suspended in limbo with no means of networking, creating a community or being heard." (SFU postdocs, we do want to hear from you. If you'd like to help shape our efforts for you, contact Gladys at we@sfu.ca. There is also a Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars; see also their Facebook page.)
  • Discover Magazine: Scientists, Your Gender Bias is Showing
    "To test scientist’s reactions to men and women with precisely equal qualifications, the researchers did a randomized double-blind study in which academic scientists were given application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position. The substance of the applications were all identical, but sometimes a male name was attached, and sometimes a female name." See also archive of Science Live Chat with one of the authors.
  • GradHacker: Dos and Don'ts for the Academic Job Search: Letters of Recommendation
    "If you're a grad student actively seeking academic employment now, you will need to secure those ever-important letters of recommendation in the next few weeks."
  • Inside Higher Education: Going on the Job Market, ABD
    "The following is adapted from a short reflective piece I wrote last spring for my fellow graduate students in the literature program at Duke University, based on my experience going on the job market as an ABD."
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: Want to Change Academic Publishing? Just Say No
    "I get paid nothing directly for the most difficult, time-consuming writing I do: peer-reviewed academic articles. In fact a journal that owned the copyright to one of my articles made me pay $400 for permission to reprint my own writing in a book of my essays."
  • Insider Higher Education: Not So Fast on 'Open Access'
    "The movement toward "open access" publishing -- in which scholarly journal articles are available free -- is taking off without consideration of the impact on humanities scholarship ..."


This week's PhD comic:

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