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Hard Truths of Grad School

by Mavra Nasir and Ted Mellors **Blog Competition**



The authors would like to acknowledge that there is a conflict on the order of author list. Neither party wants to take credit for this piece of work.

Nasir: Andy Dufresne had to crawl through five-hundred yards of sewer pipe in order to escape from Shawshank prison. Finishing up my fourth year of graduate school, I think I might be stuck halfway through that pipe.

I came to graduate school because I love asking questions. No amount of chocolate in the world could silence the “why’s?” that rolled off my tongue faster than one can imagine, and believe me, my parents tried. I can’t recall what I was expecting graduate school to be like, but it certainly wasn’t this. I have learnt a few things along the way, so I wanted to provide a survival guide for the brave unfortunate souls considering this feat:

  1.   Not all PhD’s are created equal. Accept it.
  2.   You may think your insight is always appreciated. It really isn’t. Try changing the tone.
  3.   Nobody is trying to steal your ideas. Period.
  4.   If you are running experiments 24/7, you are doing something wrong.
  5.   Listen to your mentor.

At this point, you are probably expecting me to make a cheesy hopeful remark. What I do know, is that if you stick with it, you are going to learn a lot. That is one thing I cannot dispute. Graduate school has been hard, but the beauty of a ‘you-just-left-me-speechless’ question, and a simple experiment as an answer, might just be worth it all. After all, Andy Dufresne did get out.

Mellors: You can’t. *Bottoms-up*

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